5 warning signs of a bogus weight loss scheme

scaleSo many weight loss scams. So few thin people.

March is National Nutrition Month, so we’re going to hear a lot about the wisdom of balanced diets and mindful eating and portion control in the next few weeks.  Exactly the kind of sensible advice that goes right over the heads of desperate dieters who believe it’s possible to lose 50 lbs in 2 months.  For these people, fad weight loss schemes sound really tempting.  The ads make it all sound so reasonable and sciency.  So they must work.

Fortunately, it’s easy to identify weight loss scams, even if you don’t have a science degree.  They’re promoted with clever phrases designed to part desperate dieters from their money.  Here are 5 common warning signs:

  1. “It’s not your fault! It’s hormonal imbalance.”  Or stress. Or chemicals lurking in the environment. Or some other uncontrollable factor that absolves you of all responsibility.  And of course, there are voodoo-like treatments that can fix your imbalances, which are discovered by special tests you must pay for.
  2. “No need to exercise!”  This is false.  And even if you don’t want to lose weight, regular physical activity improves health and well being.  There’s always a need to exercise.
  3. “No need to change your food choices” or worse “Eat all you want.”  Let’s think about that. Your current lifestyle and food choices resulted in excess weight.  How can you lose weight if you don’t change those habits?
  4. “Rev up your fat-burning with our special product” which might be in a pill, a drink, a powder or a restrictive fad diet.  It sure sounds attractive in theory, never mind that billion-dollar drug companies all over the world have been trying to find a drug to do this for ages, without success.  What would a revved up metabolism look like?  When you have a fever from an illness, your metabolism is revved up.  So would the fat-burning ingredient cause you to live in a constant state of fever?  That’s a really bad idea.  Or does the magic product just cause fat cells to empty out, dumping the fat into your blood?  In which case your blood vessels would quickly be overwhelmed and clogged.  If you want Mother Nature’s fat burning solution, see #2.
  5. “Weight loss secret!” Honestly, do you think if something really worked – some diet or pill or powder or ingredient – it would stay a secret for more than 10 seconds in this world?  There is no secret weight loss fix, known only to the privileged few, who are happy to share it with you in exchange for money.

Dieters have been falling for these false promises for years, spending money on books, pills, and special foods and drinks. Yet despite the promises and money, the obesity rate keeps going up.  If you’re still in doubt, here’s a reality check: if any of these diet claims were true, where are all the thin people?

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