One of the biggest LIES we’ve been fed over the last 15 or 20 years in nutrition circles is the idea that olive oil is awesome for health and that we should drizzle it all over everything.
I’m actually surprised that this myth has endured for so long, in spite of the mounting evidence to the contrary.
Watch any cooking show on TV, and you’ll see them lift that elbow faster than an alcoholic with his bottle of Jack Daniels when it comes to pouring olive oil on everything.
In fact, they don’t even calculate how much olive oil they put into things, they just poor random amounts and say:
“So we’re going to drizzle a few tablespoons of Olive oil in our pan before we start frying our organic wild-caught Atlantic salmon…”
Look at that elbow bend!
There goes about a a quarter cup of olive oil. I’m not kidding. Their “tablespoons” are magically quadrupled in amounts once they start drizzling that stuff all over.
Sometimes they’ll even mention how healthy olive oil is… “And now we’re going to pour a tablespoon or two of heart-healthy olive oil…”
I mean, does anyone think that Jamie Oliver could cook anything without his olive oil?
At least French chefs in the past knew that putting all that butter in their food was not healthy. They did it for the sake of taste, not health.
Now modern chefs are fooling the populace by replacing butter with olive oil. They’re making things only slightly healthier, but we’re pretty far from “heart-healthy” here.
Why Olive Oil Is NOT Awesome
The idea of olive oil as a healthy food comes from research that’s been done on Mediterranean countries, like France and Greece.
In the 70s and 80s, a lot of research went into trying to answer a mysterious paradox:
Why are some countries consuming a lot of fat, yet experiencing less heart disease than other countries that eat more fat?
It was the beginning of the French paradox.
So there began the Lyon Health Study, the biggest of its kind at the time, that studied over 16 countries in the Mediterranean and found that the island of Crete was the one that experienced the best health at the time (this was BEFORE major industrialization took place on that island).
What the Lyon Health Study did was to compare a “Mediterranean-type” diet, inspired from the data available, to a control study that they labelled a “Low Fat Diet”
They put people in two separate groups. One was to eat the “Mediterranean Diet,” and one the “Low Fat Diet”.
Mediterranean Group: They were instructed to eat more bread, more root vegetables, more fish, more fruit, but reduce red meat, use margarine instead of butter, and olive oil on salad. Wine in moderation.
Low Fat Diet: The so-called “low fat diet” still consumed over 34% of their calories from fat! In my book, that’s not a low fat diet. On the other-hand, the “Mediterranean” group ate 30% fat, and much less cholesterol. The Low Fat Diet was higher in fat than the Mediterranean diet!
What they found is that people in the “Mediterranean” group experienced a dramatic reduction in cardiac death following that diet (50-70% less). So they even had to stop the study, fearing for the health of the control group on their so-called “Low Fat” diet.
What’s interesting is that all of the benefits from the “Mediterranean” diet can easily be explained by the slightly better choices they made: eat more vegetables and fruit, eat less meat, avoid saturated fats.
Here’s where it gets interesting:
- The studies on the Mediterranean diet NEVER proved that olive oil is healthy food in itself
– They only proved that replacing other fats (like butter) with olive oil and margarine is slightly better
– The main message from the study is to eat more fiber, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and exercise!
Even a further study, the Nurse Health Study, shows that women eating olive oil are only marginally healthier than those who don’t.
The truth is that inhabitants of the island of Crete used to be very healthy because:
- Ate lots of fresh produce and some coarse (whole grain) bread
– They ate beans and fish instead of refined foods and fatty meats
– Yes, they added some olive oil to their diet (2 tablespoons a day), but burned it off by walking and hiking on average 9 miles a day!
For your information, I visited the island of Crete in 2010. Now 60% of the population there is overweight. They continue to consume olive oil, but have thrown all of their other health habits out the window. In fact it was pretty hard to get any food there that wasn’t absolutely dripping in olive oil!
What About the French Paradox?
