Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Magical Scam…I Mean, Juice?-

snake-oilBack in the fall, you couldn’t spit without hitting some sort of Acai berry advertisement or hawker.  All of a sudden, it was as if a million Acai salespeople popped up and started pitching their magical juice to the world.

My immediate thought?

Apple cider vinegar.

Let me explain.

I actually bought this issue when I was a kid!

I actually bought this issue when I was a kid!

When I was a kid, I remember being fascinated with the Weekly World News.

I don’t know if I was more fascinated by the fact that the stories were so obviously fake, or the fact that people actually bought the crap!

So, with the mentality that most of the info conveyed in the “trash mags” is pitched at a grade-school level, one can assume that the majority of readers aren’t the most intelligent people.  Either that or they are just really bored with life…who knows?! 🙂  Advertisers prey on the “not so intelligent!”  After all, if you’re trying to rip off people by selling cheap goods at prices way higher than your conscience should allow, doesn’t it make sense to preach to the “below average IQ” population?  Where do you find them?  Reading the Weekly World News, National Enquirer, Sun, and/or Star magazine…oh, and watching four hour blocks of soaps each day.  BINGO!  Oh, wait…bingo halls may be another great pool of people from which to draw business…better tell the execs!

I hope y’all realize i’m just poking fun.  I know there are tons of women out there who are very intelligent and watch soaps…if you’re one of them, feel free to leave your comments!  I’m curious how many points your IQ has dropped since you started watching them. 🙂

Cures what ails ya!

Cures what ails ya!

Anyhow, the advertisement I most remember from this rag as well as the Enquirer, Sun, & Star (because i’d read them while mom was in the checkout line) was the one for “apple cider vinegar.”  It claimed the “miracle product” helped you lose weight, lower your blood pressure,  & slow down the aging process…oh, and let’s not forget that it cures allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, and gout.

WOW!  It’s a miracle!

In my opinion, anything that claims to “cure” a gazillion health issues is bogus…just like a few “straight” chiropractors i’ve come to know…kinda creepy.  I’m sorry, but if you promise me the moon and stars, i’ve gotta call you a liar.

Taken from Wikipedia:

Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known simply as cider vinegar, is made from cider or apple must and has a brownish-yellow color. It often is sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with the mother of vinegar present, as a natural product. It is very popular, partly due to alleged beneficial health and beauty properties. Due to its acidity, apple cider vinegar may be very harsh, even burning to the throat. If taken straight (as opposed to use in cooking), it can be diluted (e.g. with fruit juice or water) before drinking.[3] It is also sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey.[4] There have been reports of acid chemical burns of the throat in using the pill form.[5]

Chemical burns?

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Acai berry:

Recently, the açaí “berry” has been touted and marketed as a highly beneficial dietary supplement. Companies sell açaí berry products in the form of tablets, juice, smoothies, instant drink powders, and whole fruit.

Marketers of these products make claims that açaí provides increased energy levels, improved sexual performance, improveddigestion, detoxification, high fiber content, high antioxidant content, improved skin appearance, improved heart health, improved sleep, and reduction of cholesterol levels. More dubious claims include reversal of diabetes and other chronic illnesses, as well as expanding size of the penis and increasing men’s sexual virility and sexual attractiveness to women.[1][2] Açaí is most commonly marketed as a weight loss product.

As of March 2009, there are no controlled studies backing up any of these claims. According to ABC News correspondent Susan Donaldson, these products have not been evaluated (in the United States) by the FDA, and their efficacy is questionable.[3] In late 2008, lawyers for The Oprah Winfrey Show began investigating alleged statements from supplement manufacturers who suggested that frequent Oprahguest Dr. Mehmet Oz had recommended their product or açai in general for weight loss.[4]

Notice a trend?

If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is! Also, if tons of people are pitching this stuff to you right nad left, it’s probably a big money-making scheme!  People are getting rich off of your “need” for a “magic bullet.” When are people gonna snap out of it?  Think of all the money that’s been thrown away on this garbage.

