Weight Loss Scams: A Big Business
Weight Loss Scams: A Big Business

Weight Loss Scams: A Big Business

Millions of people every year look for quick ways to lose weight.  Some are legitimate but the majority of the products and advertisements are a gigantic scam.  Things like “lose 10 pounds in 10 days” and “melt away fat as you sleep” or “eat as much as you want and still lose weight” should be big warning signs for the consumer.  It is a safe bet that anything promising quick results without any effort means that your wallet not your body will be lighter.  Phony weight loss products that claim to burn, melt, and flush your system have flooded the multi-billion dollar weight loss market.

These scams promise weight loss for little or no effort.  The scam may involve an unusual or restrictive diet, revolutionary exercise or fat-busting devices, or products such as pills, patches, or creams.  Often, attractive people or celebrities are used to sell the products.  These may be people with a different body shape and metabolism to you and who use the product in conjunction with an exercise regime and strict diet.  At best fad diets and products might result in a temporary weight loss in the short term and can be dangerous if followed over a longer period.  Unless a person develops and maintains a better diet and physical activity habit, any weight loss which is often water or muscle rather than fat will soon return.

Common weight loss scams include: weight-loss patches, fat blockers, starch blockers, magnet diet pills, electrical muscle stimulators, appetite suppressing eyeglasses or magic weight loss earrings.  Consumers should avoid all products that cause weight loss of 2 pounds or more a week for a month without diet or exercise; cause substantial weight loss no matter what or how much you eat; cause permanent weight loss even when you stop using the product; or cause substantial weight loss by wearing it on your body or rubbing it into your skin.  Not only do these products not live up to their claims, they can cause serious harm.  These products are not legal dietary supplements.  Many are actually very powerful drugs masquerading as “all natural or herbal supplements.”  The FDA has also found other prescription drug ingredients in weight loss products that have been removed from the market or never approved at all.

The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to exercise regularly and take in fewer calories than you burn.  If you think the weight loss product or scheme may be worth considering, you should seek the advice of a qualified health care professional or registered dietician before you start.  The size of the U.S. market for weight loss products is expanding.  Growing at an annual rate of nearly 11% for the past five years, the market is projected to reach $586 billion by the year 2014.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer