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Is Health Science Even a Science?

Updated on April 23, 2016

You wake up late in the morning on a Saturday, and like most millennials you don't get up until after half an hour of browsing social media on your phone. You log on to Facebook, and after scrolling down most of the kind of posts your friends made last night while they were out on a Friday night YOLO-ing, you finally come across a link to an article that says something like 'Here are 10 Benefits of (Insert Magical Food/Fruit/Trendy Exercise here) that You're Missing Out On.' And you go to that link hoping that today, for once in your life, you finally do something beneficial for your body that'll ultimately lead you to the path of a Hollywood-star's body.

You enjoy reading the article, stumbling upon a revelation here and there and some 'woah-really?' moments but the rest of the article's just some of those mainstream and overused ideas that you could've read at some other 'health science' article. And of course don't forget that advertisement on the side of the article that promotes food supplements/an energy drink/another health science article. If you finished the entire article, you'll of course find some other recommended articles at the bottom of the page.

Most 'Health Science' articles are written this way, and most of the content is rubbish. And I don't care if it's some prestigious medical journal that's been cited on the article as their credibility blanket and I don't care if it's some trustworthy figure like a doctor or a famous actress that's been backing the claims - health science is trash. To give you a little introduction, check out this article about a guy who claimed that eating chocolate could make you slimmer:

When I read that article a few months ago, I finally had this moment where I was convinced that most of the things they put on your feed on social media about health tips and other dietary tips are really just aimed at marketing. Every now and then a trendy exercise comes up that attracts a lot of followers but most of the time the new types of exercises they show around are just derivatives of other simple exercises. Maybe people are just too bored with conventional exercises? Or maybe these new trendy exercises just wanna selll.

Every now and then I stumble upon someone I know showing me or telling me about an article about the benefits of eating 'blah-blah' on an empty stomach and there are also those types of people who encourage exercise but simply just walk on a treadmill when I see them at the gym. Some people are hypocrites, yes, and some people are too easily convinced with the kind of articles that spring up on Facebook.

I'm not saying that lemon water doesn't work or exercising a lot doesn't make you smarter, I just think that we really need to change the way Health Science is being perceived and received by the mainstream. Not-so-popular journals can accept your 'scientific paper' because this not-so-popular journal wants to become popular itself by releasing into the mainstream some kind of headline that sounds like 'Here is Proof that Staying in bed longer in the morning can help lower your Cholesterol levels.'

There has to be better regulation at what comes up every so often. Even credible, trustworthy journalists, if paid enough money can write some juicy articles that too-good-to-be-true but are backed with a shit load of data, surveys and experiments. I kind of wish Health Science was studied like Physics is today - I wish it was just a whole compound of scientists on their computers studying a large particle collider. Real Science is slow and sure. That's how you arrive to the truth - by giving maximum effort to disprove yourself.


I'm a huge fan of John Oliver's show Last Week Tonight and the show is a comedic exposition of a huge variety of issues from municipal violations, Donald Trump and yes, health science. there hasn't exactly been an episode targeted on health science but there were already two episodes about the famous 'Doctor Oz' show that dominates American television. It's about Dr. Oz and his bold claims about a certain food supplement or anything that makes you slimmer or healthier. I don't hate Dr. Oz or the show itself because I think it's a very good marketing platform. Well anyway, check out these two Last Week Tonight episodes where they dive deep into Dr. Oz:

I feel sad about society as a whole. I think we're taken advantage of pharmaceutical companies, and these articles on health science and the whole 'health science' thing is one of its platforms. I won't judge you if you stumble across an article on the internet about the benefits of yoga or eating a banana at least once a day. It's just that these days, I'd rather trust some 95-year old living high up in the mountains with health tips rather than the kind of information they spread around these days.

And let's not forget to mention men at their late 80's walking around bare naked on the streets. If you ask these guys what their secret to long life was they'll answer you with one word - 'KULAFU.'


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      Nonqaba waka Msimang 20 months ago from Canada

      Thanks for the article. We have really become internet animals and everybody seems to be a health expert.