In the New York Times today, Stephanie Rosenbloom discusses a recent onslaught of edible and drinkable cosmetics in her article “Beauty By the Bite.” One such product is io Beauty Booster, the creation of Australian makeup artist Sue Devitt and Miss Universe dietition Tanya Zuckerbrot. Devitt claims she “noticed her skin was more luminous after snacking on goji berries, raspberries and wild blackberries at a friend’s farm.” So the two concocted an elixir “loaded with antioxidants and minerals” and designed to improve the skin. Rosenbloom writes that the mix “tastes sweet,” but she also notes that the potion is sugar-free and calorie-free.
Too good to be true?
No matter what benefit you might take from the antioxidants and minerals, if this potion tastes SWEET and has zero calories, I don’t have to look at the ingredients to know that there is something sinister lurking in it.
Technically, the first artificial sweetener was lead acetate, which caused lead poisoning. In more recent American history, the first artificial sweetner was saccharine, one of Monsanto’s earliest products. The historical pattern of artificial sugars is this: The artificial sugar is introduced, touted as safe, backed by a powerful biotechnology corporation or food manufacturer (Monsanto, Coca-Cola, etc.), and slap-dashedly approved by the FDA. Further studies link the sweetener to cancer and public outcry ensues. Just when concern reaches a crescendo and sales of the sweetener slow, a new artificial sweetener emerges, and the cycle continues.
So what is in Devitt’s and Zuckerbrott’s health elixir? Is it aspartame? Sucralose? Acesulfame-K? Neotame? Saccharin?
A quote from Zuckerbrot: “Juices have a ton of calories… Who wants to sacrifice their behind for their face?” Even if Zuckerbrot’s potion did magically work, I would ask the question: “Who wants to risk an internal organ tumor for their face?”
But these elixirs and potions don’t work. The best liquid you can put in your body is free: water.
Hydration — that is, water — is the single most important catalyst for improving your health. Rosenbloom quotes Dr. Wahida Karmally, director of nutrition at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia: “If you are adequately hydrated, skin looks moist and healthy [because] water will carry the nutrients from foods to the body tissues and organs to keep them healthy.”
Bingo. Save your money, save your body, drink water. Don’t believe me? Try this special offer for free: Drink 8 glasses of water every day for one week and see if you feel the difference!
Photo Credit: Tony Cenicola, Erin Baiano, and William P. O’Donnell for the New York Times.