Health Consultant Looks for Gems Amidst Network Marketing Debris

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Most MLM health products are sold through hype by distributors who don't have the background to question the quality of the products. One health consultant believes that products ought to undergo careful scrutiny and be sold on their merits rather than through slick marketing. He points to the surest way to find a winner.

I believe that network marketing should be about the product first

Health has always been a target for easy product sales because people are willing to try anything in the hopes of feeling well. But when marketing gets its hands on a product, all too often consumers are misled.

And network marketing is no exception.

Also known as multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing represents a business opportunity in which distributors of a product must purchase the product themselves, then recommend it to others to build a team of distributors. It's been a successful model for getting many health products into the marketplace especially in recent years. But one health consultant warns that consumers have to look beyond the hype.

"Most people get caught up in the glamour of possible financial success," says Steve McCardell, a natural health consultant. "But they don't know enough about health products to understand which ones are worth promoting. I've looked at scores of MLM products, but almost none of them stand up to strict standards."

He says that most nutritional products harp on one or two key benefits, as if these alone are the key to wellness. And without the background to scrutinize the claims, consumers fail to notice the low quality of ingredients, such as reconstituted fruit juices, questionable preservatives and flavoring, and good old-fashioned sugar.

"Dark chocolate is a good example," says McCardell. "It's gotten great reviews in the media because cacao, which is used to make chocolate, is an extraordinary food. So all these companies have jumped in with what they call healthy chocolate, but almost none of the products I've found really qualify for that title."

In fact, he says that only one MLM chocolate does qualify, along with a handful of chocolates sold through retail. He explains in depth through his chocolate review website at

"I believe that network marketing should be about the product first," says McCardell. "Too many people make it about the opportunity. But then it's just a pyramid scheme. If the person at the bottom can be as happy as the person at the top, just for taking the product, then I think you have a winner."

McCardell is co-founder of the Biophysics Center and author of The Quantum Challenge, a book on alternative health.

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