Here’s a list I put together detailing the claims for the positive health aspects and even curative powers of bone broth. It took no more than five minutes to gather these from the first two pages of Amazon book search results for bone broth (more on the fingernails-on-blackboard sound of that phrase in a moment):
- “It is packed with amino acids which are known to improve various areas of health”
- “Use it for curing several medical conditions”
- “Reverse grey hair”
- “Bring back morning wood”
- “Improves quality of sleep”
- “Assists with the joints, the skin, hair, nails, and more”
- “Fight aging”
- “Boost beauty”
- “Reduce acne-causing inflammation”
- “Fight infections”
- “Prevent degenerative diseases”
- “Heal a ‘leaky’ gut”
- “Natural cure for tooth decay”+
- “Provides benefits for gas and bloating; reflux, heartburn, and GERD [um, GERD is reflux]; maldigestion of protein and carbohydrates; arthritis and joint pain; muscle aches and spasms; osteoporosis and osteopenia; allergies and food sensitivities; autoimmune diseases such as celiac, diabetes, Crohn’s, and multiple sclerosis”*
Gosh, from the looks of it, maybe bone broth is miraculous. Well, you can’t deny that to certain people’s bank accounts, it is.
Some of the supposed health benefits are related to problems that can occur in the malnourished, which is most decidedly not a problem many of their cash-heavy target audience have ever experienced.
Besides driving me to to the verge of irritation – which a lot of things do, so that’s nothing special – the chief problem I have with this trend is that I’ve always known broth to be prepared with meat and stock to be produced from bones. These books are talking bones, not flesh. Saying ‘bone broth’ is like saying ‘flaky cake crust’. Make up your mind: Call it stock, already a wonderful thing, or make it differently and call it broth. People who say it’s not the same as stock because it’s a lengthier process or adds seasoning haven’t read many stock recipes. Peddle your poorly-rationalised neologisms elsewhere.
+A fine of not less than US$5,000 for this author if I ran things because you cannot cure tooth decay by eating more calcium any more than you can cure a broken leg by not falling out of a tree again after you’ve fallen out of a tree and broken your leg. The world doesn’t work that way. Lotteries would be pointless if it did.
*Six months jail time for this author, with a two-year probationary period after release wearing an “I take advantage of the weak and infirm” signboard for sixteen hours each weekend at a local mall or other crowded venue. He’s still one level better than some, though.
Postscript: It just occurred to me that this post reads something like a Mike Pesca spiel. I don’t think my writing’s changed, but since Pesca was featured on This American Life several months ago, I have listened to every one of The Gist podcasts all the way back to the beginning and through last night. So maybe he has influenced me; that’s not a bad thing.
Do you work for L’Oréal?
No. I’m intrigued, though: Why do you ask?
oops ! Just saw this.
What about the “live” vinegar claims ? That one has a long tail if ever I saw one.
Hadn’t heard of live vinegar before, now sorry I have. The first page I read after a search for benefits of live vinegar said: “Live vinegar then is quite good for your your probiotic organisms and I recommend it for your health. It helps break down food if you take it with meals, lowers blood sugar spikes, metabolize fat, makes magnesium available for cramps and can be a great live food.”
Sounds fab*, but why does the already highly corrosive gastric acid need a boost from, say, 20 or 30 ml of vinegar, exactly?
Also, my recollection is that vinegar and magnesium produce hydrogen, not something that I think I or my nebulous probiotics need a lot of. I would stay away from open flame if I were to combine them.
My spelling dictionary says “probiotic” isn’t a word. Funny that.
*Fab as in the 3rd or so meaning of fabulous: having no basis in reality; mythical.