NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Another Diet Advertisement

Another Diet Advertisement

          If you're tired of hearing about losing weight, you're not alone. Magazines, newspapers and television are bombarding us with dieting options.

          Unfortunately, many of those ads are filled with empty promises.  Many of the products are marketed as providing weight loss without dieting or exercise.  Did you know that the number one type of consumer fraud is weight loss scams? It is estimated that each year 5 million Americans buy these weight loss products.

          Want to avoid dieting scams? Look out for these warning signs:

  • "Lose more than two pounds a week without dieting or exercise." Often the ads will attract you with references to reducing pounds, dress sizes or belt notches, inches and body fat.
  • "You can eat all you want and lose weight" because their potion or product does all the work for you.
  • The weight loss is permanent even after stopping use of the product.
  • "Lose an amazing amount of weight in no time at all." The reality is that losing more than three pounds a week can cause health complications.
  • "Anybody can use it." Some people have specific dietary restrictions that need to be followed for good health. Is the promise of a quick fix worth putting your health in jeopardy?

          Along with the red flags already listed, other words that could be tip-offs to a scam might be "miraculous," "instant," "secret" or "amazing." If the claims seem vague to you but promise to purify your body, raise your energy level or boost your immune system, you should be suspicious.  

          One of the most important things you can do is look for qualified research to back up the claims. Testimonials may be inspiring or interesting reading but they don't provide the necessary support to substantiate their claims.  Look for information from creditable medical schools and research centers and web sites which end with “edu” or “gov” as opposed to ”org” which can include for profit businesses.



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