“Eating 30 mangoes a day can cure diabetes”
“Eating 1 tsp of Methi Seeds every day for 30 days can cure diabetes”
These were some of the claims made by patients to GOQii’s very own Dr. Akshat Chadha. In fact, we even came across a 2016 article that received around 1.4 million shares on Facebook that was titled, “Dandelion Weed Can Boost Your Immune System and Cure Cancer”.
Now before you begin stuffing yourself with mangoes and Methi Seeds or begin a quest to get a hold of Dandelion Weed, take a step back and analyse these claims.
Dr. Chadha asks a very valid question, “If it is that simple, why is the world suffering from diabetes?”
How Fake Health News Works
What is the first thing you do when you experience an unusual fever, intense pain in a body part or several of them? You turn to Dr. Google! At some point, we all have typed in “Quick ways to lose weight” or “How to build muscle quickly”.
While this may be out of general curiosity or to find an easier way out, it is certainly not the right thing to do. Most of Google searches related to illnesses end with either cancer or some other godforsaken illness that no one has heard of. Is Google even reliable?
On the other hand, fake health news forwarded via WhatsApp or shared on Facebook are mostly prevalent because people are looking for an easier way out. Eating Banana Peels or a spoonful of Methi seems easier to do than to actually eat the right food and exercise.
Even the allure of alternate medication over traditional medication seems intriguing for the simple fact that someone would rather experiment with something as absurd as Dandelion Weed, than go through Chemotherapy for Cancer treatment.
Is the tone of authority that claims – “Cure <insert illness here> instantly”, “100% guaranteed weight loss”, or “Build a 6 pack in 3 days” to be blamed or is it our willingness to click on something like this without asking questions to be blamed? At the end of it, these articles only lead you to a website where someone is trying to sell you something or keep you from buying something else.
Apart from the reasons above, why fake articles get so much traction is simply because they deliver quick and easy to read content and headlines as opposed to research documents which are full of tables and scientific jargon that provide evidence.
More so, there’s this crushing need to believe something we wish were true. If someone who loves sweets were to come across an article that read, “Eating a lot of sweets is good for your health”, wouldn’t you click on it even if the claim isn’t backed by a legitimate study?
The Need to Eliminate Fake Health News
With more people buying into these fake health news and tips, it becomes difficult for doctors as most of their consultation time goes in myth-busting rather than treatment. If an expert is to reject fake news or tip, the patient is often not convinced.
Fake articles and our willingness to believe in them can do more harm than good. Especially if you go for alternate or self-medication cited from these fake articles which can make your condition worse!
Fortunately, the anti-vaccine brigade hasn’t made its way to India with their disputable content. Thanks to them, Measles made its return in 2016 in the United States. Who knows, if we begin here, we’d be welcoming Polio with open arms.
How to Identify Them
Keep an open mind but not open enough to passively accept any false piece of information which claims to be true. Here’s what you can do:
- Check the Source: Always check if the article is backed by proper study. If the giant breakthrough in cancer treatment hasn’t been spoken about by the American Cancer Society or other reputable sources consisting of experts on the subject, it probably isn’t true.
- Look for More Sources: Don’t rush to the fields to pick out Dandelion Weeds based on a single article. Always look for more sources, more studies have reached the same conclusion. If you can ask multiple people how you look in your new dress, taking multiple opinions on medication and health shouldn’t be that difficult.
- Be Sceptic: If you watched WWE in the 90s, the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin probably gave the most genuine advice ever – “Don’t Trust Anybody!” If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Just because a “research”, “Study” or “Claim” falls in line with what you’re already doing, doesn’t make it authentic. Awaken your inner sceptic and doubt everything! There is no shortcut to getting healthy and fit.
- Talk to Your Doctor: If you tell your doctor or even your nutritionist about eating banana peels to lose weight, we’re sure they’d crack up! Any credible data, analysis or information is useless if not interpreted by an expert. Verify these so-called “facts” with your doctor, nutritionist or expert. The person on the other side of the table didn’t spend years of their life getting a degree in medicine or certification just for show.
- Get a Second Opinion: Not convinced with what your doctor, nutritionist or trainer has to say? Get a second opinion. No one is 100% accurate all the time. They are human, they can make errors. It’s best to get a second opinion if you’re not convinced. Just avoid Googling your issue because search engines and social media channels aren’t allotted degrees on healthcare, medicine, nutrition and fitness.
It is imperative to bust fake health news, tips and myths to avoid injury, illness and in a worst-case scenario – death. Be well-informed with the right knowledge from the right people. In an attempt to curb the epidemic of false news, GOQii in association with Akshay Kumar and a team of experts is out to bust these myths for good with the GOQii India Health Quiz (IHQ).
The GOQii India Health Quiz aims to elevate over 130cr Indians by giving them the right knowledge and busting myths via live hourly quizzes within the GOQii App. All you need to do is download the app, watch LIVE classes on GOQii Play, participate in the quiz and earn points. These points can be redeemed for prizes such as Cellphones, Fitness Trackers and a grand cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh.
Remember, that the first step towards a healthy lifestyle begins in the mind. Train yours and until then, in the words of Akshay Kumar, “Gadhe Mat Bano!”
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