Wisen up, folks!

Yet again, i’m forced to repeat myself:

What works is nothing magical.

It’s simple…open mouth, insert quality, clean food…move your body…drink lots of H2O…breathe…relax…repeat.

Unfortunately, the general public finds this “information” boring…it’s not “sexy” enough…also, it requires effort…the general public is lazy…that’s why they will continue to waste their hard-earned money on crappy supplements, diet programs, and bogus exercise gadgets!

If you’re a loyal reader, it’s obvious you don’t fall into this category, and I applaud your ability to “think outside the box!”

Let me know what you think!  Leave your comments!

Get your copy of MTM 1.0 – the first book in my “Metabolic Training Method” series!


27 responses

  1. Pingback: -Magical Scam…I Mean, Juice?-

  2. I clean with white vinegar cook with cider vinegar. Do I have that’s backwards?

    June 8, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    • I think you’re good, Chris! White vinegar reminds me of deviled eggs…ewwww…super-pungent! Numerous uses for vinegar in general…but please tell the general public it doesn’t cure cancer! 😀

      June 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

  3. Paul

    A personal favorite of mine is the public opinion about anabolic steroids. Most people believe that you simply inject it into your body and in a short amount of time muscular hypertrophy occurs and you come out ripped, neglecting the whole time the insane amount of discipline and hard work that is powered by the steroid.. I think that speaks loads about the general public’s wants: minimal effort and magical pills. A good documentary about the topic is Bigger, Stronger, Faster.

    June 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    • Hey Paul!
      Great point! It’s the “get it now” mentality!
      Anyone who opens up a Muscle & Fiction or Musclemag magazine has a gazillion ads (on literally almost every page) in their face making bogus claims & playing off their “I wanna be lean/big” emotions. This has SEVERELY bothered me since almost day one of my journey along the fitness path.
      “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” is an awesome documentary! I bought it!
      Yours in Health,

      June 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm

  4. If any of that stuff actually worked, there wouldn;t be so many overweight people walking around!

    I got hooked on the Weekly World News when I was in college. Hilarious! I loved the “Dear Dotti” advice column. Of course then Dr. Laura came along, making poor “Dotti” look like a mollycoddling creampuff.

    June 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    • Hey Laura!
      LOL! Amen to that! and we’d be out of the job! 🙂
      I had completely forgotten about “Dear Dotti”!!! OMG! wow…now i’m wanting to go buy a damn copy of the WWN! I had the bat boy cover taped up amongst a gazillion other things on one of my walls, including cheesy ads from the 50’s from LIFE magazine…such a weird teenager!

      June 8, 2009 at 7:12 pm

  5. Nancy K

    I had a strawberry and acai yogurt after dinner last night. It was rather delicious, but strangely enough I haven’t lost 20lbs in the middle of the night!

    I do wish people would engage their brains a little more when thinking about these things. If acai/cider vinegar/etc etc was a miracle cure, wouldn’t we all be slim, healthy, and living to the ripe old age of 120?

    June 9, 2009 at 2:55 am

    • Hi Nancy!
      😀 lol!
      That’s a great point! My emphasis is on the fact that life is about BALANCE. There is no ONE product/pill/drink/food/workout program/diet that can do it all. Limiting oneself to that way of thinking is a disaster waiting to happen, and the sad thing is, it happens all the time. Good health is like a puzzle…you put together lots of pieces to create a healthy life. It’s not gonna come from just one source!
      Thanks for your comments!
      Yours in Health,

      June 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm

  6. Yep, most “latest, greatest discoveries” do turn out to be crap. Litmus test: the more money being spent to advertise it, the more you should probably stay away from it. Thanks for adding such a fun, well-written article to the blogosphere!

