When it comes to advertising hype, we’ve heard it all. Some can be very appealing: “Shrink two sizes without dieting!” Who wouldn’t love to lose weight or shape up with no effort? Well, the problem is, that’s not how it works. Take a pass on any product that offers weight loss or fitness results without any effort. Remember, no garment, gizmo, or cream is going to make you fit and toned.
Common weight loss scams include these:
- Weight loss patches. Manufacturers claim they help the thyroid work harder, revving up the rate at which your body burns calories. Worn on the skin, these patches have not been proven to be safe or effective.
- Fat blockers. Makers of these pills claim that fat blockers can interfere with how your body processes the fat you eat. But they may cause bloating, gas, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. They can also keep some fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, from being absorbed.
- Starch blockers. These promise to block or interfere with starch in your diet. Many users report nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains.
- ”Magnet” diet pills. Makers claim these bind to fat, effectively flushing fat out of the body while you eat. However, these can block how your body absorbs important fat-soluble vitamins.
- Weight loss wraps or massages. Passive treatments like these do not induce any metabolic effect and have no research evidence that backs their claims up. Any feeling of being ‘toned’ or ‘slim’ are temporary and will disappear within a few hours.
- Electrical muscle stimulators are used in physical therapy The American Council For Exercise cites a study it conducted on EMS toning equipment, which found this type of EMS technology to be "ineffective, time consuming, and at times, even painful." The study, led by John Porcari of the University of Wisconsin's Human Performance Lab, evaluated the effectiveness of the devices in 29 college-aged students. The subjects were measured for weight, body fat and muscles strength, and divided into control groups. After eight weeks, the EMS group demonstrated no significant improvements in body weight, percent of body fat, strength or appearance over the non-EMS control group.
- ”Magic” weight-loss earrings or in-soles. These and other similar devices are custom-fitted to the consumer's ear, near acupuncture points that are supposed to help control hunger. They have not been proven to work.
Too good to be true?
Any of the following claims are a red flag. Avoid products or diets that promise to:
- Cause weight loss of akilo or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise
- Cause substantial weight loss no matter what or how much you eat
- Cause permanent weight loss (even when you stop using the product)
- Block the absorption of fat or calories so you lose substantial weight
- Enable you to lose more than 1kilo per week for more than 4 weeks
- Cause substantial weight loss for all users
- Cause substantial weight loss by wearing it on the body or rubbing it into your skin
So what's the bottom line? Though quick-fix claims can be tempting, the best way to lose weight (and keep it off) is to exercise regularly and take in fewer calories than you burn. That's your one and only magic bullet.