Often we lump all the Mediterranean countries in one big group. But the truth is that these countries are very different.
Think about the differences from Spain to Italy to France to Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon. Isn’t that weird to lump them all together in one group?
The French people did not eat olive oil. They ate a moderately rich diet and drank wine frequently .
Greek people did not drink much wine, but ate some olive oil.
Now we’ve designed a diet that combines the elements we “like” from these different countries, namely red wine and olive oil. This is NOT a true pre-industrial Crete diet, which was the reference for a healthy diet in the region. The Cretens did not even drink wine, and they were quite poor and ate mostly plant foods.
Olive Oil Goes Straight For Your Lips To Your Hips
Olive oil is concentrated in calories, much more so than sugar. White sugar only contains 50 calories per tablespoon, whereas olive oil contains 120!
When I visited Greece, I found that a lot of people there were overweight. Is it a coincidence that they consume the most olive oil in the world (26 liters per person per year!) Yet, 22% of the population is obese, and it’s growing rapidly.
Olive Oil Should Be Limited
Olive oil, just like any other oil, is concentrated in calories. It’s pure 100% fat, with no fiber and almost no other nutrients.
All oils will raise your cholesterol levels, and according to Dr. Esselstyn, they promote heart disease by damaging the endothelial cells in your blood vessels.
Oils are also not very satisfying. It takes a larger volume of oil to fill you up than water rich foods. Oils are just empty calories, that can add to your body weight quite easily. It’s very easy to use more oil than you think.
Ideally, there’s no reason for most people to use olive oil on a regular basis. If you’re very active, and walk 9 miles a day like the people of Crete used to, then you could burn off one or two tablespoon of olive oil every day. But overall, it’s still better to get fat from whole food sources, like avocados or nuts and seeds. Personally I recommend chia, flax, walnuts and hemp for “heart healthy” whole foods.
Do I Eat Olive Oil?
I personally don’t eat olive oil on a regular basis. I have a bottle of olive oil at home, and I’ve had it for over two years. And it’s still almost full!
Occasionally, I might have some friends over (that aren’t into my lifestyle) and may make a gourmet recipe and use a little bit of olive oil. That rarely happens, but sometimes I do get fancy!
Whenever I go to a restaurant, I ask for food to be made without oil. I know that they won’t be able to fulfill my wish, but at least when I say “no oil” there’s a better chance they’ll use less oil than if I don’t say anything!
I also say “Please no oil garnishes” so they don’t drizzle oil on top of my salad, as is often the case if you don’t mention it.
It’s not that olive oil is the worst food you can eat. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a better fat than many others, like butter. But it’s still not optimal, and most importantly, it represents concentrated calories that you probably don’t need to have in your body. If you’re very active, you can have some. But most people can’t justify the amount of olive oil they use on a daily basis.
Don’t believe the hype… get olive oil out of your life!
Want more information on raw and vegan recipes without the oil? Check out www.LowFatVeganChef.com
Mafia Wars of Olive Oil Fraud
You know, I’ve written before about the whole raw cacao craze, but for those of you who might have missed it, I thought I would give you some more details about raw cacao and my feelings on it.
The cacao tree is a small evergreen tree that grows mainly in Mexico, South America and the West Indies. The tree bears a fruit that’s got a white, sweet pulp with a number of reddish-brown seeds about 1 inch long. These seeds are what are referred to as raw cacao beans. If the seeds are dried, roasted and then ground, you end up with cocoa, the basic ingredient in chocolate. However, it’s the raw and dried cacao seeds that some of the raw foodists are touting these days.
If you want to get technical, the name of the plant is Theobroma cacao, and theobromine is a chemical related to caffeine. So, even though the raw seeds or ground cacao made into a drink is not as strong as coffee, it’s still a stimulant. And it’s bitter. As I’ve said before, cacao beans are not really food. If you found them in nature, you wouldn’t eat the seeds. You would eat the fruit, which is apparently delicious, and throw away the seeds. Even if you wanted to eat the seeds, they would not taste like chocolate. In order for the cacao seeds to taste like chocolate and become the cacao beans that we know, they have to be fermented and processed first.