    June 9, 2009 at 3:59 am

    • Hey Matt!
      Exactly! You are right on the money…the more something is being “pushed,” the more likely it’s padding people’s wallets & making consumers lose money on a product that isn’t worth a crap.
      I don’t want people to think acai and apple cider vinegar are completely bogus…I mean, they each apparently have good qualities…my point is that one product CANNOT do it all…and the fact that people put so much faith in a certain product that it creates a cult-like following…that’s pretty disturbing if you ask me!
      Two words are stuck in my head at the moment:
      I am curious as to how much the MIND comes into play when people use supplements/foods/drinks/etc. I mean, it has been said that one’s mental outlook has a big part in the fight against cancer. If we convince ourselves that we are getting healthier by taking X supplement or following X diet, etc, just how powerful is that mental message?
      On the acai juice note…I had a friend give me a bottle of it months ago. She swears by it. I also have another friend who has started selling some different “blend” of seven berries, and she’s convinced she feels amazing and it’s the best stuff ever. I can’t help but question this…the way the products are being pitched and promoted by overzealous salespeople…it’s a bunch of brainwashing! I thought the Mona Vie tasted okay, but to be honest, I didn’t “feel” anything from it…add to this the fact that I KNEW I wouldn’t “feel” anything from it. I’ve used a gazillion supplements since 1995 and I feel most of them were crap! Why did I use em? Because I was just like most consumers…searching for the “magic bullet” to stay lean, be healthier, etc.
      I think our country is missing the mark.

      Thanks for your comments!
      Yours in Health,

      June 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm

      • DDRdiva

        The placebo effect is no myth, as we know. ACE did a study a few years ago where runners actually ran faster, with less effort, when they were told they were drinking “super water” that was really just plain old tap water!
        Here’s the article:

        So maybe treating yourself to some Mona Vie right before your race will work if you can really CONVINCE yourself that it’s magical, who knows 🙂 remember Dumbo and his magic flying feather?

        There is so much about the mind-body connection we don’t know about, like what really drives people. How can you have 2 siblings who were raised exactly the same way in the same place, and one really takes care of his or her health and the other doesn’t? I’m glad to see more research being done in this area.

        June 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm

        • Woohoo, Sue!
          I think you just gave me another great idea for a blog post!
          I’ve always been intrigued by the “mind-body connection”. My first “grasp” of it came when I was really new to weight training, circa 1994. I remember I HATED doing pulldowns because I only felt them in my arms. Of course, I was weaker at the time, and I was feeling the exercise in my arms. Drove me bananas! So, what I learned from one of my bodybuilder friends was to think of my hands as “hooks” over the bar, versus using a thumbs-under grip. This takes some of the arms’ involvement out of the exercise, and you can’t “death grip” the bar. I started to be able to visualize “pulling” with my lats, versus my arms, and focused on my arms just assisting the movement. It worked! Putting my “mind into the muscle” was the solution, and I saw faster progress b/c of it. When you can “feel” an exercise, it helps! Now, if we’re talking more complicated exercises, such as kettlebell movements, there is more total-body integration involved, and therefore the “mind-muscle connection” is taken to a whole other level.

          How in the heck did I get going down that long-winded path? lol! 🙂

          Anyhow, I most definitely feel the placebo effect is powerful. I’m always intrigued by the studies, such as the one done by ACE that you mentioned above. It’s as if people don’t have enough belief in their own abilities, that they must have something to give them that “edge”…hence “faux super water!” Whatever does the trick!

          Yours in Health,

          June 11, 2009 at 7:06 am

  7. Fabulous post and totally on the money!

    June 9, 2009 at 6:35 am

    • Thanks, Matt! 😀

      June 9, 2009 at 12:46 pm

  8. DDRdiva

    Or as Ed Anger would have said, “I’m madder than a rabid dog at a flea circus about magical juices…” LOL! Another closet WWN fan here 🙂

    Like I mentioned on Twitter, the Internet is making people smarter and dumber at the same time. We get so much GREAT info from you and other expert trainers, so much of it for free, yet so many of those same trainers are pitching this crap. Humans somehow managed to build pyramids and sail around the world without hi-tech $hakes and bar$. All it took was real food, hard work, patience, perseverance, rinse and repeat. There are no shortcuts, except to emptying your wallet. Keep up the good work and truth-telling.

