The Vitamin Pushers: How the ""Health Food"" Industry Is Selling America a Bill of Goods

Stephen Barrett, Author, Victor Herbert, Joint Author, Gabe Mirkin, Introduction by Prometheus Books $29.95 (548p) ISBN 978-0-87975-909-4
In a trenchant, authoritative expose based on extensive research, psychiatrist and consumer advocate Barrett, and Herbert, a professor at New York City's Mount Sinai School of Medicine, accuse the health-food industry of scaring the public into purchasing vitamins and other dietary supplements, which, they contend, are not only unnecessary but often dangerous. They cite the 1989 outbreak of a disabling disease (EMS) traced to the amino acid L-tryptophan, used as a supposed cure for multiple sclerosis, now banned by the Food and Drug Administration. The authors decry alternative medicine and debunk myths such as that mega-protein makes better athletes. They explore the role of powerful lobbies and industry associations like the National Health Alliance-which, they say, regularly defy the FDA and other government agencies-and list 30 ways to spot ``quacks and pushers.'' Also useful are some simple truths about nutrition, including advice for those on the run that a balanced meal takes no more time to prepare and eat than an unbalanced one. Illustrations. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
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