Last weekend (before the floods) the Fit One and I took part in the 2011 Resolution Run. I walked 5km and she ran 10km in the rain. We started together and I finished a few minutes before she did; which I say means I won.
During the entire event I only counted 3 magic hologram wristbands. This is a huge improvement on most events, where you see loads of them. I was saddened to see a very obese lady who was putting in a huge effort doing a 10km walk and wearing a magic hologram. Having seen the Fit One battle obesity, I have an idea of the emotional and physical torment she was probably going through. Some schmuck has taken advantage of her, probably taken $60plus out of her pocket and given her false hope. She could have better spent that money on joining a weight loss group, good nutrition or a pedicure. At lease there were no magic holograms for sale at this event. Not a single brand was represented. HOORAH!. For a moment I wished I had a stand selling Placebo Bands; a bit of money could have been raised for charity and spread the message of critical thinking. All up, the event was well organised and everyone seemed to be having a great time... until I got to the finish line.
And Then There Was Magic Water....
As I hobbled across the finish, I was handed a bottle of Aqua Essence Water (http://www.aquaessence.com.au). That was nice, I was thirsty. At face value, it seams to be as good a product as any other spring water. Even better it is packaged into nifty "bottles" that they say use 70% less plastic than a regular bottle and are recyclable. Very good. The problem is when you read the other claims on the package under the heading "key health benefits " It's natural Alkaline levels (pH 7.8) ensure superior hydration, providing you with a blend of healthy minerals to fight diseases and slow down the ageing process." Sure, right. No credible evidence for this is provided on the packaging or the companies web site. On the web site, you can down load a pdf "fact" sheet on water pH (http://www.aquaessence.com.au/softpack/waterph.pdf). This sheet is gibberish. Any one with the most basic understanding of pH will see these guys have no idea. The big error, oxygen levels are not related to pH. Water with lots of Hydrogen (one H of H2O) or lots of Hydroxide (another H and the O in H2O) does not equal high levels of oxygen. Temperature, air pressure, salinity, and B.O.D among others have a far greater effect on oxygen levels than pH. The info sheet also uses words and phrases including energy production, detoxify heavy metals, tumor cells thrive, fatigue, illness, stress, toxic overload and immune reactions. This is all sounds very science, though I suggest it is mostly meaningless.
The company states the product has a pH of 7.8. I have not bothered to test the pH, I doubt it really matters. The idea that a moderate pH of 7.8 will have any effect on the body after it meets pH of 4.0 in the stomach is doubtful at best. pH of 4.0 is as acid as pH 9.0 is alkaline. pH 7.8 will be quickly reduced to pH of 4.0 in the stomach. Brisbane tap water routinely has a pH of 7.8 plus (I have lost count of the times I have tested tap water). When I was living in Canberra, the pH was usually even higher. No need to buy magic water for an alkaline drink, tap water so much cheaper. Any decent pool shop or pet shop should be able to tell you the pH of your tap water.
Buying Aqua Essence water for its supposed health benefits is a total waste of money. I believe this company is falsely advertising its product as having properties that are dubious at best. Shame on you Aqua Essence.
And Then More Magic Holograms....
While waiting for the Fit One to finish her run I observed the prizes being awarded to the winners of the races. Each place getter was presented with a free Power Balance Pack...... my heart sank. The announcer guy happily called out each winner and every time thanked Power Balance for sponsoring the event. As a wise man once said “This turd won't flush”. Power Balance should get the idea and quietly sneak away with their ill gotten gains.
Resolution Run Organisers, You Are Not Off The Hook...
I get that greedy individuals and companies (such as Power Balance and Aqua Essence) want to make a quick buck by resorting to Woo Woo. However, the Resolution Run web site (http://www.resolutionrun.com.au/) talks about helping Australian's get fit and healthy. I understand that an event like this needs to have sponsors and that products that promote health and well being are the obvious match. However, the organisers need to vet their sponsors to ensure the products that are being promoted are genuine and live up to expectations. By accepting these sponsors they are promoting these products to a great number of people who may be looking for any product that looks like it might help. Morally the organisers have a duty to investigate those products. After the race I had a very breif chat with the announcer guy. I asked if he was aware of the ACCC news regarding Power Balance. He replied that they were, but they were already locked into the sponsorship and that Power Balance would not be used as a sponsor again. I suggested that some research was warranted before accepting a new sponsor. He replied that they did research and Power Balance seamed credible. I suggested that if they did a Google search they would have quickly found loads of information from skeptics that would have alerted them to the mis-information Power Balance provided. The announcer guy just looked at me funny. I thanked him and went on my way. This event was otherwise well organised and run very professionally, so I see no excuse for not doing some simple research on the sponsors.
Aqua Essence Water: FAIL
Power Balance: FAIL (as usual)
Resolution Run: FAIL
Thanks for reading!