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FTC Warning: Beware The 8 Biggest
Weight Loss Scams

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Tis the season for deceptive weight-loss advertising. Unfortunately, the season Im referring to lasts much longer than the holidays. In fact, it is one of the few things in life that lasts even longer than the "final closeout sale" at the local furniture store. Weight-loss scams are out there every day of the year, so it is important to keep your guard up.

The amount of weight-loss advertising has skyrocketed during the past 10 years. One of the reasons for the rapid increase in weight-loss advertising is an explosion in the number of dietary supplements on the market. Everywhere you turn, somebody is trying to sell you a miracle product to help you lose weight. Yet, much of this advertising does not have your best interest at stake.

In a recent study, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated 300 advertisements for 218 different weight-loss products. The results were more than a little disturbing.

"Weight loss advertising is completely out of control," according to Richard Cleland, assistant director for the FTC's Division of Advertising Practices. "Over 55 percent of the advertisements we examined are deceptive and over 40 percent contain false claims."

While fighting the battle of the bulge -- or more specifically, the battle to remove the bulge from around your waist -- it is difficult to know who you can trust. An important rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The following were the eight most common deceptive weight-loss claims identified by the FTC:

Works For All Users: Be wary of weight-loss products that promise to produce the same results for all users. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for slimming down. You arent buying a pair of socks or a ball cap here -- youre trying to lose weight. Heres an example of one of these promises from an actual advertisement: No willpower required. Works for everyone, no matter how many times you have tried and failed before.

Will Cause Permanent Weight Loss: A staggering 41 percent of the advertisements examined by the FTC promised to produce permanent or long-term weight loss. Again, heres a quote from one of the advertisements: Get it off and keep it off you wont gain the weight back afterwards. The truth of the matter is that the only way to achieve permanent weight loss is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis.

Eat All You Want: Be wary of any diet products or plans that claim you can lose weight no matter what you chow down on or what kind of portions you dish out. Heres another sample from an actual advertisement examined by the FTC: Consumers who use [the advertised product] can lose substantial weight while still enjoying unlimited amounts of high-calorie foods. This ones even better: Eat as much as you want -- the more you eat, the more you lose As the calories and pounds add up, youll have no problem in finding the error in this claim.

Specific Body Part Claims: Another common deception in advertisements is a claim that you can pick and choose where you want your weight loss to occur. Weight loss doesnt work that way. Heres a quote from one such advertisement: Consumers who use [the advertised products] can lose weight only from those parts of the body where they want to lose weight. There is no such thing as spot reduction.

Fat Blocker Claims: So-called fat blockers are products that allegedly cause substantial weight-loss by the blockage or absorption of fat or calories. As a sample ad for one of these products reads: Lose up to two pounds daily. [Named ingredient] can ingest up to 900 times its own weight in fat. Thats why its a fantastic fat blocker.

Transdermals: Transdermals are products that claim to promote weight loss if you wear them or rub them into your skin.

Without Diet Or Exercise: Dont trust advertisements that claim substantial weight loss can be achieved without diet or exercise. Unbelievably, 42 percent of the ads examined by the FTC claimed diet or exercise was not necessary for weight loss. Despite what anyone may tell you, there is no evidence that substantial weight loss can be achieved without diet or exercise.

Rapid Weight Loss (More Than 3 Pounds Per Week): Of the ads examined by the FTC, 57 percent promised rapid weight loss results. Some of the ads even made claims such as the following: lose 10 pounds in 8 days, knock off unwanted weight and fat deposits at warp speeds, safely lose at least 16 pounds in the first two weeks, and most preposterous of all you can lose 18 pounds in one week. When dieting, the most important ingredient is to learn how to eat right and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Losing more than three pounds a week is not healthy and youre more likely to put back on the weight.

The good news to eDiets members is that our program doesnt employ any of these deceptive advertising techniques. In other words, what you see is what you get.

We’re not offering any miracle cures, just a smart and healthy way to lose weight. We have a team of professionals on staff to help you with an effective diet, fitness and motivation regimen.

“Our diet plan is based on a set of standards recommended by both the American Dietetic Association and the American Heart Association,” says eDiets Marketing Director Jay Berkowitz. “Following our plan, our members can safely lose 1.5 to 2 pounds per week.”

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