Raw cacao beans or “nibs” are now being sold at exorbitant prices by different raw-food companies as the latest “superfood” by saying that they have magical properties. I still disagree. First of all, as I said, they are bitter, indicating the presence of a poison. And when I say a “poison,” I’m not making this up. Theobromine may act as a diuretic too, and never mind that much of the supply out there of these raw beans is found to have a microbe contamination!
Now, I’m not going to say that I haven’t tried it and even used it for fun very sparingly in some recipes. However, I’ve never considered it to be a health food. Even though some will say that cacao contains many chemicals that enhance physical and mental well-being, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper and potassium and that it contains a lot of antioxidants, there are healthy, safer ways to get these minerals and benefits.
That’s why I still prefer to use carob powder in my recipes. Carob powder is made from the pods of carob trees. There are hundreds of varieties of these trees growing all over the world, including the United States, but the evergreen type in Mediterranean countries produces the most flavorful product and provides much of the commercial carob products. The pods of these trees are harvested and then the pulp of the seedcases is broken into pieces called “kibbles.” The kibbles are roasted and finely ground. It is naturally sweet and reminds of chocolate. Instead of being a stimulant, carob is a mineral rich food and has a calming effect. Carob is high in fiber and rich in polyphenols that have strong antiviral and antiseptic properties, making it effective when given to treat bacterial-induced diarrhea. Carob is a wonderful substitute for cocoa because it contains fewer calories, is naturally sweet, and, unlike cocoa or sweet chocolate, is caffeine-free and non addictive and has no theobromine or oxalic acid. In addition, it is usually cheaper. It’s also low in fat and sodium, calcium-rich and a good source of potassium, while, unlike cacao and chocolate, it does not interfere with the body’s ability to assimilate calcium. Now, carob truly is a health food!
I often get asked what I think of the whole “raw cacao” craze. If you don’t know about this, there are some people who currently claim that raw chocolate is the ultimate food of mankind and that we should eat as much as possible to benefit from the high levels of anti-oxidants, magnesium and other trace minerals.
Truth is, their claims are completely flawed and wrong.
But, it doesn’t mean that you should stop eating chocolate altogether.
Let’s take a honest look at the issue, by looking at some claims made about cacao:
“Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea.”
MY COMMENTS: Yes, cacao contains lots of antioxidants. But the question is not “what is the highest source of anti-oxidants” but “what is the “healthiest source of antioxidants”.
Cacao is rich in fat and contains some caffeine and theobromine, which is a stimulant alike caffeine. Therefore, one should not eat too much of it. But blueberries and other berries are free of these concerns and also contain lots of anti-oxidants. In my opinion, they are a much *healthier* source of anti-oxidants.
“As we have noted, cacao is one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium, which is a heart as well as brain mineral.”
Same here. Cacao may be rich in magnesium, but that’s not a reason good enough to make it a main part of your diet, when it’s rich in fat! Other foods contain lots of magnesium, including green vegetables.
“Cacao, because it is unadulterated, has an even stronger love energy. In ancient Aztec wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would exchange 5 cacao beans with each other.”
What can I say here except that I’m surprised people buy this kind of non-sense. Lots of very unhealthy foods have been praised throughout the world for their “magical” qualities that it’s not surprising to find cacao among them.
The bottom line about raw cacao and raw chocolate is that it’s not the healthiest source of anti-oxidants or nutrients, and it’s no “magical” food.
I’m all for enjoying food and life and having some cacao as part of your diet occasionally and enjoying some health benefits that way is perfectly fine. But to make raw cacao an important part of your diet, as is recommended by some people, is completely ridiculous and unhealthy.
People sometimes ask me, what is the best superfood or supplement your recommend? Or what do you think of this product or that product?
