How to Identify Fraudulent Weight Loss Claims

by Renee Kennedy

The FTC has released an 18-page report to help the media identify products that use fraudulent weight loss claims in their sales pitch. Although the report, Red Flag Bogus Weight Loss, it is geared toward the media, consumers may also learn from the brochure. Below are the seven warnings of the report.

FICTION: Products that claim you can lose two or more pounds per week without dieting and exercise. A claim is false if it is telling you that you can quickly lose weight, drop dress sizes, lose inches, or lose body fat without changing your lifestyle.

FACT: Losing weight will require you to change your eating and exercise habits.

FICTION: Products that claim you can eat whatever you want and however much you want with no limits. A pill that will allow you to eat whatever you want and still lose weight? Science may be good, but it's not going to change the laws of physics.

FACT: What goes into your body must go somewhere, whether it is expended into energy, turned into fat, or turned into waste; your body must do the work to expend the calories.

FICTION: Products that claim your weight loss will be permanent even after you stop using the product. A pill that will curb your appetite is only going to work while you use the pill.

FACT: Anything permanent is going to require a permanent lifestyle change.

FICTION: Products that claim they will block absorption of calories or fat and lead to substantial weight loss.

FACT: Even fat blockers must be used in conjunction with a lower calorie diet.

FICTION: Products that claim you can safely lose more than three pounds a week for more than four weeks at a time. You should consult your health care professional for what your goal weight loss should be every week, especially if you are diagnosed with obesity.

FACT: Intense weight loss of more than three pounds per week over several consecutive weeks can be damaging to your organs and cause health problems.

FICTION: Products that claim all users will lose substantial weight.

FACT: No product can work for everyone.

FICTION: Products that are worn on the body or rubbed on the skin will cause substantial weight loss. Patches, creams, lotions, body wraps, clothing, shoes, earrings, rings, belts, buzzers, etc. etc. - leading to weight loss?

FACT: Weight loss can only occur through changes in diet and exercise.

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