A month has passed since New Year’s Day and by now many people who decided to try a trendy new diet are beginning to realize that they probably didn’t get what they paid for. There are ways to protect yourself and one of them is to learn the warning signs which can be found in weight loss product advertisements. In this report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), authorities teach media outlets how to spot ads for phony weight-loss programs with information that is just as useful for the consumer.
“Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to spot every deceptive weight loss claim, but scientists have established that there are some statements that simply can’t be true,” the FTC writes. “In consultation with experts, the FTC has come up with a list of seven representations – we call them ‘gut check’ claims – that media outlets should think twice before running.”
These seven representations are:
1. causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise; No matter how many testimonials they provide from people who claim to have lost “30 pounds in 30 days while eating my favorites foods” it’s simply not possible to drop that kind of weight without diet and exercise.
2. causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats; “It’s impossible to eat unlimited amounts of food – any kind of food – and still lose weight,” the FTC warns. “It’s a matter of science: To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in.”
3. causes permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using product; As much as we all want to “kiss dieting goodbye forever”, unless a person is willing to make healthy lifestyle changes, weight loss won’t continue after they stop using a product.
4. blocks the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight; “ . . . (N)o over-the-counter product can block enough fat or calories to cause the loss of lots of weight. To work, even legitimate ‘fat blockers’ must be used with a reduced-calorie diet,” the FTC states.
5. safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks; Did you know that losing more than three pounds a week for multiple weeks can result in gall stones and other health complications? That’s why you need to avoid diet scams that make this promise.
6. causes substantial weight loss for all users; Because everyone’s metabolism and lifestyle is different, it’s impossible to make a universal promise of success for all when it comes to weight loss.
7. causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin. “Weight loss is 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. There’s simply no way products like that can live up to what the ads say.”
The bottom line is that there’s no quick fix for weight loss. It takes determination, hard work, and perseverance to stick to a diet and exercise plan that fits their lifestyle.
If you spot a phony diet plan, click here to report it to the FTC!