Sunday, July 8, 2012

Diet Pills and Weight Loss Scams

When it comes to pseudoscience, there may be no bigger industry than the countless "lose weight quick" and magic weight loss diet offerings that pollute the airwaves of late night television. With both obesity and our nation's fixation on skinny at an all time high, it is no wonder why this market has seen such a high rise in prominence. People want to lose weight, but they don't want to have to upset the balance of their lifestyles in order to do so. Therefore whenever some magic pill comes along promising sudden weight loss without any exercise or diet necessary, people are quick to by into it. This is even more intriguing to the public when, in their infomercial, the diet company parades a bunch of paid actors (often who have never tried the product with Before and After shots that are heavily photoshopped and often shot within the same day of each other), or claimed professionals and doctors who serve to better support the claim and make the product even more irresistible to the desperate, overweight masses.

One example of a Weight Loss Scam that has become very popular on the internet (mostly due to the viral, spyware-based nature of the advertisements) is the Acai Berry Diet. The diet claims that by taking their pills that consist of an Acai Berry-based supplement, that your metabolism will be boosted, and you will lose weight without changing your diet or needing exercise. Problem is, the pills the company offers only 100mg of Acai Berry a pill - equal to less than a single Acai Berry. Another example currently being advertised is the Sensa Diet Plan. The commercials claim Sensa to be a simple powder that, when added to your food (which can be anything you want, no real dieting necessary), will cause rapid weight loss. I did some research on the internet for this product, and a vast majority of the people who reported their experience on trying the "free trial" only wound up getting nauseous, having indigestion, and getting their credit card hit with monthly bills which cannot be cancelled; a convenient inclusion in Sensa's ridiculously fine print.

So how can you spot a weight loss or diet scam? SCAMwatch suggests you look for the following warning signs. A weight loss scheme or product should be avoided if it:

  • lacks scientific evidence or demonstrated links between the result and the effects of the program, food, supplement, gadget or process being promoted
  • is sold outside normal commercial distribution channels. For example, through the internet, by unqualified individuals or mail order advertisements
  • claims effortless, large or fast weight loss such as 'lose 30 kilos in 30 days' or 'lose weight while you sleep'
  • claims that you can achieve weight loss without exercise, or without managing food or energy intake
  • fails to recommend medical supervision, particularly for low-calorie diets
  • claims to reduce fat or cellulite in specific areas of the body
  • uses terms such as 'miraculous breakthrough'
  • recommends the exclusive use of any type of gadget
  • claims it is a treatment for a wide range of ailments and nutritional deficiencies
  • promotes a particular ingredient, compound or food as the key factor of success
  • demands large advance payments or requires you to enter into long-term contracts.
  • Source - SCAMwatch

In my experience, I have found that there is no easy answer to losing weight. It is something that does take a total lifestyle change and commitment. No pill, fad diet, or workout machine can substitute the benefits gained from dedicated exercise and a consistent, no carb/dairy, low sugar/fat diet. It isn't easy (I'm putting off working out as we type), but it sure beats being forced to close out your bank account while downing fake berry-flavored pills.


  1. Great post its unbelievable how much we know about our body, that people will still try to scam off our hopes to be fit. Maybe the whole goal of this shake was to make you sick and throw up and you would lose weight lol.

  2. I lost 150 pounds several years ago and recently gained 50 pounds. I agree there is no easy way to lose weight and maintain the loss.I want you to know I did not exercise and lost an overall average of 1/2 lb. per day over an 8 month period. I only practiced maintaining a daily caloric intake which was considerably less than my daily caloric requirement. I had a desire and commitment. We must always remember the simplicity of losing weight. Weight loss is a matter of a simple mathematical formula. Consume less calories than your body requires and you'll lose weight, no fads, no pills, no surgeries.Here are several questions I often think about. Is compulsive overeating and weight gain a human mechanism for dealing with anxiety and stress? Are there synthetic and processed foods that cause the human body to become excessively hungry while eating or shortly after consuming them which cause a person to consume more calories than are necessary for survival? Can obesity be defined as a psychological disorder or is it a result of the types of processed food that we consume? Is obesity caused by a combination of both? Many gastrointestinal physicians treat obesity by removing a major portion of the stomach or use lap-band therapy to help patients lose weight. If obesity is a psychological disorder or caused by the foods that we eat could this type of surgery be considered pseudoscience? Only time and scientific investigation will tell.........

  3. However, while purchasing anything we all ensure that the product is of good quality and is further useful as well.

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