Weight Loss and Diet Scams

Diet scams, weight loss gimmicks, fad supplements, and miracle pills to lose weight are rampant as obsesity in America is considered an epidemic in the United States, as about 30% of the adult U.S. population is considered to be medically obese (meaning 30% or more  their weight is fat). Without being a doctor, physiologist or fitness trainer, here is the skinny on how to easily recognize the diet and weight-loss scams.

Look for these scam claims as a clear warning iof a scam.  But while some scammers use this language word for word, any variation that implies the same thing is also a scam. Click on the links for a detailed explanation of each fradulent claim.

  1. Lose weight without diet or exercise!
  2. Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods!
  3. Lose weight permanently! Never diet again!
  4. Just take a pill to lose weight
  5. Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!
    Losing weight at the rate of a pound or two a week is the most effective way to take it off and keep it off. At best, products promising lightning-fast weight loss are a scam. At worst, they can ruin your health.
  6. Everybody will lose weight!
    Your habits and health concerns are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all product guaranteed to work for everyone. Team up with your health care provider to design a nutrition and exercise program suited to your lifestyle and metabolism.
  7. Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream!
    Youíve seen the ads for diet patches or creams that claim to melt away the pounds. Donít believe them. Thereís nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight.


1. Lose weight without dieting or exercise

Real, substantial weight loss requires taking in fewer calories than you use. Itís that simple. While you may know someone who has a thyroid condition, they are actually quite rare (Hypothyroidism affects 3-10% percent of adults, with a higher incidence in women and the elderly). And the nonsense about "set points" or "I still gain weight even when I don't eat!" makes any doctor, scientist or rational persons head explode.

But itís also true that it can be difficult for people trying to lose weight.  It takes willpower and dedicated prolonged effort.  As that promise substantial weight loss without diet or exercise are false. And ads suggesting that users can lose weight fast without changing their lifestyles - even without mentioning a specific amount of weight or length of time - are false, too. Some ads might try a subtler approach, say, by referring to change in dress size or lost inches, but the effect is the same. Thatís why these variations on that claim should fail your sanity test:

"I lost 30 pounds in 30 days - and still ate all my favorite foods."
"Lose up to 2 pounds a day without diet or exercise."
"Drop four dress sizes in just a month without changing your eating habits or enduring back-breaking trips to the gym.
"Finally thereís FatFoe, an all-natural weight loss compound so powerful, so effective, so relentless in its awesome attack on bulging fatty deposits that it eliminates the need to diet." (Next to the consumer endorsement, "I lost 36 pounds in 5 short weeks.")

For example, they may claim a product "helps consumers lose substantial weight without diet or exercise" or that people can take off "up to three pounds a week for a month or more." One pound of fat is about 1,500 kcal, the equivalent of about 5 or 6 candy bars.

Let's get real. Even if youíre successful in taking weight off, permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes. Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that thereís simply no magic way to lose weight without diet or exercise. Even pills approved by FDA to block the absorption of fat or help you eat less and feel full are to be taken with a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular exercise. Donít trust any product that promises once-and-for-all results without ongoing maintenance.

2. Eat as much as you like and still lose weight

Gut check. Itís impossible to eat unlimited amounts of food - any kind of food - and still lose weight. Itís a matter of science: To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. To achieve success, dieters have to put the brakes on at the dinner table. If an ad says users can eat any amount of any kind of food they want and still lose weight, the claim is false. Thatís why these variations on that claim should fail your gut check:

"Need to lose 20, 30, 40 pounds or more? Eat your fill of all the foods you crave and watch the weight disappear!
"Who needs rabbit food? Enjoy any mouth-watering foods you want anytime you want, and blast away dress sizes and belt notches."
"This revolutionary product lets you enjoy all your favorites - hamburgers, fries, pasta, sausage, and even gooey desserts - and still lose weight. One FatFoe tablet before meals does the work for you and youíll lose all the weight you want."

The bottom line: You really ARE eating too much!

Don;'t take our word for it..  Do the math yourself.  Here's what the authorities agree.

Daily Calorie Recommendations, Men
The amount of calories men require each day varies based on their age and activity level. Calorie recommendations decrease with age. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends men consume 2,000 to 2,600 calories if theyíre sedentary, 2,200 to 2,800 calories if theyíre moderately active and 2,400 to 3,000 calories per day if they are active.

Daily Calorie Recommendations, Women
Because women generally have a smaller frame and less lean body mass than men, they usually require fewer calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends women consume 1,600 to 2,000 calories if they are sedentary, 1,800 to 2,200 calories if theyíre moderately active and 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day if they are active.

And exercising too little!

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (running and aerobic classes, etc.) a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Do at least 1 set of each exercise, with a weight or resistance heavy enough to tire your muscles to exhaustion after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

In general, you need at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Of course, if you are trying to lose weight; you will need to exercise more!

