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Liar, Liar

Don’t get fooled by a really good story, especially when it comes to your health.

Tell your story. Hear their storyWhat’s your story? Why are we telling any story?

Storytelling has been around “forever”. In recent years, the captivating engagement of a good story is being used to market products and capture attention and emotional connections with us like never before.

So what, you say? If we get so attached to a compelling story, it can influence our thinking. This can be good or weird. Weird in the sense that a great storyteller might not always get the facts just right, and from a health perspective, if we hear a story that hits close to home about a medical condition we are dealing with (or a loved one is), we can be hooked. And it might not be an actual thing that can help us, and might just take our attention away from what could actually work. Yikes.

Don’t waste a good story.

If you are the storyteller, make sure you have a point and are not being misleading.

If you are the audience, don’t get fooled by a really good story, especially when it comes to your health.

Here are a few things to look for to help make sure you aren’t getting fooled into buying or doing something that doesn’t actually help:

  1. Ask who the story teller is and what their motivation is for telling you the story. Are they really looking out for your best interest, or simply trying to make a buck?
  2. Is someone else telling you the source is shady, or have you tried to confirm this for yourself?
  3. Is it based in current science?
  4. Does it overpromise results?
  5. Is it set to emotional music like a movie where something awful is about to happen?
  6. Is it showing you pictures of people or animals suffering? Ask yourself why the person didn’t set down their camera to call the police and try to help.
  7. Does it have one or more trendy adjectives attached to the story that has nothing to do with the product or outcome? Now, some of it can be fun and done to make you smile, not cause you pain – like this silly sign that did just that – made me smile.

    seasonal adjectives to attract attention
    Photo from:

We are surrounded by choice and by lots of things and people trying to get our attention. Don’t fall for it or let it distract you from all the good people and information.

You deserve the best support and outcomes possible.

Marketing that uses health as a topic is not the same as health and well-being to actually improve your health outcomes. The best marketing (IMO) is used to highlight the truth of whatever is being marketed so you can make an informed decision. Not just to entertain you.

Oh, and storytelling? Yes, it can be an awesome way to bring the truth to life. Let’s use it for the power of good that it can have when used right.




By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.

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