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Quinn on Nutrition: The skinny on weight loss ads

January 20, 2014


Perhaps you’ve heard of it. A product called FatFoe Eggplant Extract. It’s an all-natural product guaranteed to help you lose up to 10 pounds a week. And it is clinically proven to work without dieting or exercise.

There’s only one small problem: FatFoe is not a real weight loss product. And the online website that urges us to "order now and get a free 60-day trial" of this fantastic product is a fake — posted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a warning against diet rip-offs.

Darn. I really wanted to lose 10 pounds this week without having to exercise or give up my M&M’s.

So how are we to know if weight loss plans and potions are the real thing … or a scam? Watch out for these claims that wave a huge red flag about unreliable products, warns the FTC:

You can eat all you want of your favorite high-calorie foods and still lose weight. Wouldn’t that be nice? But it’s not true, says the FTC. To lose weight, you need to reduce the amount of calories you put in your body.

You can lose weight without making any changes in diet or exercise habits. What a sweet but false notion, says the FTC. In reality, the only way to burn off body fat is to eat less and/or exercise more.

You can lose vast amounts of weight by swallowing a pill that keeps your body from absorbing calories in food. A grand thought indeed. In truth, there is no product on the market that will cause you to lose large amounts of weight this way.

You can safely lose more than 3 pounds a week for weeks at a time. Healthy weight loss (the loss of fat and not valuable water or muscle) takes time, says the FTC. Be skeptical of any claim that you can safely lose more than 3 pounds a week over an extended period of time.

A product that works for everyone! Tilt, says the FTC. No product works the same — or is even safe — for every person.

Lose the weight and keep it off … forever! Oh, if it were only true. Lost weight only stays off when we continue to eat sensibly and exercise regularly.

A patch, cream or gel absorbed into the skin can make you lose weight. Unfortunately, nothing that you apply to your skin — except perhaps a strip of tape across your mouth — has been proven to cause weight loss.

Want to lose weight without diet or exercise? Stay slim and never have to watch what you eat ever again? Join the club of wishful thinking. As dull and boring as it sounds, permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes, say nutrition experts. The only thing we are guaranteed to lose by any other method is our money.

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McClatchy-Tribune Information Services