The number of scam online and TV ads for weight loss are almost as much as all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. It is no surprise to learn that their so-called "evidence" has not been systematically peer-reviewed in scientific journals. Nor has their "testing" been randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. The Food & Drug Administration has analyzed an exhaustive number of weight loss online and TV ads and compiled a list of seven common misleading statements. The 7 lies below can apply to pretty much every false weight loss claim.
LIE #1: The product or plan causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “I lost 30 pounds in 30 days – and still ate all my favorite foods!”
The facts: "Meaningful weight loss requires taking in fewer calories than you use. It’s that simple. But it’s also that difficult for people trying to shed pounds. That means ads promising 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.”
LIE#2: The product or plan causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “Need to lose 20, 30, 40 pounds or more? Eat your fill of all the foods you crave and watch the weight disappear!"
The facts: "It’s impossible to eat unlimited amounts of food – any kind of food – and still lose weight. It’s 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.”
LIE #3: The product or plan causes permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using product.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “Take it off and keep it off! Kiss dieting goodbye forever.”
The facts: "Without long-term lifestyle changes – like continuing to make sensible food choices and upping the activity level – weight loss won’t last once consumers stop using the product. Even if dieters succeed in dropping pounds, maintaining weight loss requires lifelong effort.”
LIE #4: The product or plan blocks the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “Block fat before your body absorbs it! The pounds and inches will melt away.”
The facts: "Without lifestyle changes, no 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."
LIE #5: The product or plan safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “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!”
The facts: "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, it’s false.”
LIE #6: The product or plan causes substantial weight loss for all users.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “Lose excess body fat. You can’t fail because no will power is required!”
The facts: "People’s metabolisms and lifestyles are different. So is how they’ll respond to any particular weight loss product. The upshot: No product will cause every user to drop a substantial amount of weight.”
LIE #7: The product or plan causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin.
Low-level, forked-tongue, scumbag swindler: “Slink into those skinny jeans in no time. Our patent-pending body wrap will increase the metabolism around your hips to burn fat faster. You’ll lose 2-3 pounds per week just by wearing the body wrap while relaxing. Blast off 25 pounds in 8 short weeks!”
The facts: "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 are simply no way products like that can live up to what the ads say.”
A Scientific Look at Alternative Medicine: Diets and Weight Loss (Critiques of weight loss supplements) https://sites.google.com/site/kycahf/weight
Gut Check: A Reference Guide for Media on Spotting False Weight Loss Claims https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/gut-check-reference-guide-media-spotting-false-weight-loss-claims
Criteria Randomized double blind placebo control studies, the “Gold Standard” in intervention-based studies https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505292/
Weight Watchers & Noom: Failed Diets, Cherry-Picking Stats and the Insidious Shame Machine https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/06/weight-watchers-noom-failed-diets.html
7 Weight Loss Scams That Will Trim The Fat Off Your Savings http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2018/06/7-weight-loss-scams-that-will-trim-fat.html
Exposing Fraud & Quackery in 100 Best-Selling Nutrition & Diet Books https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2020/08/exposing-fraud-quackery-in-100-best.html
9 Hard Truths About Weight Loss http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2017/06/9-hard-truths-about-weight-loss.html
Duping & Harming Women: Why The Wellness Industry Should Be Crushed https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2020/05/duping-harming-women-why-wellness.html
Added Protein: All Hype, No Science, Just Marketing Wizardry https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2019/06/added-protein-all-hype-no-science-just.html
Next Level Snake-Oil: Women Duped By Goop http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2017/09/next-level-snake-oil-women-duped-by-goop.html