I always reply that nature didn’t create supplements, and that the best “supplements” you can take are fruits and vegetables.
As far as superfoods are concerned, my favorite “super-foods” are the following:
Green Smoothies. Nothing beats the nutritional value found in green smoothies. Who would have thought that fruits and greens could taste so good? For some sample recipes, sign up for your mini-course at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/greenforlife.html
Berries – Berries are so rich in anti-oxidants, they are a true anti-cancer food. The best are the wild varieties. Avoid big commercial strawberries, as those are laden with pesticides. Frozen wild berries are excellent and available in many grocery and health food stores.
Raw Soups — Raw soups are delicious blended concoctions using raw vegetables, juices, nuts and seeds and avocados. Here’s a good one to try:
1 large tomato, diced 1/2 orange or tangerine, juice of 4 cups of spinach 1/2 inch fresh ginger 2 green onions 1 avocados 1 pinch sea salt (optional)
Blend the tomato and orange juice, and then add the spinach progressively. Blend with the other ingredients. Add water only if necessary. This is a nice green soup!
If you’d like more, consult my book “Raw Soups, Salads & Smoothies” available at http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/starterkit.html
Cooked Greens — Other “super-foods” include all steamed greens, such as brocoli, chard, spinach, and especially kale (which is rich in tons of minerals). Some raw-foodists shun all cooked foods, but I personally enjoy eating lots of mineral-rich, lightly steamed greens.
Here’s an amazingly delicious, super-food soup:
2 cups water 1 small onion 2 cloves garlic 3 cups kale 3 cups broccoli stems*
The method for making this soup is very simple. First, you boil the ingredi- ents in water for 5-8 minutes, or until they are tender, but still firm. Then you blend everything in your Vita-Mix, including the cooking water. That way, the nutrients are not lost in the water. The result is a surprisingly tasty soup that doesn’t require any salt or seasoning.
* Broccoli stems are the “stalks” of broccoli. Instead of throwing them away, you can make this soup.
In my opinion, if you spend money on expensive “superfood” powder, you are wasting your resources. Instead, learn to eat well and you’ll get all the nutrients you’ll possibly need, without ever needing to purchase overpriced powders that only benefit those who sell them.
I have received the following question from a reader:
I have followed your website off and on for years. Recently I looked you up and signed back up for your newsletters. I have always admired your straightforward honesty regarding issues pertaining to the raw food movement and have a few questions to pose to you:
What is your opinion on raw goji berry powder. I found this product at [Name Withheld]‘s site. I opted to use vs. the dried fruit because I found the dried fruit too rough on my teeth. OK product? Opinion on goji berries in general as again they call it a “super” food.
Opinion on raw whole nut cacao (raw chocolate). How would you use this product and how much per day?
Lastly, was there a reason you were not a guest at the Raw Food Summit this summer? I noticed you have been a proponent of Dr. Doug Graham’s in the past and even he was a “special” guest on the program?
What is your opinion in general regarding the direction the raw food movement is turning.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for writing. And thanks for your great comments.
Regarding raw goji berries (or goji juice for that matter), my opinion is that this dried berry is rather good as far as dried fruits go, but again like every other “super-foods” the benefits are exaggerated to make sales. Back when it first came out I was laughing pretty hard because they were selling it for $35 a pound while you could go to any asian market and get goji berries for less than $4 a pound. Sure, they were not organic, but the price difference was NOT justified.
As far as the powder is concerned, it sounds like a scam to me. I don’t see why anyone would want to order dried fruit powder, no matter how “nutritious” the food is. Sure, goji berries can be a fine dried fruit, but don’t spend all of your earned money on this kind of stuff. This is not going to make any difference to your overall health. Instead, buy good quality fresh organic fruits and vegetables and you’ll have a better return for your money.
