September 4th, 2006
Someone working for a berry distributor got very lucky in the press today. With amazing claims about its properties, the ‘goji’ berry has been promoted in many UK newspapers.
Apparently the berry will boost sex, reduce wrinkles, promote weight loss, fight cellulite, boost the immune system, ward off infections and combat cancer. Wow.
Sales have already boomed in the US we are told, and the berry has been dubbed ‘natural viagra’ (presumably by the people who want us to buy it).
Apparently it tastes like a cross between a cherry and a cranberry and a high street supermarket (who were probably behind this story) will be stocking it shortly.
This ‘superfruit’ joins the ranks of blueberries and blackberries that have also had astonishing claims made about their properties of late. We’ve also been told that bananas and strawberries boost our sex lives, and one women’s magazine also recently ran a special feature that stated beetroot would restore desire.
The goji berry story has done two things. Firstly it’s misrepresented yet again what Viagra does, which no doubt Pfizer will be delighted about. The press coverage has claimed the new ‘superfruit’ boosts your sex drive and is therefore a ‘natural viagra’. Yet Viagra does not boost your sex drive – and advertising standards bodies have had to take legal action when the drug has been promoted in such a way. All it does is increase blood flow to the penis – it’s a drug for men with chronic medical conditions (although it’s increasingly marketed as a ‘lifestyle’ product). It doesn’t increase sex drive, size or stamina – and nor does it make you a better lover. However this fruit-loop story has reinforced all these incorrect ideas.
The second thing this story has done is to imply if you have a berry you’ll boost your sex drive. That’s simply not true (although the regular presentation of this angle in the press would have you believe otherwise). If your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals then you will become unhealthy and the more unhealthy you are the less likely it is that you’ll feel like having sex. Simply eating some berries isn’t going to make any difference if your diet is poor, if you don’t exercise, or if your relationship is in trouble. Yet in our ‘quick fix’ society we’re so desperate not to have to talk about not wanting sex and so keen to live up to unrealistic sexpectations that people can be easily persuaded that eating some berries will be enough to sort out their sex lives.
Worryingly this kind of advice leads to people also assuming if they eat lots of a product then they’ll maximise the benefit – but that’s also nonsense. With fruit it’s likely all that will happen if you overindulge is you’ll end up spending a lot of your time on the loo. But overeating some foods believed to boost strength, stamina or sex drive could be dangerous.
By all means enjoy any berries you wish, but in order to see any benefits to your well-being you should be aiming at an overall healthy lifestyle – cut out the smoking, increase the amount of regular exercise you take, reduce your alcohol intake and eat a healthy and balanced diet. Sadly this message is always seen as ‘boring’ by the media who prefer encouraging us on berry binges.
Of course this story will do the rounds and will end up in magazine features in a few month’s time. The public will believe the berry is indeed a ‘superfruit’ and may attribute mythical properties to it. Of course it will sell, and who knows? the placebo effect may make people think their sex lives have been transformed.
When one TV show suggested that pumpkin seeds would boost your sex drives sales went through the roof immediately after – so it’s clear to supermarkets and other food stockists that combining food with sex makes for increased headlines, free advertising, and plenty of sales.
But you have to wonder why the publicity and press have gone with the ‘natural viagra’ angle here when this little berry is supposedly blessed with so many curative properties? Could it be that if claims of curing cancer were made too strongly that medics and charities would complain and possibly take action against the media? Perhaps it’s fair game to use the sex angle since most of the public and the press are desperate enough to believe these unrealistic claims.Tweet