Hit or miss? products that overstate their health claims

In your search for the perfect gift for a health nut who has everything from the latest fitness tracker to bamboo workout wear, you’ll probably come across these. Our experts weigh in on whether you should buy or not.

Cooling pillow

Do you spend the whole night tossing and turning on a sweaty pillow struggling to sleep? Maybe you should try out a cooling pillow, suggests the descriptive text. There are several cooling pillows available today, ranging from those made of cooling material like bamboo fibre and aloe vera to those filled with heat-resistant cooling gel or cased with NSA-developed Phase Change Material beads.

Dr N Ramakrishnan, Director of the Chennai-based Nithra Institute of Sleep Sciences, believes that changing to a pillow of this sort does have some merit as it helps lower body temperature. “To get proper sleep, your environment needs to be optimal,” he says, adding that the pillow could be especially useful to women suffering from PMS or hot flashes, and have trouble sleeping.

Verdict: Go for it; it won’t do any harm

White-noise machine

Want to be lulled into sleep by the sound of a burbling brook, the gentle patter of rain or soft, instrumental music? Maybe you should try a white-noise machine. The device, which works by masking other distracting sounds, claims to create a restful environment for ideal sleep by blocking out other distracting sounds such as snoring, television and outdoor traffic.

Yes, it can be very useful for light sleepers: people who wake up at the slightest of noises or cannot fall asleep due to their snoring spouse, says Dr Ramakrishnan. “There is no blanket rule when it comes to devices like this. It depends on what works for the individual,” he adds.

Verdict: If it works for you, there’s no harm recommending it to a friend

A collagen supplement

Jennifer Aniston apparently chucks collagen peptide (it claims to have anti-ageing properties) into her morning smoothie. And let's be honest — Jen, at 48, looks decades younger than her actual age. So does it make sense to reach out for a drinkable collagen supplement derived from beef-bone and fish-scale to look all glowy and dewy-skinned?

Not really, says Delhi-based nutritionist, Lovneet Batra. “It is really hard to tell how an isolated nutrient is utilised by the body,” she says, pointing out that often supplements are “limited” in their functionality. “I prefer to advocate natural, whole foods. Lentils, for example, are great for skin and hair,” she says.

Verdict: Skip this one; there isn’t enough research on it just yet

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 11:44:34 PM |

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