I’m also not a big fan of raw chocolate. Just because it’s raw doesn’t make it any better. I’ve written about this before. It’s not actually “raw” because it has to be fermented in the sun, so it is transformed in a way. Cacoa contains theobromine which is a stimulant that acts like caffeine. So that’s why a 2-ounce piece of chocolate has the stimulating power of one cup of espresso coffee! The same for “raw” chocolate.
Now I know there’s all kinds of good stuff in it, like magnesium and that sort of things. But you could say the same of all kinds of poisonous plants. In fact, if we could eat them without getting sick, tabaccoo leaves would probably be considered a “super-food!”
Just because it has some ‘super-nutrition’ doesn’t mean it’s healthy. A lot of good things have been said about red wine, or even beer, but it won’t change the fact that it’s an alcoholic beverage, and alcohol is bad for the body. Period.
So the fact that a food has some positive benefits or nutrition should not overshadow the fact that it may also have many other harmful effects.
That goes for chocolate, raw or cooked.
As far as the Raw Food Summit, I was invited, but decided not to attend. I don’t do a lot of events, although I used to in the past. I prefer the work I do through my online newsletters and programs! But about once a year or so, I do a live event. So when the next one is on, I will let you know.
As far as the raw food movement, I think it’s all very positive. Sure there is some commercialism and stuff, and extremism even, like in everything, but overall, a lot of good things have come out of it and the information is doing a lot of good for a lot of people! I support that certainly. My job is just to remind people of certain basic principles that may get lost in the shuffle.
PS: Have you registered for the Green Cleanse starting on September 10th? This is the perfect time cleanse with our support and motivation. Get more details at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/greenforlife.html
Yesterday my blog got attacked by a reader who clearly didn’t like my last article on supplements, which included my criticism of the tahitian noni juice fad. .
Below is the post along with my answer.
“I dont know what your qualifications are to rubbish such products as green superfoods and tahitian noni juice but you have clearly not researched in any significant way the Tahitian Noni company in Utah who have spent millions of dollars on noni research and are the largest private company in the world !!
I personally know dozens if not hundreds of people who have benefitted dramatically from the use of their products.
Even a peremptory investigation would have shown you that they dont sell pure noni juice as their proprietory blend has been shown to be more effectve. (It does not have an unpleasant taste)
They do not make claims!!! (Other than improved energy and support for the immune system)
I run a health store and have no time for the many companies who have sprung out of nowhere making claims for their grossly inferior products. In my store I have seen dramatic improvements in clients health using green foods in pill or powder form. I agree entirely about the use of fresh green foods etc etc but obtaining high quality organic foods of this type is not easy or affordable for many people and many simply do not have time (or inclination)to do the preparation etc.
I feel you should do dilligent research rather than telling your own subjective story about the juice!
If you looked in to the eyes and spoke to many of my clients about their use of green foods, noni, aloe vera and similar nutrients you WOULD HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS.
Just in case you think I am in this for the money I work 7 days every week do not have holidays have not seen my doctor since 1977 am vegan in excellent health (61yrs old) and could make more money as a cab driver working half the hours.
Bet you dont post this email!!!
Thank you for writing. I am not against getting a different point of view. But first of all, let me say that indeed, this blog and website represents MY opinion, and I’m not saying that I hold the ultimate truth. However I observe certain trends and bring my bit of wisdom to it based on my 10 years of experience in the Natural Health Movement and my study of natural hygiene.
The trend I have observed is seeing thousands of companies making outrageous claims for an EXTREMELY overpriced product. I’ve talked about many of these products before, such as goji berry juice and mangosteen juice, just to name a few.
Of course, for each product, there are champions promoting it, and lots of supporters for it, and of course a hefty pile of testimonials. And they will also all say like you that all of the other products are inferior products, but somehow theirs is better.
If noni juice is working for you, then that’s perfect. If you find it worth your money, then sure, continue using it.
But if you say that my experience is entirely subjective, well, I would argue that it is based on a careful thought process. I would rather say that the expererience of people experiencing good results from these products is rather subjective.
