The FTC has released an 18-page report to help the media identify products that use fraudulent weight loss claims in their sales pitch. The report, Red Flag Bogus Weight Loss Claims, is available here: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/redflag/. Although 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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Renee Kennedy is the editor of the monthly ezine NutriCounter
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