The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Dieters beware of fraudulent weight-loss claims

By John Harden/sports editor

Too many Americans obsess over obtaining the perfect body, and, unfortunately, some companies exist only to capitalize on this obsession.

Blinded by the need to get in shape, we sometimes fall victims to advertisements claiming their exercise equipment or a diet pill will help lose weight.

During the last three decades, the U.S. has witnessed a rapid growth of fraudulent fitness programs and infomercials promoting “quick-and-easy” weight-loss methods or products.

Most of these commercials display an overweight man or woman claiming to have lost about 40 pounds simply by taking a pill while still eating as much as they want.

A good rule to live by is if it seems too good to be true, then pinch yourself and wake up.

Many diets, pills, exercise equipment and books promise drastic results in months, but the manufacturers of these “miraculous” products make the promise with their company profits in mind and not the consumer’s health.

Only by divine action can someone obtain a rock-hard body by working out only 30 minutes a day or taking a pill. But without a miracle, it’s not likely.

According to the National Council Against Health Fraud, the majority of weight-loss infomercials present facts based on half-truths, untested statements and paid testimonials.

Not all companies who promote fitness products are lying, but according to the NCAHF, you’re probably more likely to be scammed by someone looking to make a profit.

These advertisements appear not just on television, but also in radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet ads.

It may be difficult to spot a scam, so it’s important to learn how to dig through the fraud that infects the mass media. 

The Food and Drug Administration in 2004 sent 16 warning letters to companies making exaggerated claims regarding their products.

A couple of the exaggerated remarks banned by the FDA boasted, “Eat all you want and lose weight” and “Take 3 capsules before bedtime and watch the fat disappear!”

Several Web sites are devoted to pinpointing fitness scams and protecting the consumer.

A licensed physical trainer can offer expert advice regarding the effectiveness of a certain exercise machine.

Asking someone who understands how the product does or doesn’t work can help you before you make a purchase.

Next time a product comes along promising to help shed the pounds, make sure to educate yourself on how accurate the claims are.

If it sounds like a good idea, try it.

But if no progress is made, save your money and adopt a more traditional exercise method.

Eating well and remaining physically active remain the best way to lose weight.

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