We Are Sunshine

Real Simple is Really in the Dark

Monday, April 26th, 2010

2010-04-26 Real Stupid copyReal Simple magazine proved that it doesn’t understand vitamin D at all in its recent article, “Easy Does It: Making Sense of Moderation” in which the magazine urged its readers not to get vitamin D from the sun.

“Sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which may protect against breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and colon cancer. However, prolonged exposure can lead to deadly skin cancers,” Real Simple writer Daphne Howland wrote. The article then offered this as the solution — which Real Simple called ‘The Middle Ground’: “It’s crucial to avoid unprotected sun exposure, regardless of its vitamin D benefits. Rely on a supplement for your daily 1,000 IU of vitamin D, and always wear SPF 30 on your face and body. Yes, in some cases abstinence is the surest path to moderation.”

(1) Real Simple’s advice is unnatural. Sunlight doesn’t just “help” your body make vitamin D, it is THE way your body is supposed to make vitamin D — which is why ‘D’ should really just be called “The Sunlight Hormone.” What’s more, there’s no evidence that 1,000 IU of vitamin D without sun exposure will give you the vitamin D you need.

(2) Telling readers to always wear SPF 30 on your face and body is misbranding sunscreen — a product that is only supposed to be worn to prevent sunburn. Telling anyone to wear sunscreen all the time is telling them to over-use a product with toxins

(3) Real Simple should have disclosed that its advice benefits its SPF advertisers, whose ads appear throughout the magazine.

(4) It’s odd that Real Simple referred to skin cancer as “deadly skin cancer” but didn’t use similar language to refer to breast cancer, which kills dozens of times more women annually.

“Telling people to stay out of the sun to avoid skin cancer is akin to telling people to avoid water to prevent drowning — it’s a misrepresentation of the intended relationship we have with sunlight. Real Simple should be teaching sunburn prevention — not sun abstinence.”

The Bottom Line: Real Simple is really in the dark on this one. Real stupid.