As our country gains weight at an alarming rate, we are spending more each year on products that promise us easy, effortless weight loss. Each year in the United States, an estimated 35 billion dollars is spent each year on weight loss products. The problem is that in spite of headlines that feed our hopes that a new, secret, “better” weight loss formula has been discovered, the truth is there are no easy solutions to losing weight.
How can you spot a weight loss scam?
Typically, weight loss scams make promises that aren’t realistic. Headlines that promise weight loss without dieting are always scams, since calorie reduction is the basis of any true weight loss program. There are no legitimate weight loss programs that allow you to “eat whatever you want” without limit. As Monica Revelle, public relations specialist at the FDA notes: “If it sounds too good to be true-it is!”Other tips offs that the weight loss product is a scam include:
* Claims to be a “secret” formula: Products that claim to have secret formulas are scams. Dr. Bruner feels strongly on this issue, and states, “There are no ‘secrets to weight loss’ being held away from the public. In America alone, an estimated 100 people a day die from obesity; we could prevent 300,000 deaths annually if there was a real product that made weight loss simple and safe, and physicians would be the first to prescribe them.”
* There’s no physical address for the business. Legitimate products and services will have a physical address and phone number. Be wary of those that only offer a mailbox, or a toll-free number to call manned by “help center” personnel. Kopko shares, “While not all companies that have P.O. or private mail boxes (PMBs) are illegitimate, plenty are. Check to see if there are the letters ‘PMB’ after a physical address; this indicates that it’s really a private mail box, that can forward mail to anywhere in the world.” She adds that the Internet is also being used to promote frauds, and adds, “You can’t judge how good or legitimate a product is by how professional the web site looks. This only reflects how good their web designer was.”