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10 Myths Companies Started to Sell More Products

6. Myth: Postum, a coffee substitute, claimed that coffee was bad for health.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence behind the claims. It was just a promotional stunt.

Postum
Advertisement for Postum beverage. Image Credit: The Technical World Magazine 1910 via Wikipedia, Wikipedia

In the 1900s, a new coffee alternative was on the market introduced by C.W. Post. Known as “Postum,” it was advertised as a caffeine-free, coffee alternative.  Mark Pendergrast, the author of  Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World says, “Postum made C.W. Post a fortune, and he became a millionaire from vilifying coffee and saying how horrible it was for you. The Postum advertisers had all kinds of pseudoscientific reasons that you should stay away from coffee.” Some of the health problems caused by coffee, according to Postum, were indigestion, nerve issues, and deterioration of the kidney and heart function.

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Moreover, they also advertised that coffee should never be fed to kids as that would stunt their growth. The advertisements spread like wildfire and before anyone could oppose them, and not serving coffee to kids became ensconced in America’s culture. There was no scientific evidence, whatsoever! (source)

7. Myth: Leaded gasoline is safe.

Fact: Leaded gasoline was a cause of lead poisoning.

Leaded gasoline
Leaded gasoline was a cause of immense lead poisoning. Image Credit: Steve Snodgrass via Flickr

The concept of adding tetraethyl lead to gasoline was devised by Thomas Midgley, a chemist. He was so sure of its safety that in a demonstration, he dipped his hands in a container containing tetraethyl lead. “I’m not taking any chance whatever. Nor would I… doing that every day,” he said. So it was not a  surprise when Midgley suffered from lead poisoning.

Many workers who worked at the oil companies who began to put lead in their gasoline idea had to suffer from serious lead poisoning. At a Standard Oil plant in New Jersey, 35 of the 49 workers had to be hospitalized. Few of them even lost their lives. When General Motors first pitched the idea of adding lead to gasoline, scientists were alarmed as they were quite aware of the consequences. So, General Motors funded a government department to conduct some research which announced that lead was safe.

It took a long time for the government to build regulations around the use of lead in gasoline. It’s similar to the case of tobacco. We all know that tobacco is harmful to health but strict regulations were slow in coming. (source)

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8. Myth: Clover is a weed that should not be a part of a lawn.

Fact: Clover was branded as a weed to increase the sale of weed-killing chemicals.

Clover is not a weed
Clover is not a weed. They were branded as a weed by weed-killing chemical manufacturers. Image Credit: Pixabay

Before World War II, clover was part of a typical lawn in American households. Clover seeds were available for purchase and were added to grass mixes for their exceptional botanical qualities. In reality, clover belongs to the legume family. They have the ability to make their own nitrogen and even fix the soil. They do not require any additional nitrogen fertilizer and also supply nitrogen to nearby plants. Plus, they can exist even during droughts.

But people today do not want them on their lawns all thanks to the chemical manufacturers. After the World War II, there was the development of suburbs and the landscape professionals created an ideology around perfect lawns that consisted of only turf grasses. Moreover, people were naive towards chemical companies. So, it did not take much longer for chemical manufacturers to convince people that clover was bad. They had to be removed in order to achieve that perfect lawn. (source)

9. Myth: Toning shoes, such as Skechers Shape-Ups, helps to burn calories and tone up the body.

Fact: These shoes are not the fitness solution they claim they are.

Skechers Shape-Ups
Skechers Shape-Ups do not miraculously help to burn more calories and tone up your body. Image Credit: Daily Bruin

Toning shoes advertise themselves as the quick-and-easy fitness solutions that everyone is looking for. “Unfortunately, these shoes do not deliver the fitness or muscle-toning benefits they claim,” says a member of the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The statement was based on a study organized by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Another study was organized by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. They studied the muscle usage at different points of the body in two groups of women—one group wearing the toning shoes while the other wearing normal shoes. There was no significant difference in calories burned or muscle usage in both the groups.

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The companies that developed these kinds of shoes were able to convince people of its benefits due to the soreness caused when one first wears the toning shoes. These shoes have unstable sole designs which lead to temporary soreness. This is the reason most people feel like they have burned more calories. Also, wearing special toning shoes might motivate people to work out more, thus giving them an impression that the calories burned are a result of the shoes! (source)

10. Myth: “Water memory” is used to sell homeopathy products. The scientists claim that water can remember a substance mixed in it after the substance has been removed making the water therapeutic.

Fact: Homeopathy is completely based on placebo effect.

Homeopathy
Homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo effect. Image Credit: Bru-nO via Pixabay

Homeopathy is based on concepts that are beyond logical reasoning. This healing technique is based on a belief known as “water memory.” As the name suggests, the scientists believe that water has memory. Water has the ability to remember a substance mixed into it even after the substance has been removed. This ability makes water therapeutic. Homeopathy is entirely based on this belief. The medicine is added to water and diluted for more than 30 times. This means that there exists only one molecule of medicine in a million trillion molecules of water. How is that suppose to help one heal?

Many large-scale studies have been organized to see if homeopathy really has positive benefits. All the studies have found that it is nothing more than a placebo effect. (1, 2)

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