    June 9, 2009 at 9:17 am

    • Hey Sue!

      We’ll start a closet WWN fanclub! 😀
      I totally love what you wrote! I’m gonna borrow this, if you’ll let me:
      “Humans somehow managed to build pyramids and sail around the world without hi-tech $hakes and bar$. All it took was real food, hard work, patience, perseverance, rinse and repeat.”
      That’s like the best thing i’ve heard in a while! SO TRUE! The more complicated we make things for ourselves, the dumber we become. TOO MUCH INFORMATION IS A BAD THING!
      What’s the principle? KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid! 😀

      Yours in Health,

      June 9, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  9. Sarah:

    I appreciate your comments and general skepticism over the the various elixirs on the market today. It’s unfortunate that proven holistic remedies get tainted by multi-level markets and direct marketing offers. In addition, traditional medicine is not motivated to invest in extensive testing because it undermines their goal of creating more pharmaceuticals. I have been an apple cider vinegar advocate for over 10 years. I have suggested it to many people over the years and they have experienced great results. My daughter had extreme digestive issues and was on prescription medication for her pain. After 2 months on an acv regime her pain was gone and she discontinued her use of pain medication. That was 3 years ago.

    I am not disagreeing that there is a lot of “noise” in the marketplace (especially online) about miracle cures. I just don’t want all non prescription based suggestions to be disregarded.

    Thank you, Bev

    June 9, 2009 at 9:57 am

    • Hi Bev!
      Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to leave your thoughts/experience on the subject! 🙂
      Your daughter’s story is awesome and she is obviously living proof that apple cider vinegar DOES good things. I am not trying to imply that it is a bunch of hogwash, because it isn’t. There are benefits, as you’ve witnessed, and that’s amazing. The world needs honest people like yourself putting the truth out there via real-world experiences. Those who are making outlandish claims are those we should run from!

      This is for everyone: I just thought of a question – I’ve taken numerous supplements since 1995, as I was a fitness competitor and very into weight training. I seriously taxed my body and was extremely neurotic about my workouts and diet. Supplements fit right into that picture b/c I would have done pretty much anything to improve upon what I already had. My question is this – unless you are able to rule out every other food product, supplement, exercise program, change in lifestyle, etc…how can one pinpoint that a specific supplement is the cause for a positive effect? Just how powerful is the mind in associating a “new supplement/food” with positive change?

      Can we create the positive change in the body, just by BELIEVING that consuming a specific product is the answer?

      I think we can.

      Yours in Health,

      June 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm

  10. I think you’re absolutely right and I adore your blunt honesty! Gosh we need more of it 🙂 Cheers

    June 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    • Hola Lauren!

      Woohoo! 🙂 This is why I have my blog…so I can say what I want to say! If people like it, GREAT! If not, GREAT as well, because I don’t want the majority to agree with me on everything! LOL! If that were to happen, that would surely indicate that i’m sellin’ out! Gotta keep it real!

      Yours in Health,

      June 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm

  11. Sarah,

    You say:

    It’s simple…open mouth, insert quality, clean food…move your body…drink lots of H2O…breathe…relax…repeat.

    Unfortunately, the general public finds this “information” boring…it’s not “sexy” enough…also, it requires effort…the general public is lazy…that’s why they will continue to waste their hard-earned money on crappy supplements, diet programs, and bogus exercise gadgets!

    These are some of the best words spoken by someone in the industry for a long time – so true. I am a personal trainer and I wish I could put this on every single piece of correspondence I use to get the message out there.

    The world needs to know this – the sooner the better.

    June 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    • Hey Sarge!

