The Skinnyfat

About diet scams

Many diet products just feed on desperation, offering little to no real value and may even be dangerous. You learn about some of the top weight loss scams that you should avoid. I’m also going to teach you how you can spot scams and false promises and choose a healthy solution, even when a product is new and has no information available about it, yet.

New diet products are released all the time, and it can be really difficult to figure out what is good and what is a scam. When a product has been around for a while, you can get feedback from people you know, and read news reports about the product.

Picture of a young woman stretching her body towards the feet. Next to her is a water bottle.

Any product that claims it can help you lose weight quickly without dieting or exercising is more than likely a scam, or it is extremely dangerous to your health. If a product came out that was extremely safe and effective, and really could help you lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercising, it would be all over the news very quickly.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (except water — it has almost magical properties)

  1. Acai Berry:
    • A fruit that comes from the same type of palm tree as hearts of palm. It is claimed that acai is supposed to boost metabolism or help speed up weight loss, but there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support these claims. Additionally, many companies that sell acai berry in various forms use deceptive marketing practices to squeeze additional money out of consumers by enrolling them in monthly recurring billing with automatic delivery, often without permission by hiding the disclosure in the fine print.
    • Many companies also try to claim that acai berries are extremely high in antioxidants, but they are actually fairly mid-range as far as antioxidants. They do have more antioxidants than some fruits, but many fruits have a lot more. There is absolutely no evidence to support the claims being made by acai sellers. More than likely, acai berries have absolutely no special benefits, and companies are just using the fact that consumers are unfamiliar with the product to make bogus claims.
  2. Hoodia Gordonii:
    • A compound that is extracted from a type of succulent plant from Africa. The plant is called hoodia gordonii. For centuries, Africans have chewed this plant on long journeys, claiming it helps suppress the appetite in order to keep them from needing to consume a lot of food while traveling long distances. Because of this lore, marketing companies decided they would try extracting the compound from the plant and selling it.
    • Supposedly the compound can be a powerful appetite suppressant. Unfortunately, there is very little evidence to support these claims. Like acai berry, sellers of hoodia will often tack on additional charges or enrol buyers in continuity programs where they are billed every month automatically for additional shipments. Often, users don’t even know they’ve been enrolled until they see the large charge on their credit card bill or bank statement. Since there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims being made by hoodia sellers, I would avoid buying it. It’s very likely a major waste of money, and you don’t want to risk being enrolled in a monthly program without your consent.
  3. The Juice Diet Liquid:
    • Diets like this are fine for quick weight loss when you just need to lose 5 pounds or less and you can do so in three to five days, but beyond that period of time they are unhealthy and can cause your body to enter starvation mode.
    • I would avoid all types of liquid diets for anything other than very small amounts of weight over very short periods of time.
  4. The Low-Fat Diet:
    • Starting with Susan Powter’s (the motivational speaker) “Stop the Insanity” program, the low fat diet had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really help. For one thing, you need a little fat in your diet in order to live. A fat-free diet is extremely unhealthy. Additionally, many people believed that as long as they were eating no fat, they could eat as much as they wanted. So they would just eat a lot of fat-free sweets and treats and they ended up gaining weight.
    • Low-fat diet works is because it also restricts calories. If you eat a lot of foods that replace fat with sugar, you will not lose weight, and you will probably even gain weight. You’re better off sticking to a standard controlled-calorie diet so it’s not as tempting to overindulge on “fat-free” treats.
  5. Pre-Packaged Diets:
    • Companies, that sell pre-packaged food, are making millions of dollars by selling you food you could easily make at home. They charge far too much, and don’t really offer much support in the way of counselling and group sessions for the outrageous prices they charge. If you are on a restricted budget, you’re much better off just choosing a healthy diet plan and making food at home.
    • These diet plans can be helpful if you make sure they are nutritionally sound and if you can afford them, but you will probably also need to pay extra for some type of outside support.
  6. Diet Pills:
    • Simply put one of the worst scams around. The vast majority of them have absolutely no effect whatsoever, and some of them are actually dangerous or addictive. Before you take any type of diet pill, it is vital that you take the time to research potential side effects thoroughly, and you also need to understand that sometimes it can take many years before the side effects from medications show up. Even so-called “herbal” diet pills can have adverse side effects. Some appetite suppressants can work, but many of them can become addictive.
    • Amphetamines such as Adderall can cause appetite suppression, but they can also cause sleeplessness and other side effects, and may be very addictive in some people. Other types of appetite suppressants can also have harmful side effects and may also be addictive. Metabolism boosters claim that they can cause the body to burn more fat and calories. This would be great if it were true. Unfortunately, these products are mostly scams. There is no scientific evidence that any pill can boost metabolism, so it’s best to avoid any pill that makes such claims.
  7. Ephedra:
    • It can cause severe heart problems, and even death! Please avoid any diet product that contains it!

While it may be tempting to go for the weight loss solution that works fastest, those types of programs and products are not healthy. They could harm your health or severely hamper your weight loss efforts. It’s much better to lose weight in a healthy way, and that way you will learn habits that will help you keep the weight off permanently.

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