Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Off-topic spam blog comments - the hCG Diet Scam
When you give a speech you may be asked irrelevant questions by hecklers who have their own agendas. On a blog the equivalent is spam comments. This blog is hosted using Google Blogger, which includes a feature for detecting and diverting spam comments to a junk folder - once you tell it you want to moderate comments rather than publish every one.
The last time I checked my junk folder I was surprised to find over two dozen comments made just on July 20th. They all contained links to Canadian web sites peddling diet supplement products for the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) diet.
The day before they started spamming me I had read a long and somewhat technical post on the Science-Based Medicine blog by Scott Gavura titled The HCG Diet: Yet another ineffective quick fix diet plan and supplement. In that post he discussed how the diet had long been shown to be ineffective (and potentially dangerous), but had been popularized again in 2007 by the notorious telemarketer Kevin Trudeau in a worthless book. It also mentioned that last December the U.S. FDA had taken action to pull unapproved HCG products off the market. So, the dirty business has moved across the border to Canada.
There is an excellent, more readable two-page discussion of the diet in Myth vs. Fact - The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Diet, a downloadable fact sheet from The Hormone Foundation. I found it via some quick research on Google that led me to a blog post by a dietician.
Getting that pile of spam reminded me of a line from The Mary Ellen Carter, a song by the Canadian singer-songwriter Stan Rogers bemoaning:
“....smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go.”
The vintage SPAM can is from Wikimedia Commons.