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Five “health” products you really don’t need

With more people than ever trying to find easy and simple ways to become healthy, the demand for health products has never been higher. While there have been many legitimately useful health products produced, a lot of them have been rather useless and hilariously over marketed. We’ve taken five of these products and compiled a list of “five health products that you really don’t need’.

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Diet Water

It doesn’t get much more basic than water… or so we thought. Back in 2004, a Japanese company, Sapporo, came out with its new groundbreaking product, Diet Water. Yes, Diet Water. How can water be diet? Well, simply put, it can’t.

Considering ‘plain’ water has zero grams of fat and zero calories, and as far as we know you can’t have negative calories or grams of fat, you can’t get much more diet than regular water. On the contrary, Diet Water has more in it than regular water. “Diet Water” is essentially water with a bunch of nutrients mixed into it – think Japanese Vitamin Water. Details are few and far between when it comes to this product, as Diet Water never made its way out of Japan and was discontinued after it didn’t perform too well on the market (go figure).

Speaking of Vitamin Water, it’s worth a mention in that it’s also a pretty pointless product that’s actually not all that healthy. While the guys behind Vitamin Water, who, unsurprisingly, are now Coca-Cola, had marketed it as a healthy and cool way to consume water with some added essential vitamins when tests were actually performed on the drinks the results were pretty shocking.

They revealed – or rather they didn’t reveal; you can look at the ingredients list on each bottle (but who does that nowadays, right?) – that Vitamin Water contains a whopping 33 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, a can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar, and if Coke isn’t considered healthy, then Vitamin Water definitely shouldn’t be either. All in all, it’s safe to say that no matter what the advertisements say, in terms of a healthy drink you can’t get much better than plain old water.

F-Cup Cookies and Tea

From the same company that created “Bust Up Gum,” chewing gum that apparently increased breast size up to 80 percent, comes the equally ridiculous F-Cup product line. The two products, the F-Cup Cookie, and F-Cup tea have become relatively popular among women in South East Asia and Japan and have even generated a hilarious response from BBC’s Radio One. The cookie, in particular, claims that when you eat it, the fat it contains goes straight to your breasts, making them bigger. The main ingredient in both products is Pueraria Mirifica, a plant found in northern Thailand and Burma.

Pueraria Mirifica has been claimed to increase appetite, improve hair growth and enlarge breasts, but there is no scientific evidence that supports these claims. In fact, the US Federal Trade Commission went as far as prosecuting manufacturers that made such claims with Pueraria Mirifica products. As a result, don’t expect to see F-Cup products outside of Japan and Southeast Asia anytime soon.

To some, it may sound all nice and dandy in theory, but as some reviewers revealed, in practice, the process is pretty different. One reviewer, in particular, stated that when she ate the cookie, her body temperature skyrocketed and she started sweating profusely – a little weird to say the least. While for some women this may seem like the ideal product, and would probably be a hilarious prank to play on a man, its overzealous claims and weird side effects mean that this is perhaps one of many breast enhancement products you want to stay away from.

Ab Belts

While everyone dreams of having a visible six-pack, some people aren’t too keen on going to the gym and putting in the work to get one. That’s where Ab Belts step in. With claims that they can get you a firm, toned, six pack while you sit around and do nothing at home, Ab Belts are products that have snowballed in popularity. Most ab belts are based on the same technology. Electrodes touching your skin send electric pulses to your abdominal muscles. The resulting shock is far from comfortable (trust me, I’ve tried one) and while they do stimulate your muscles, more often than not Ab Belts don’t make the six-pack that you already have (everyone has one) more visible than it already is.

The thing that most people don’t realize when they purchase an Ab Belt is that in a vast majority of cases, it isn’t that you don’t have strong enough abs, but rather, there’s a layer of fat hiding them. So rather than continuing to use the Ab Belt to strengthen abdominal muscles, what people really should be doing is getting rid of fat; something that Ab Belts don’t really do. In reality, there is no easy way to get visible abs; you have to actually work for them rather than use a product that claims to do the work for you.

It’s not only that Ab Belts don’t really do the trick, but also they can be extremely costly. Some cost up to US$ 200, and while you may benefit from one of these less than endearing pieces of apparel if you already have a strenuous exercise regime, for the most part, they are pretty certain a rather pointless health product.

Cool Shapes Contouring Shorts

People are very receptive to products that claim to be able to zap away fat by doing next to nothing, and that’s precisely what the Cool Shapes Contouring Shorts have capitalized on. The manufacturers of the shorts say that just by placing a cold pack next to your thighs, you can burn away ‘brown fat,’ the fat that is most metabolically active.

Sounds too good to be true… right? It is, and as you might have expected by now, it doesn’t correctly work. What Cool Shapes have done to market their product is to put authentic research way out of context and proportion. While the person that conducted research used by Cool Shorts to back their product, Dr. Aaron Cypess, did conclude that cold stimulates brown fat metabolism, he stated that the basic premise of Cool Shorts would have “very little chance of changing the shape of the thigh” because “it does not happen on the surface of the skin where we feel cold. It’s an event in the deep body, regulated centrally from the brain.”

All in all, you’d probably be wasting US$150 if you went ahead and purchased the Cool Shapes Shorts, and if you wanted to try the concept out, what’s preventing you from taking an ice pack and slapping it on your thigh?

Power Balance

As recently as a couple of years ago, everyone wore Power Balance bands. The manufacturers of the bands claimed that holographic technology was used to resonate with, and respond to, the natural energy field of the body and in turn increase sporting ability. It all sounds a little bit wacky to us.

Despite the curious theory behind the Power Balance band, it soon found itself on the wrists of a number of prominent athletes, including David Beckham, and even some politicians such as Bill Clinton. People everywhere saw athletes at the top of their respective sports wearing the Power Balance bands and so they too themselves went out and bought them, it was the definition of a fad. However, Power Balance themselves never provided any scientific evidence to support their claims, instead, they relied on a vast number of athlete testimonials.

By September 2010 approximately 2.5 million power bands, each costing around US$60 had been sold. When BBC Wales investigated Power Balance bands, it was revealed that athletes performed the same with a dummy band as they did with the real Power Balance band. Several other reports came out that all labeled Power Balance as nothing more than a placebo, something that psychologically convinces an individual of an effect. While they’re still on the shelves, you’ll get the same effect from a rubber band as you would from a Power Balance band. So keep these dubious “health” devices in mind the next time you find yourself watching some terrible TV infomercials. More likely than not, the device you’re looking probably won’t be the magic health bullet that you’re looking for.

What can you do for your health and wellbeing?

As you can see from the above points, there is no magic product that would make you healthy, fit, younger, or more energetic. To achieve this, you have to put a bit more effort and adjust your lifestyle to a more healthy one. Following a healthy diet, and exercising regularly are good points to start that can work towards better overall wellbeing.

Another important aspect of wellbeing is access to healthcare and regular health check-ups. If a doctor spots any condition during a check-up, you’ll have better chances of managing it or avoiding the disease or health condition to develop into something serious. As they say, prevention is key!

So it happens, here at Pacific Prime, we are experts in advising on health insurance plans worldwide. We believe that health is important, and with international health insurance companies tending to exclude any pre-existing conditions from the coverage, we believe that planning long term is a better option than spending money on Diet Water or freezing shorts. If you have any questions on the insurance subject, feel free to get in touch with us anytime!