‘Backed by science’ claims on fitness products

Power Balance bracelets

The claim: Power Balance makes a range of plastic bracelets and pendants decorated with holographic stickers, which they say will “optimize the body’s natural energy flow” to enhance strength, balance and flexibility. The bracelets have been widely adopted by celebrities and professional athletes, including Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero.

The science: There is no science. After being hit with a complaint by the advertising standards board in Australia, the company was forced to issue a statement in December saying: “We admit there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct.” In March, the company settled a U.S. class action suit out of court, offering refunds to customers. The company’s lawyer offered the following explanation: “As with many early technologies, especially one involving Eastern origins” – a familiar excuse – “we recognize the potential for confusion in the marketplace, and concede we got ahead of ourselves with claims about our first product.” Meanwhile, the bracelets remain popular, showing that science is no match for celebrity endorsement.

Athletic Propulsion Labs’ basketball shoes The claim: APL created a media storm last fall when it hoodwinked the National Basketball Association into banning its shoes. The ban was based on the claim that the shoes enhance vertical jump by “up to 3.5 inches,” but the NBA didn’t    Read more

Categories: Alternative Medicine

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