Health & Fitness

By Amanda Vasilikos

People want a quick fix for everything. The faster something can be done, the more convenient it is for us. Companies take advantage of our desire for easy solutions and produce various diet scams every year. “Lose 10 lbs. without lifting a finger!” or “Sleep and lose weight!”

Who wouldn’t want to pop a pill that could help you lose weight while sitting on the couch eating a tub of cookie dough ice cream? I know I would. Unfortunately, experts agree that the age old saying is true: Nothing in the world that is worth having comes easy, and the same is true about losing weight. The Federal Trade Commission lists facts on its website for consumers who are unsure about the diet products that flood our media daily.

According to the site, doctors, dieticians and other experts still concur that the best way to lose weight is by lowering your daily caloric intake and adding exercise to your schedule. Here are some recent diet scams and the flashy advertising that you should beware and stay clear off, according to the FTC:


Block absorption of fat, carbs or calories!

Pills such as TrimSpa and the soon to be released diet pill Alli, claim to block the body’s absorption of fat and carbohydrates. The FTC states that, even if they did work as they claim to, the effects of taking such pills are unpleasant and even harmful. By rendering the body unable to breakdown certain nutrients, it is likely one will develop gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and bloating.

TrimSpa, also has a patented ingredient called Hoodia Gordonii, an appetite suppressant found in a plant that grows in South Africa. The plant has been used by bushmen to stave off hunger while they are on long hunts and journeys, and seems to have some credibility as a natural appetite suppressant. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for the consumer to know if what they’re getting is a pure form of the plant, or not.


Boost Your Metabolism with the Help of a Pill!

Xenadrine EFX, which is now ephedra-free, once contained this chemical cousin of “speed.” Ephedra can cause insomnia, nervousness, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and death. Thankfully, the FDA banned Ephedra in February 2004, but who knows what the other unknown “herbal remedies,” found in some diet pills can do to you. The basic theory behind this type of diet pill is to hype you up so that you’re active. 10 cups of coffee would do that for you, too…but you know better than to drink 10 cups of coffee in a day, right?


Drink Away Pounds of Unwanted Body Fat!

Wu-Long, an herbal Chinese tea, claims to help shed pounds, give you energy and even clear up the skin. The truth about these teas, however, is that the main ingredient in Wu-Long, and others like it, is caffeine. This acts as a diuretic and helps drain the body of water. As we know, losing water is not the same as losing weight. The result is that you could end up dehydrated, which is not good for your skin and can cause, among other problems, diarrhea.


Lose Weight With Our Miracle Diet Patch!

True, patches help people quit smoking by delivering medication that helps stave off the craving for nicotine through the skin. When it comes to weight loss, the issue remains: the search for a safe and effective drug to transfer through the skins dermal layers. Ingredients in the advertised patches are essentially the same as the herbs found in the teas mentioned above, so using a patch comes with the same concerns.


Take Off 5 to 15 Inches in One Wrap

Websites like sell body suits that claim to contain body heat and melt away fat. Again, the only things you will lose from buying these suits are water and money. The water weight you’ll lose comes from sweating and will be regained as soon as you take a drink.

Don’t let the flashy advertisements fool you – there is no proven quick way to lose weight. If you are attracted to a certain product, experts advise that you look into its ingredients first and make sure they are legitimate and safe. In the end, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Your best diet tool is common sense…so use what the good lord gave ya!

Originally published April 2007
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