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How to be wary of ‘miracle’ weight loss promises

September 13, 2021 – Hey, have you heard of the new miracle loss product for miracles?

This is a special tea that you can see in a magazine.

Or a lollipop promoted by a Kardashian.

Or a rubber vest that you zip tightly around your belly, which appears on a TV ad.

Or… or… or…

We have all seen many “too good to be true” products to help you secure lose weight. Some even say they can melt fat.

Health fraud costs consumers millions. With obesity as a serious problem, we are vulnerable to marketing that promises to keep us healthy, lean or strong. Trust your doctor and verifiable weight loss organizations for correct information and strategies, and not someone who advertises a quick fix in exchange for your money.

Here’s an outline of how you can find some regarding claims and make the right choices for your health, fitness, and wallet.

How the government advises consumers

“Honest advertisers will say just about anything to buy your weight loss products,” says the Federal Trade Commission. Here are some of the false promises that businesses and individuals often make:

  • Lose weight without diet or exercise.
  • Eat what you want and still lose weight.
  • Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.
  • This patch or cream will burn fat.

“Every promise of miraculous weight loss is simply untrue,” the FTC said. “There is no great way to lose weight without a sensible diet and regular exercise.”

Such allegations are also not always harmless. For example, ‘free’ trial offers often cause consumers to spend money and have to pay for repetitive shipments of products they do not want. And the FDA has found that some nutritional supplements contains potentially harmful substances or chemicals that do not appear on the label.

Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe before they are sold, or that their claims are true. Some ingredients, including nutrients and plant components, can be toxic, the FDA says.

To ensure that you get a good quality product, seek approval from the American Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab or NSF International, which tests products and verifies ingredients.

What can be harmful

Some products that promote weight loss and sports performance contain ingredients that do not appear on the label, says Pieter Cohen, MD, a physician at Cambridge Health Alliance.

In March, he and his colleagues said they had tested 17 brands and found nine banned stimulants in them. Nearly half of the brands had at least one banned stimulant.

In 2016, Consumer Reports contained 15 additional ingredients that could be harmful.

The list contains ingredients that claim to help with weight loss but can cause attacks, cardiac arrest, kidney and deliver problems, or even death, wrote Consumer Reports. These include caffeine powder, chaparral, germander and green tea extract powder.

Danger may depend on health conditions and other factors, such as interaction with prescribed medication or over-the-counter medicine.

“In addition, our experts agree that none of these supplements provide adequate health benefits to justify the risk,” Consumer Reports wrote.

Satire area has been included in some weight loss products, including the “Flat Tummy” lollipop promoted by Kim Kardashian. It is an extract from saffron, which has long been promoted to improve mood and menstrual symptoms. Manufacturers say it has been proven to also reduce snacking, but it has not been definitively shown.

And appetite suppressants contain no nutrients – the good things we all need from food, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Not just for weight loss

In addition to weight loss, sports performance is a major attraction for consumers who want an athletic advantage. Maybe they eat right and exercise regularly, but they want to get an extra boost.

At best, the results vary between people, and scientific reviews are often mixed. Talk to your doctor before trying anything you are not sure about. If you feel better about spending money on, for example, a protein bar, it may be harmless, even if it is expensive. But it may not be necessary or even useful.

The FDA offers these suggestions to be an ‘expert’ supplement buyer.

  • Use non-commercial sites (such as those of the FDA and National Institutes of Health) rather than those of sellers.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Beware of claims about ‘no side effects’ and ‘works better than a prescription medication’.
  • ‘Natural’ does not necessarily mean ‘safe’.

A Trainer’s Favorite Myths

Our desire for quick fixes helps keep myths about fat loss alive, says Anthony Wilkins, co-owner of Alloy Personal Training for Women near Atlanta. He says customers often ask him about a new product they have already advertised. Maybe they are told that they need to sweat a lot or get hurt a lot to prove that they got a good workout. The fake ads often promote similar lies – plus the endless products for fat loss teas and lollipops.

Wilkins offers these solutions to persistent myths.

  • Muscle weighs no more than fat. ‘One pound of fat weighs exactly the same as a pound of muscle. The same pound of muscle takes up less space than that pound of fat. This means that you can not lose weight, but can still be much leaner and lose inches. ”
  • You can not “spot reduce” and lose fat exactly where you want. “You can train certain body parts to make it better, but you have absolutely no control over where you lose fat,” says Wilkins. ‘Rather focus on maintaining a consistent level of strength exercises and good eating habits. ”
  • If you wear a ‘waist trainer’ you will not get a six-pack abdominal muscles. “It will give you the appearance that you have a slim waist if you wear it,” he says. ‘But it does not burn fat, do not build muscle or anything else related to health.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are what you need – not something that comes in a box or bottle.

A ‘miracle’ is probably not

“Many so-called miracle weight loss supplements and foods (including tea and coffee) do not meet their requirements and can cause serious damage,” said FDA spokeswoman Courtney Rhodes.

“Products that are not proven safe and effective for these purposes not only defraud consumers of money, but they can also lead to delays in the correct diagnosis and treatment of a potentially serious condition, and can put people at risk for serious injuries.”

People should not use supplements instead of the right foods. And, says Rhodes, some contain ingredients that ‘have strong biological effects, and such products may not be safe for all people’.

The FDA says nutritional supplements are not meant to treat or cure a disease; it can be harmful if used improperly; and it can have undesirable consequences before, during and after surgeries.

Eating better is often the solution

“If an individual usually eats a large variety of foods, a nutritional supplement may not be necessary,” says nutritionist Angel Planells, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A multivitamin can help people who miss fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fiber, he says. But it will not provide the fluid and fiber we get from these foods.

Talk to your doctor about any supplements you are considering.

“It takes hard work and effort to take care of our health by eating well, being physically active, looking after our mental health and sleeping well for rest and recovery,” says Planells.

‘Save your money supplements, and let’s try to eat better. ”

WebMD Health News


Federal Trade Commission: “The Truth Behind Weight Loss Advertising.”

FDA: “What You Need to Know About Nutritional Supplements,” “FDA 101: Dietary Supplements.”

The Washington Post: “Prohibited, unlisted, even dangerous ingredients are found in dietary supplements.”

Consumer Reports: “15 Complementary Ingredients to Always Avoid.”

Courtney Rhodes, spokeswoman, FDA.

Anthony Wilkins, co-owner, Alloy Personal Training for Women, Suwanee, GA.

Angel Planells, registered dietitian nutritionist, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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