There are many ways to explain the benefits someone may get from a particular product, such as noni juice:
- Placebo effect
- Product forces you to eat less food (either by reducing appetite or replacing meals), therefore benefits are obtained through food reduction
- Product recommendations include other healthful practices such as exercise and proper diet
- Product contains certain nutritients that may be lacking in a person’s nutrition, but could be optained at a much lesser cost (with home made green smoothies, for example).
And so on and so forth.
But for readers who would like to look more into the topic of noni juice, and why I’m not the only one to think it is a scam, I offer the following resources:
This might make me a few enemies, but I believe that 99% of supplements and “superfoods” on the market are an absolute waste of money.
It seems like every time you turn your head, someone is offering the latest and greatest “beauty enhancing” or “breakthrough” superfood or supplement.
But what if I told you something shocking yet so simple to understand: there’s no “food” that arrives in a bottle, having been made in a factory and sold in powdered form, that will ever compare in terms of “super-nutrition” to fresh fruits and vegetables.
But still, almost every day I get an e-mail that says, “what do you think of __________” (fill in the blank with whatever supplement or superfood is now being promoted as the latest “amazing” product).
Although it would take forever to review every product on the market, let’s review some popular supplements and superfoods that, in my opinion, are an absolute waste of money.
Almost every supplement company has a variation of the “green powder,” which is basically a powder made with dried grass, dried grass juices or dried vegetables and possibly algae. This powder is supposed to make your body more alkaline and give you nutrition you can’t find elsewhere.
First, I would say that grass powder is not a worthy food and anyone growing grass and turning it into a powder and making a lot of money selling it is really laughing their way to the bank at the expense of unknowing customers. Even if it’s called “wheatgrass”, it’s still grass.
A powder of vegetables or algae can never compare in nutritional value to fresh vegetables, even if those vegetables are not organic.
The real superfoods are dark green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, black kale, parsley, celery, arugula, and so on.
With the use of “green smoothies” made with *fresh* green vegetables and fruit, anyone can obtain superior nutrition in a few minutes a day (ruling out the argument that people don’t have “time” to eat well).
Green smoothies and fresh raw greens literally put these green powders to shame. For a free mini-course on the power of green smoothies, go to: http://www.greenforlifeprogram.com
Another all-time favorite of supplement companies is protein powder, in all its forms. There’s the ultra-refined soy protein powder, we’ve got whey protein, rice protein, and now a less refined hemp protein.
But the idea is the same: that somehow, no matter how much food you eat, there’s still a chance you might not get enough protein, so therefore you should consume protein in a concentrated, powdered form.
This idea is especially popular among body-builders and gym-goers. It’s interesting to note that starting from the Greek gymnasiums two and a half thousand years ago through the ages of gladiators and modern gymnastics, men and women of all ages have been able to build magnificent, muscular bodies eating nothing more than simple foods and without the use of protein powders.
This is a classic example of how you can market a product by first “creating a problem” that doesn’t exist.
Nutrition textbooks teach that you can get all the protein you need as long as you consume enough calories from whole foods, even if all you eat is fruits and vegetables.
Although this discussion could lead me to cover any possible supplement or superfood among the thousands of products available, I think you’re starting to get my point.
I’ll just finish with an example of a “superfood” called noni and sold as “noni juice.”
The noni is a fruit that’s been used for centuries in Polynesia for its alleged medicinal properties. But there is very limited scientific evidence to support these properties.
When I visited Tahiti last winter, I was on the tiny island of Huahine and had the chance to try real noni juice from a local Tahitian couple who made the juice from their own fruit tree.
Let me tell you that it was the most disgusting, horrible concoction that I ever had in my entire life!
Obviously, the noni is not a natural food for humans, as there is no way anyone would want to consume it unless they thought it had some medicinal value.
My Tahitian friends explained how they prepare the noni juice. They put all these unappetizing, weird-smelling noni fruits in a jar and then let the thing ferment for several days.