3. Causes permanent weight loss even after you stop taking the product

The truth is you must make long-term lifestyle changes, like continuing to make sensible food choices and increasing your the activity level . Weight loss wonít last once consumers stop using the product. Even if dieters succeed in dropping pounds, maintaining weight loss requires lifelong effort. Thatís why these variations on that claim should fal;ert you to a scam:

"Take it off and keep it off. Kiss dieting goodbye forever."
"Thousands of people have used FatFoe and kept the weight off for good."
"Itís not another weight loss gimmick. Itís a unique metabolism accelerator that changes how your body burns fat. Why settle for temporary weight loss when you can get rid of those flabby thighs and that unsightly muffin top once and for all."
"No more yo-yo dieting. Eat more. Weigh less. And finally - yes, finally - stay slim for the rest of your life."

4. Take a pill to block absorption of fat or calories

Again, without lifestyle changes, even if this junk really did work, no over-the-counter product can block enough fat or calories to cause the loss of lots of weight. To work, even the fewer prescription legitimate "fat blockers" must be used with a reduced-calorie diet. Sorry, but get this fact once and for all: thereís no miracle ingredient for fast and easy weight loss. And the FDA doesnít evaluate or review dietary supplements (which may contain drugs, impurities or other unhealthy contaminants)  for effectiveness before they go on the market. Thatís why these variations on that claim should also warn you of a scam:

"Super Fattblocker Formula is an energized enzyme that can absorb up to 900 times its own weight in fat. Relax and enjoy rich favorites like ice cream, butter, and cheese, confident that youíll still blast off up to 5 pounds per week - or more!"
"Take a StarchBloxIt tablet before meals. It dissolves into a gel that absorbs excess sugars and carbs, preventing them from forming body fat. Eat what you want and still lose weight."
"Block fat before your body absorbs it. The pounds and inches will melt away."

5. Lose a 15 lbs in 15 days!

Cliams like "Safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks" should warn you to a scam. Notice that  several of the claims refer to "substantial weight loss"  or "a lot of weight" and includes weight loss of 1 lb or more per week for more than four weeks or a total weight loss of more than 15 pounds in any time period. But as the examples illustrate, advertisers can convey that "substantial weight loss" message without using specific numbers. Substantial weight loss can be suggested by reference to dress size, inches, or body fat.)

Medical experts agree: Losing more than three pounds a week over multiple weeks can result in gallstones and other health complications. So if an ad says dieters can safely and quickly lose a dramatic amount of weight on their own, itís false. Keep in mind that each pound is about 1,500 calories, and your body probably only needs 1,500 to 2,000 per day - even if you were active!

More scam claims:

"Take off up to 10 pounds a week safely and effectively. Imagine looking into the mirror two months from now and seeing a slim reflection."
"Even if you have 40, 50, 60 or more pounds to lose, doctors recommend Fat Foe as the no-risk way to blast off the weight and inches in a few short months. Just in time for bikini season or that class reunion."

6. Proven results: everyone loses weight!

Everyone's metabolisms and lifestyles are different. So is how theyíll respond to any particular weight loss product. No product, food, or gimmick will cause every user to drop a substantial amount of weight. Any ad that makes a universal promise of success is false. Thatís why these variations on a claim should alert you to a scam:

"Lose excess body fat. You canít fail because no will power is required."
"Lose 10-15-20 pounds. Gelaslim works for everyone, no matter how many times youíve tried and failed."
"FatFoe is guaranteed to work for you. Melt away the pounds regardless of your body type or size."
"Maybe you want to drop a dress size before that get-together next month or perhaps you need to take off 50 pounds or more. Your search for a weight loss miracle is over. Weíve found the diet supplement guaranteed to work 100% of the time - regardless of how much you want to lose."

7. Lose weight by rubbing on an ointment or wearing a patch or device

Weight loss is a simple energy balanace equation and an internal metabolic process. Nothing you wear or apply to the skin can cause substantial weight loss. So weight loss claims for patches, creams, lotions, wraps, body belts, earrings, and the like are false. Thereís simply no way products like that can live up to what the ads say. More variations of the fake claims::

"Ancient healers knew that a metabolism-boosting energy current runs from the earlobe to the stomach, making it easy to shed 30, 40, even 50 pounds. Thatís the secret behind our Dieterís Earrings. Why starve yourself when an attractive piece of fashion jewelry can do the weight loss work for you?"
"Rub Melt-X Gel into your problem areas and watch the active ingredient penetrate the skin layers to melt fat at the cellular level. Use Melt-X around your mid-section to whittle a contoured, streamlined waist. Youíll melt away 20 pounds in just a month."
"Slink into those skinny jeans in no time. Our patent-pending body wrap will increase the metabolism around your hips to burn fat faster. Youíll lose 2-3 pounds per week just by wearing the body wrap while relaxing. Blast off 25 pounds in 8 short weeks."
Ready to test your gut reactions? Take this quiz featuring the kinds of claims advertisers may want to run on your station or in your publication. Are the representations plausible or do they have the telltale signs of a bogus "gut check" claim?

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