Why Over-the-top Claims Make Their Utterer Rich

I have a sensitivity for bullshit in the fitness industry. It carries over to other areas of my life but it is more finely tuned in the areas of health, wellness and fitness.

Some would call me a skeptic and I’m fine with that title. I am skeptical of new and outlandish claims. I am skeptical of people who try to sell me anything. I become skeptical when I feel that someone is trying to manipulate me. I am skeptical that people are not telling me the entire story. It wasn’t always like this, there was a time when I gave people the benefit of the doubt assuming that they knew something that I didn’t.

Some of these claims are almost as unbelievable as the fact that anyone believes them.

  • ‎“I gained 11 lbs in 5 days while dropping 2% body fat simply by going to the Dominican Republic and eating their food because it is organic and more nutritionally dense”
  • “We need to take vitamins because the food quality in north America is so poor. Some oranges don’t have vitamin C anymore”
  • “They have a cure for cancer but because it’s vitamins and the pharmaceutical company’s can’t make money off them you’ll never hear about it”
  • “Cancer cannot grow in an alkaline environment, it grows in an acidic environment so alkalize your blood”
  • “You have yeast and parasites in your blood”
  • “Turn off your WiFi at night – its extremely bad for you and also for kids brains and can lead to autism”

I won’t go on, but for fun you can make up some claims yourself and consider what would need to happen in order for someone to believe them.

These bullshit claims work for a few interesting reason, so knowing these reasons will help you avoid buying stuff you don’t need or giving your money to people who are only interested in taking yours.

  • The utterer is convincing, likely because they are convinced about the truth of their statements.
  • The listener is hopeless and hearing the claim creates hope. When someone has given-up, they are more likely to believe anything that affords them some hope that things can get better or will get better. Being hopeless also makes us vulnerable
  • The claim is so outrageous that no one would possibly consider making it up.
  • The claim causes an emotional response which dulls logical thinking; fear or anger are easy to trigger and they stop logic in its tracks.
  • The listener is gullible or worse.
  • The listener has previously had challenging experiences with people or practitioners who hold the opposite point of view.
  • Believing the over the top claim is easier than not believing it.
  • The listener has had all of the “trust” buttons pushed and made the decision to trust the utterer. Some people are just extremely believable

Take the time to evaluate everything that people say when trying to sell or sign you up for something; keep in mind that with many service contracts in Ontario, you have 10 days to cancel without penalty. If you are buying a supplement, ask about a money back the guarantee and any evidence they have about its effectiveness. If the person is selling you a cure for a problem you didn’t know you have DO NOT buy it without doing your own research.