Then the fermented juice that oozes out of the fruits and reeks like the juice that’s formed at the bottom of a trash container, is what they drink.
Now American companies have had the great idea of adding a bunch of sugar to this awful tasting Tahitian folk remedy juice, making up a fantastic story around it, throwing in some questionable science and selling millions of dollars worth of the stuff to gullible people.
Listen closely: it’s completely absurd to think that one food can be a universal remedy for all our ills. We need nutrients from different sources and Nature isn’t so capricious as to put everything in one place.
We’re meant to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, drink pure water and have a healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise and healthy relationships and positive thoughts.
All the rest is marketing and hype.
Of course, you are free to believe what you want about noni juice and other kinds of superfoods available on the market.
But do yourself a favor and make the decision to try for yourself what the study and experience of natural hygiene and health through a pure raw-based diet can do for you.
Today, I’d like to get a few things off my chest that have been bothering me for a while, namely the greed and abuse of consumers credibility of many companies that are selling outrageously expensive products for their so-called “anti-oxidant” power.
I’m going to first crush a few obvious ‘scam’ products, not because I those are necessarily the worst ones out there, but simply because these products get pitched all the time and I know that a lot of honest health-seekers are wasting a lot of their hard-earned cash on them.
Then after I’m done with this rampage, I’m going to give a last uppercut to these greedy empires by showing you some of the best anti-oxidant packed foods you can incorporate in your diet on the cheap.
Xango Juice: or the Art of Abusing Credulity
I’ve never told you that, but a long time ago (over 12 years) — I briefly attempted to succeed in the “network marketing” world. For almost a year, I was involved in one such company, selling “premium dog food”, believe it or not!
So I got a lot of insights into the world of “network marketing.” While it’s certain that there are many good companies that operate under this model, there’s definitely also a whole lot of bad ones.
When I first joined this MLM (Multi-Level Network) company, the big guru told us that MLM was the future of the world. That in ten years 80% of the products would be distributed that way (which obviously hasn’t happened, 10 years later… not even close).
He also told us that because MLM bi-passes the “big distribution network”, it allowed the distribution of higher quality products at a lower cost.
My experience with many Multi-Level-Networking companies I have encountered proves this to be wrong. Generally, the products they sell are very high-priced. Unless you actually join as a distributor, you literally pay several times the actual market value of the product.
I’ve also found that while there are a few good MLM companies with good products, most companies are selling suspect items to gullible consumers. Many of these products have actually very little value, and are 90% hype, marketing and exaggerated claims.
Of course, they always have a cute little story to back it up. How the founder of the company had a “vision” and a “dream” to improve the nutrition of the entire world, and how he founded his company to fulfill his higher mission.
I particularly like how they talk about this one Ã¢â‚¬Å“scientistÃ¢â‚¬Â from Japan (ever noticed they’re all from Japan?) who found the fountain of youth in some ancient plant, and wants to share it with the western world.
Let’s talk about this Mangosteen Juice
The company Xango sells their exotic fruit drink made with mangosteen. This fruit is not related to the “mango”. When I was in Bali, I ate mangosteens by the kilo, and they were very inexpensive. In Asia, the mangosteen is regarded the “queen of the fruit” for its delicate taste.
Xango sells their mangosteen juice as a “miracle cure”. Actually, what they sell is some mangosteen product mixed with the juices of about eight other fruits. And at $32.50 per bottle, this fruit juice better be good!
Actually, if you start to believe their marketing literature, this juice is nothing short of a miracle cure.
According to Xango, there are more than 20 “human health benefits” to their mangosteen juice, from “anti-microbial” to “anti-cancer”.
Supposedly, we should drink their juices because of “xanthones”, a “powerful antixidant” that “may help maintain intestinal health, strengthen the immune system, neutralize free radicals, help support cartilage and joint function, and promote a healthy seasonal respiratory system.”
However since they don’t have any serious research to back this claim up, Xango adds this disclaimer as a footnote: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”.
