Dec 9, 2023

The curcumin tactic

 There is enough on the planet to meet man's needs, but not enough to meet man's greed.

Greed, not just in terms of money or wealth.

Greed has crept into nutrition too, ever since we started to dissect food in terms of its nutrients.

I recently came across an ad for a "HEALTHY turmeric" brand with the marketing tagline "3X curcumin".

The ad talked about how this turmeric makes "haldi doodh" healthy.

Most of us are aware of the benefits of turmeric and we have been consuming "haldi doodh" (turmeric milk) to treat cold or running nose symptoms since childhood.

A few points to note:

  1. Does this mean that we have been drinking unhealthy haldi doodh all these years? Only by adding this brand's turmeric, does haldi doodh become healthy?
  2. The product markets itself as "organic" and 100 gms cost Rs.99. I checked for other organic turmeric brands and the price range is between Rs.45 - Rs.55 per 100 gm. This product is almost double the price and the only difference is the claim of 3X curcumin.
  3. Some of us are also aware, thanks to our increased interest in nutrition, that curcumin (inherently present in turmeric) has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  4. According to this research paper - , pure turmeric powder has the curcumin concentration, averaging 3.14% by weight.
  5. If this product claims "3X curcumin", what does this imply - 3X of what? Various adulterated turmeric powder packs are available in the market. Is this 3X with reference to such brands? Have they done a comparative study with other similar, organic turmeric brands? Why not share such results on their website for consumers to make informed decisions?
  6. As per this research paper - , curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. There could be other compounds present in turmeric (apart from curcumin) that could contribute to its healing properties. Turmeric root as a whole is beneficial, but once we start dissecting and going deeper into the individual components, it may not be easy to pinpoint if the benefits are due to ONE single component called curcumin or a combination of multiple components. As a layman, this information isn't necessary for us in the first place.

Marketing tactics focused on specific compounds are aimed at people with these 4 characteristics:

  1. Those who wouldn't mind spending an extra Rs.40-50 on turmeric powder for the benefit of their health
  2. Those who are aware of curcumin's benefits
  3. Those who are easily persuaded by the "sheer mention" of these individual nutrients
  4. Those who prefer quick-fix solutions by consuming more nutrients (rather than addressing the root cause behind inflammation)

Let's not get into the trap of nutritionism. We would only end up paying more for their expensive marketing campaigns than for anything real and substantial.

Let's stick to basics and adopt holistic lifestyle habits.

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