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Celebrity Diet Secrets: Hillary Swank

Oy. Here we go again with ridiculous nutrition statements by celebrities. This time, it’s Hillary Swank’s turn to talk nonsense.

In a recent interview with W Magazine, Swank proudly boasts that she takes 45 supplements a day! That’s right, in 24 hours.

This is my Aloe C, which I dissolve in water. Here’s my flax. This one’s for my immune system, and this one is my BrainWave — it’s great, like if I have a lot of lines to memorize,” she explains to the reporter.

All this advice comes from Dr. Oz Garcia, nutritionist to the stars, who Hillary credits with changing her life.

Before I go on to talk about Hillary’s pill regimen, allow me to shed some light on Dr. Garcia.

Specializing in “progressive nutrition, life extension, and anti-aging”, Dr. Garcia caters to Hollywood’s A-list and has had his number of television appearances. He also oversees nutritional services for Equinox Fitness Clubs.

Between that bio and his splashy website, you might think this guy knows his stuff.

Well, as we all witnessed with the Dr. Jan Adams debacle (who, despite being a media darling and even having his own show on The Discovery Health network, turned out to lack board accreditation and had a long history of malpractice claims by several patients), not everything is as it appears.

For starters, a 1987 Time magazine article describes Dr. Garcia as a “self-taught” nutritionist. That same article states that Dr. Garcia claims he can tell someone what to eat after analyzing a strand of their hair.

As far as I know, a strand of hair does not give you the same information as a blood test. Would Dr. Garcia advocate a high-protein diet to someone simply based on a hair sample, not knowing one of their kidneys is malfunctioning (and, therefore, need to be on a low-protein diet)?

Dr. Garcia predictably hawks his own water, described as “99.9%” pure and containing “three times the electrolytes found in sports drinks”.

The electrolytes in drinks like Gatorade are two minerals you all have heard of — sodium and potassium. Since Gatorade provides approximately one percent of a day’s potassium requirement, then this special water contains, at most, 3 percent of the daily requirement.

A much smarter idea would be to get this mineral in much higher quantities from food. A cup of cantaloupes provides 10 percent, as does half a cup of Swiss chard or butternut squash. Throwing in half a cup of black beans into a salad provides 9 percent.

Dr. Garcia also sells colon cleansing, fat-burning, and even anti-aging products, all in pill form.

If this is the man Hillary Swank looks up to, it’s no wonder she thinks nothing of swallowing 45 pills a day.

The excess of vitamins and minerals she is consuming is simply being excreted.

Just for the record, let me note that there are no mentally-sharpening magic pills that help anyone with memory.

Lastly, why is Hillary Swank taking flax in pill form? How about just sprinkling some milled flaxseed into a smoothie, salad, soup, or cereal bowl?

The wonderfully healthy properties of flaxseed (i.e.: phytochemicals known as lignans, which have been linked to a decrease in bad cholesterol) are not replicated in a flax pill.

And then we wonder why Kevin Trudeau’s books become bestsellers….

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous said on December 16th, 2007

    The nuance of snark only works if you are knowledgeable about what you speak. Your how many years of nutritional experience lead you to your conclusions? Maybe when you finish your masters you will be open to learn a thing or two.

  2. Chris Davis said on December 16th, 2007

    I was at a cocktail party the other night and was talking to a woman who is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She writes for their personal finance section. I asked her, just out of curiosity how respected a person like Suze Orman is, and how reliable her advice is. She told me that most people in the business would tell you that most of Suze Orman’s advice is over-simplified and not to be relied upon.

    One of the primary reasons that people like Suze Orman and Dr. Garcia sell their warez to such great numbers of people is that they are socially proven.

    This is something that Robert Cialdini warns us against in his book called Influence. There is a concept that he explains in his book which is called social proof. Basically, when we see important people, or large numbers of people taking advice from Dr. Garcia and Suze Orman, we use this “evidence” or “social proof” as a shortcut to making what can sometimes be very important decisions for ourselves. We reason, “If Hillary Swank listens to Dr. Garcia and if all of my friends and millions of other people listen to Suze Orman, then it’s probably okay for me to do the same.” Well, not always, Cialdini warns. Just because a person, or marketer, or author, or nutritionist is socially proven does not necessarily mean that their advice or products will benefit you.

    His book is a good read because it presents this concept and other psychological and social concepts, explains how we use them and how others (marketers, influencers, the media, etc.) use them (against) us, and he suggests that we protect ourselves from these situations by becoming more conscious of them. Definitely read it – it is an eye-opener.

  3. Chris Davis said on December 16th, 2007

    I was at a cocktail party the other night and was talking to a woman who is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She writes for their personal finance section. I asked her, just out of curiosity how respected a person like Suze Orman is, and how reliable her advice is. She told me that most people in the business would tell you that most of Suze Orman’s advice is over-simplified and not to be relied upon.

    One of the primary reasons that people like Suze Orman and Dr. Garcia sell their warez to such great numbers of people is that they are socially proven.

    This is something that Robert Cialdini warns us against in his book called Influence. There is a concept that he explains in his book which is called social proof. Basically, when we see important people, or large numbers of people taking advice from Dr. Garcia and Suze Orman, we use this “evidence” or “social proof” as a shortcut to making what can sometimes be very important decisions for ourselves. We reason, “If Hillary Swank listens to Dr. Garcia and if all of my friends and millions of other people listen to Suze Orman, then it’s probably okay for me to do the same.” Well, not always, Cialdini warns. Just because a person, or marketer, or author, or nutritionist is socially proven does not necessarily mean that their advice or products will benefit you.

    His book is a good read because it presents this concept and other psychological and social concepts, explains how we use them and how others (marketers, influencers, the media, etc.) use them (against) us, and he suggests that we protect ourselves from these situations by becoming more conscious of them. Definitely read it – it is an eye-opener.

  4. Chris Davis said on December 16th, 2007

    I was at a cocktail party the other night and was talking to a woman who is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She writes for their personal finance section. I asked her, just out of curiosity how respected a person like Suze Orman is, and how reliable her advice is. She told me that most people in the business would tell you that most of Suze Orman’s advice is over-simplified and not to be relied upon.

    One of the primary reasons that people like Suze Orman and Dr. Garcia sell their warez to such great numbers of people is that they are socially proven.

    This is something that Robert Cialdini warns us against in his book called Influence. There is a concept that he explains in his book which is called social proof. Basically, when we see important people, or large numbers of people taking advice from Dr. Garcia and Suze Orman, we use this “evidence” or “social proof” as a shortcut to making what can sometimes be very important decisions for ourselves. We reason, “If Hillary Swank listens to Dr. Garcia and if all of my friends and millions of other people listen to Suze Orman, then it’s probably okay for me to do the same.” Well, not always, Cialdini warns. Just because a person, or marketer, or author, or nutritionist is socially proven does not necessarily mean that their advice or products will benefit you.

    His book is a good read because it presents this concept and other psychological and social concepts, explains how we use them and how others (marketers, influencers, the media, etc.) use them (against) us, and he suggests that we protect ourselves from these situations by becoming more conscious of them. Definitely read it – it is an eye-opener.

  5. happy said on January 22nd, 2008

    It’s a good dieting idea!

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