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Trying Out Detox Diets

Rating

1 Star

Trying Out Detox Diets

Our Review Summary

This segment provided viewers with personal testimony about three peoples’ experience with a cleansing product to counteract "as many as 140 unwanted chemicals in our bodies."

We think it was a waste of air time, for the following reasons:

  • It reported anecdote not evidence.  The plural of anecdote is not data.
  • It let the company get away with claiming that one who did not "succeed" on the approach was the outlier and that 100,000 people had succeeded.  But, again, it provided no data to back that up.
  • It didn’t discuss harms or costs.
  • It didn’t interview any independent source.
  • It felt like a free commercial – no evidence, no harms, no costs, just imbalanced positive product information. 

It ended with the fail-safe "Check with your doctor" advice.   Doctors hate this.  And consumers should, too.  Yes, let’s drive up health care costs by sending more people to their doctors to ask about products promoted on TV without evidence or balance. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of costs.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

It is unacceptable to perpetuate the idea that the experience of one individual provides a knowledge base from which to discern really anything about a treatment. If the company says that "more than 100,000 people have tried and succeeded on the plan" then why didn’t we hear any data about that? And the story painted the one woman who didn’t "succeed" as the outlier. Terribly unbalanced biased approach.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of harms associated with these ‘treatments’ other than to mention that if you stay on a homemade diet long term (how long is long term?), it can carry health risks (such as? and how commonly?).  However this cautionary note is not sufficient for a consumer to have any concrete idea about what the risks are or how commonly they occur.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The segment delivered anecdotes not evidence.  There was no discussion about typical results from the use of these ‘treatments’.

The piece began with an opening that mentioned having a ‘flood of emails’ and then went on to say that they had ‘heard some success stories’.  The clear inherent potential bias is overwhelming. That’s not journalism; that’s holding a finger up in the wind to gauge direction. 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

This segment opened with a statement that ‘Doctor say that there are as a many as 140 unwanted chemicals in our bodies’. Perfect TV lead.  Also a perfect example of unsubstantiated fear-mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

There did not appear to be anyone knowledgeable about weight, weight loss, or anything medical consulted for this segment.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The segment provided commentary about three difference cleanses.  But there was no discussion of alternative options for people who are overweight and fatigued, such as making healthy lifestyle changes like weight loss or physical activity.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The ‘treatments’ mentioned ranged from concoctions you could prepare yourself with ingredients in your kitchen to products you could purchase on-line or at a local drug store.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

There was actually no discussion about the history of the products highlighted in this broadcast other than to indicate that they are all the rage.  Are they new?  One could not discern this from the segment.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied largely on a news release.  We don’t know why they did the story now. We do judge that the story had a clear favorable bias for a company’s products.

Total Score: 1 of 9 Satisfactory

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