With the idea that I should be eating a bit more protein, and being someone who is primarily a vegetarian who eats sushi every now and then, I headed for the low-fat dairy aisle. Sucker that I am for personal testimonials, I remembered a friend saying he loved kefir, a yogurt-ish drink.
Well, I’m no fan of yogurt, but was willing to give kefir a try and, much to my surprise, I had a Life cereal moment. “Hey Mikey, he really likes it.”
After months of glugging down kefir — and it does, in fact, glug… not pour… glug — I read the label for the first time this morning and saw the following:
Published research has shown the healthy probiotic cultures found in Lifeway kefir may:
- Enhance the immune system
- Balance digestive health
Enhance and balance with Lifeway kefir!
Okay, here’s a contest.
How many problems can you find that statement?
This contest is kinda like the experiment where you have to count the number of times the letter f appears in a sentence and we tend to overlook the ones in the word “of.” There are quite a few logical problems in that statement, some are so familiar they’ll be overlooked.
FWIW, I’ve got 9 so far, but there could be more.
I’ll give you one to start with, one that is often missed:
“…probiotic cultures found in…” Not the EXACT AMOUNT of cultures, or delivered in the same way, just the same type. In other words, let’s just say there’s a study that shows taking a daily enema featuring 10 pounds of acidophilus increases the curling of your forearm hair.
Lifeway is able to us the “probiotic cultures found in” line to imply that you’ll get a forearm hair perm even if the kefir contains just a microgram’s worth of acidophilus. And you’ll get that benefit from drinking the acidophilus rather than taking it in through, uh, according to The Newlywed Game, “The strangest place you’ve ever made whoopie.”
Now, before I let you loose with the challenge, let me tell you why I bring this up.
This statement is VERY deliberately crafted by a collection of marketing and legal experts in order to do two things:
- Communicate benefits
- Say nothing legally binding
And this is on FOOD.
Think about all the self-help and personal development promotion that use “research says” and “science says” or “Quantum Physicists say” to promise a benefit that’s actually specific!
“Quantum Physics says that everything is energy,” says one teacher. “And thoughts are energy. Therefore if you control your thoughts you can get anything you want!”
Ummm… hello? Really?
So the reason for my contest is this: When you can spot the errors in a statement as well honed as the kefir one and, as a result, be unswayed by it… imagine how immune you’ll become to something like, “We examined a group of millionaires and discovered what they have in common… now we’ll teach you how to think just like the rich so that you can be a millionaire, too!”
In fact, for extra credit, tell me what’s wrong with THAT line of reasoning (and my apologies to the word “reasoning” for using it in association with that type of statement).
And for extra extra credit, explain to me why the government would imprison Lifeway if they said something like the millionaire line on their bottle, but has no problem with the “teachers” who make those kinds of claims to sell their books and fill their workshops.