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Scientific American

Cures and Cons

published March 2006 | comments (1)
Natural scams “he” doesn’t want you to know about
magazine cover

Up to 139 times in one week, Kevin Trudeau pitches late-night viewers about his self-published book, Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About, a rambling farrago of uninformed opinions, conspiracy theories, and cheeky jabs at medical, pharmaceutical and governmental authorities (“they”). The book is so risibly ridiculous that even the most desperately ill would not take it seriously — would they?

Apparently they would, to the tune of millions of copies sold, elevating the book to the New York Times best-seller list. If readers had purchased Trudeau’s Mega Memory System, perhaps they would have remembered that he spent two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to credit-card fraud and that the Federal Trade Commission banned Trudeau “from appearing in, producing, or disseminating future infomercials that advertise any type of product, service, or program to the public, except for truthful infomercials for informational publications. In addition, Trudeau cannot make disease or health benefits claims for any type of product, service, or program in any advertising, including print, radio, Internet, television, and direct mail solicitations, regardless of the format and duration.” Trudeau had to pay $500,000 in consumer redress for his bogus infomercials and another $2 million to settle charges against him for claiming that coral calcium cures cancer (it doesn’t) and that an analgesic product called Biotape permanently relieves pain (it doesn’t).

Amazingly, Natural Cures is exempt from this injunction. “Books are fully protected speech. He can author a book and voice his opinions,” says Heather Hippsley, assistant director for the division of advertising practices at the FTC who investigated Trudeau’s infomercials, “The line is: Informational materials, OK. Products and services, banned.”

So Trudeau is free to dole out in print such opinions as these: “Medical science has absolutely, 100 percent, failed in the curing and prevention of illness, sickness, and disease.” (Smallpox is not a disease?) “Get all metal out of your dental work.” (Won’t this help the medical cartel?) “Sun block has been shown to cause cancer.” (References?) “Don’t drink tap water.” (Wrong: studies show it is as safe as bottled water.) “Animals in the wild never get sick.” (No need to worry about avian influenza.) “Get 15 colonics in 30 days.” (Can I bring a friend?) “Wear white. The closer you get to white, the more positive energy you bring into your energetic field.” (Why is Trudeau wearing all black on the book cover?) “Stop taking nonprescription and prescription drugs.” (Including insulin for diabetes?) “This includes vaccines.” (Welcome back, polio.) “Have sex.” (Without prescription Viagra?)

This 600-page medical advice book contains no index, no bibliography and no references. In their stead are testimonials for the audio edition and a sequel in the works about “weight loss secrets ‘they’ don’t want you to know about.” As for the “natural cures” themselves, some are not cures at all but just obvious healthy lifestyle suggestions: eat less, exercise more, reduce stress. Some of the natural cures are flat-out wrong, such as oral chelation for heart disease, whereas others are laughably ludicrous, such as a magnetic mattress pad and crocodile protein peptide for fibromyalgia. Worst of all are the natural cures that the book directs the reader to Trudeau’s Web page to find. When you go there, however, and click on a disease to get the cure, you first have to become a Web site member at $499 lifetime or $9.95 a month. It is a classic con man’s combo: bait and switch (the book directs them to the Web page) and double-dipping (sell them the book, then sell them the membership).

Why don’t “they” want you to know about these natural cures? “Money and Power,” Trudeau says. “Most people have no idea just how powerful a motivating force money and power can be.” Kevin Trudeau certainly does, and this book is a testimony to that fact.

There is one lesson that I gleaned from this otherwise feckless author, well expressed in an old Japanese proverb: “Baka ni tsukuru kusuri wa nai desu” — “There is no medicine that cures stupidity.” Domo arigato, Mr. Trudeau.

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One Comment to “Cures and Cons”

  1. DeLisha Says:

    If the government has nothing to hide then why do they go after Kevin Trudeau? His books are not harmful to anyone so why not just leave him alone? The only conclusion that I can come up with is that he must be telling us something they don’t want us to know…..right? He only references his website to get the full description of the cure because he is forbidden to put it in his book. I am just amazed at how many people do mot realize how bad our food and medications are. One would like to think that our govermnemt has our best intrest at heart but the reality is that they don’t……(In my opinion!)

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