Xango is in the business for the bux
Anyone who knows network marketing knows how the system works. Independent distributors are selling the products but mainly recruiting other distributors in order to get a percentage off their sales.
Generally the motivated network marketer will aggressively sell the products to his own friends, relatives and neighbors.
(I remember when I was in this “dog food” company and I phoned the entire list of names from my high school year, in order to pitch them the dog food product!)
With this system, the more distributors a person can recruit, the more money they can make. And the company itself provides all of the marketing material they need to generate as much buzz as possible.
Like all similar products sold through the same kind of system, Xango has some kind of resemblance of scientific truth that they exaggerate to the extreme to sell their product.
Many of their claims are completely exaggerated and unsubstantiated. For a neutral perspective on Xango, read the Wikipedia page on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XanGo
Countless Other Products
The marketing, the claims, and the suspicious research behind Xango’s success resembles mysteriously to a lot of other similar products we’ve seen marketed over the last few years. I’m referring to:
- Noni fruit juice
- Goji Berry juice
- Aloe Vera juice
The same story here, the same scam, with a different product. In fact, I’ve found that both the Chief Financial Officer AND the president of Xango worked previously for Tahitian Noni International, another company selling their own miracle cure.
When I look at a $35 bottle of “anti-oxidant-rich” mangosteen juice, I can’t help to laugh and think to myself, “what kind of idiot would spend that kind of money (plus shipping) for a bottle of fruit juice”
Let’s not forget what these companies are after.
A few years ago, more than one person wanted to take advantage of my “big mailing list” to sign me up as a Xango distributor. They tried to convince me that I would make “so much money” if I used the power of my mailing list to sell this product, and recruit other distributors.
I didn’t consider for a single second to do that and never gave replied to those requests (one came from a friend of mine).
What’s interesting is that everyone who came to me to tell me about mangosteen juice spent more time to explain how much money I could make with it, rather than try to convince me it was a really good product. It’s almost as if the product is irrelevant, as long as the rest is in place.
Some Anti-Oxidant Rich Foods: Cheap Alternatives
Okay, now that I feel a little better to have expressed my truth about this mangosteen juice, let me give you some quick tips that these companies certainly don’t want you to know.
1- Berries — Berries are by far the one of the richest sources of antioxidants, particularly wild blueberry. I suggest having as many berries as you can. Plus they are particularly enjoyable to eat. When wild blueberries are in season, freeze them in ridiculous quantities and use them throughout the year.
2- Pomegranate Juice — Pomegranate Juice is a very high source of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants. You can either purchase fresh pomegranates and make the juice yourself, or purchase pomegranate concentrate (which is still a high source of anti-oxidants). The good thing is that even a big jug of pomegranate juice will only cost you about $7, so 5 times less than the mangosteen juice (which is made mostly with other juices). And best of all, you can find it in most health food stores.
3- Prunes — According to recent studies, prunes rank really high on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“anti-oxidantÃ¢â‚¬Â score (http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/20061101/antioxidants-found-unexpected-foods) Good thing, because they are also very delicious.
4- Greens — Dark green leafy vegetables are also an excellent source of anti-oxidants. But not just that. Greens contain more nutrition than any other foods! For the full story, sign up for the Green for Life Program (http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/greenforlife.html)
5- Mangosteen Finally, you can also get the health benefits of mangosteen… by trying them out fresh. They are very delicious. You can find them in many Asian markets. Even at $5 a pound, you’re still going to get a better deal than you would get on the Xango juice. And if you ever travel to Costa Rica in September, or Asia in the winter, you’ll get all of the mangosteens you can eat, at dirt cheap prices.
In a future issue, I’ll go deeper into this fascinating topic of anti-oxidants.
Know that next week, for less than the price of two bottle of mangosteen juice (I think I’ll start talking like that for a while…), you can join me in a powerful, truly “results-oriented” Green Cleanse — one of my most popular and effective diet detox. Sign up at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/greenforlife.html)