Glossy_Tv_clip_art_hightIn yesterday’s post, The Caregiver Series : Lessons From JJ Virgin, I shared my initial reluctance to listen to a woman who had a flashy new “diet” book on the market and then my surprise when her information turned out to be really solid and well-grounded.  She may be flashy but there’s a heckuva lot of substance underneath all that.  I look forward to exploring her work more.

One of the most interesting and enlightening moments in the podcast (Balanced Bites #76) involved the media.  JJ makes reference to two situations where her desire to tell the truth about what she has discovered works / doesn’t work for her clients was essentially censored by television producers.

The first instance involved a weight-loss reality show with which she was involved.  I would love to quote her precisely, but the podcast isn’t transcripted so you will have to work with my paraphrase.  JJ said something along the lines of, “They had a guy in a headset following me around to make sure I didn’t say something to offend the sponsors.”  Case-in-point: she referred negatively to a well-known, commercially marketed cookie, and was told she couldn’t say that on the air.

The second instance involved her appearance on The Rachel Ray Show.  Evidently, she made disparaging remarks about milk and had to redo that part of the segment to edit out her comments.

Her takeaway?  When she sought to produce a show on the information she wanted to offer the public, she opted for the non-commercial PBS route.

Her message to the Balanced Bites audience was that you need to be skeptical when watching commercial television because the “truth” about nutrition is being blunted by the need for advertising revenue.

This part of the podcast lasted maybe two minutes, but above all else that was said, this has stuck with me.  JJ provides a peek behind the Wizard’s curtain, no?  We simply cannot know how many times an “expert” on television has had his or her voice stifled or muted because ad dollars were at stake.  On the flip side, we cannot know how many positive messages have made their way to the airwaves for the same reasons.

When we read fitness and nutrition information in magazines or watch “health”-oriented shows on television, we simply must do so with an extra dose of skepticism and a good amount of common sense.

I do not begrudge those in media for trying to make revenue, let’s be clear about that.  I just think anecdotes like JJ’s are good reminders that we need to be extremely careful about where we obtain our information about health and wellness.

One Response to “Being Skeptical Consumers : More Good Stuff from JJ Virgin”

  1. on 31 Mar 2013 at 10:23 amcarmen

    I agree 100%. I am always skeptical!

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