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Weight Loss Scams Exposed

written by: Michelle Kingston • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 2/25/2011

Many dieters are vulnerable to weight loss scams. Learn how to spot these scams and avoid wasting money on products that don't work.

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    Weight Loss MIRACLE: LOSE up to 50 Pounds in 8 Weeks!

    Eat More, Exercise Less, and watch pounds Disappear!

    REVOLUTIONARY Diet Plan: Eat Cookies, Lose Weight - it's that simple.

    NEW Weight Loss Secret: Try Raw Chocolate!

      If only these statements were true, or that simple—just eat a particular food and watch the pounds melt away. Powerful, eye-catching advertising words like MIRACLE and REVOLUTIONARY are designed to grab attention immediately. But the main goal of the ads are to mislead consumers into believing that simply trying a particular diet plan, or food, guarantees the weight loss claims. The ads may be enticing, and the lure may be hard to resist, but subscribing to such claims does nothing to sustain or promote weight loss for life.

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      Weight Loss Scams Exposed

      The booming diet industry (estimated at $50 billion annually) is an impressive source of revenue for the U.S. economy. Fraudulent companies that sell diet products are fully aware that weight loss clients are attracted to quick fixes, and to products that require little effort to use. But dieters desperate to shed pounds and achieve their ideal body, have spared no expense on weight loss program scams. 'Eat as much as you want', and 'lose inches while you eat' are just two examples of what companies promise when they dupe dieters into purchasing expensive meal plans that have no proven track record of success.

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      Diet Scams are a Recipe for Failure

      cookie 

      Weight loss scams that have you eating only cabbage soup, celery, and apparently cookies, have serious drawbacks. For one, you will be hungry in no time. Second, it is impossible to stick to unrealistic diets long term. How long can you realistically eat cookies, stay motivated, and shed pounds? Not very long. Eventually, you will sabotage your waistline when you start to binge on what your body craves - chocolate, potato chips, burgers, fries, and processed foods saturated with excess salt and trans fat.

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      Spotting Scam Products

      Scam products can include fat-burning devices, diet pills, and weight loss books. Use caution if tempted to use the following products, none of which have been scientifically proven:

      • Patches
      • Cellulite creams
      • Meal replacement shakes
      • Herbal supplements/teas
      • Muscle stimulators
      • Magnetic bracelets
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      Red Flags

      Be aware of the following schemes:

      * Catchy descriptions like SECRET and MAGICAL written in bold print and large caps.

      * Promotion of specific foods or products while pointing out failures of other diet plans.

      * Testimonials endorsed by celebrities, celebrity diet doctors, fitness trainers, and paid spokespeople who imply they have lost weight from the product.

      * Alleged dieters who appear well-toned and trim in their 'after' pictures.

      * Deceptive infomercials and paid advertising that makes claims about losing weight while you sleep.

      * Companies who encourage viewers to 'call in the next five minutes, operators are standing by'.

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      The Bottom Line

      The more gimmicks that people buy into, the harder they struggle with their weight. Anything that promises instant results lead to disappointment later. And, if it's too good to be true, it is best avoided.

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      References

      http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/skinny-on-diet-scams

      http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50506

      http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/WeightLossScams

      Photo credit: Cookie Diet - www.flickr.com/photos/runforcover/3827907320/