      Long time no see/talk! You still posting over at Super-Trainer? I’ve been slacking!
      Anyhow, thank you for your comment! I am so glad you share my feelings! I am pretty sure you get the same reaction from people when they ask you stuff like “what do I need to do to see my abs?”
      A response of:
      “eat healthy, clean, unprocessed food, don’t go overboard on alcohol, cut out your sweets, and move move move!”
      “deer in headlights” blank-stare look!
      and then, they say, “but what about so-and-so fat burner?”
      LOL! 🙂

      If it’s a friend asking me these kinds of questions, and they know i’ve got a sense of humor and can be sarcastic, i’ll usually give ’em my “you’re kidding me, right?!” look, and the conversation doesn’t go much further. If it’s someone i’ve just met and/or a new client, i’m not quite as sarcastic BUT I make my point known.

      As a disclaimer to those who may be seeking out my advice via online personal training/consulting or one-on-one/group/bootcamp training:

      “If you are convinced that there is a shortcut to improving your health and level of fitness, and this shortcut requires anything BUT hard work, consistency, and focus…then you don’t have what it takes to become one of my clients. Please find a trainer who will gladly take your money and waste your time by catering to your need for an easy way out.”

      Yours in Health,
      Sarah E. Rippel

      Wow…i’m totally putting that up as a blog post! 😀

      Good to hear from you, Sarge!

      Yours in Health,

      June 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm

  12. Achilles

    Sounds like you are still looking for magic bullet, may I quote you? “but to be honest, I didn’t “feel” anything from it…add to this the fact that I KNEW I wouldn’t “feel” anything from it. SO EVEN IF IT DID DO SOMETHING. YOU TOLD YOURSELF IT WOULDN’T! WHEN SOMEONE TOLD ME BACK IN 1985 THAT I WOULD HAVE A PRIVATE COMPUTER IN MY BED ROOM. I SAID THAT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE…I GUESS YOU WERE WRONG! OPPS I MEAN I GUESS I WAS WRONG!
    I think who? is missing the mark

    June 15, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    • Hey Achilles-

      I don’t believe in magic bullets. That was my point. As a Fitness Professional I know good and well that the “magic bullets” most people are so desperately trying to find are a complete scam! People seek ’em because they simply want an easy way out. People read or hear that “product X” can help them lose 30 pounds a week, and they cash in their retirement for a lifetime supply of the crap!

      You remind me a lot of my good buddy over at the Super-Trainer forums…he goes by the screenname “warrior”…know him? I just love your type!

      Thanks for shouting! 🙂


      June 15, 2009 at 12:45 pm

  13. Rj

    Well who believes the FDA ( FRAUD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION )?? This adm. approves drugs that kill people,please! they get paid off by big pharma! why should we rely on them for any advice.? There are acai juice companies that are legitamate, Mona Vie for example, the studies are there to back up the claims,by independent doctors and scientists,do your research, try the product for 90 days, it will change your life.Some products may work differently on different people.Mona Vie has chnaged my life. I had a chronic pain condition for the last 7 years,after drinking Mona Vie for 11 days, I was pain free, and still am, I’m off all my meds that I was taking.I feel balanced, I slep better,There is no law against people telling their testimonies.I know what it has done for friends and relatives too.Funny how people who work for other companies ,and promote other products are the first to deny everyone and everything else that comes along,Mona Vie is available in over 12 different countries,if they were illegal, they would not still be in business,They’ve done over $1 billion in sales after just 3 1/2 years, It took Microsoft over 12 years to make its first $ billion! My dog is drinking Mona Vie, it has helped his hip displaysia, and he is over 10 years old,get a life folks, go ahead drink your Vitamin water ( which has been determind to be just sugar and water recently ).so drink it, ! feel it,! share it! , Mona Vie.


    June 16, 2009 at 12:16 am

  14. Jill

    No placebo effect here. My husband did not want to think Monavie would do a darn thing for him but I force fed him because I do see and feel the benefits AND he hurt his knee at work and was scheduled for knee surgery. Long story short knee surgery was cancelled. He still fights me about the juice but the truth is that he continues to work his physical job a year after his knee surgery was cancelled. Consume Monavie for 6 months then makea decision.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

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