The 24th annual Slim Chance Awards from Frances M. Berg highlight bad weight loss products. From fraud to quackery, these products are unlikely to help you lose weight.
Most Outrageous: Just Think Media markets acai berry weight-loss pills, colon cleansers and resveratrol supplements. Canada's Anti-Fraud Call Centre and the United States Federal Trade Commission are pursuing complaints (FTC Complaint) that customers found their credit cards overcharged and were unable to get promised money-back guarantees.
Worst Gimmick: The Pure Energy Weight Loss plus Energy Band is unlikely to produce any effects beyond the placebo effect. I'm highly in favor of stimulating a placebo effect, but $39.95 for an ugly plastic bracelet with a hologram disc is too much. Especially since it doesn't even have to be in contact with your skin to produce claimed effects such as "Enhance energy flow (what does that mean?), decrease appetite, balance metabolism (huh? what does that mean?), increase energy levels, balance hormones (this is a health claim, where is the clinical evidence?), promote positive emotion." Hmm, my VISA card has a hologram on it, and it's made of plastic, isn't it producing these same effects when I carry it in my wallet? This is just another version of the Power Balance Bracelet our Exercise Guide Paige says to avoid.
Worst Claim: Sensa weight-loss crystals. Sprinkling these crystals on your food is supposed to enhance the flavors and odors, which trigger your brain to feel satisfied eating less. That's nice in theory, and Mary Hartley, RD at our Calorie Count site thinks it's not quackery. But class-action suits have been filed in California and Texas alleging that the claimed weight loss effects are unproven by reliable research.
Worst Product: HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) is naturally produced during pregnancy, and using it in conjunction with a very low calorie diet has been a weight-loss tactic since the 1970's. But clinical studies and reviews have not found it to have any of the claimed weight loss effects: the hCG Diet. Now, marketers have taken to calling it a homeopathic product for weight loss. But the US FTC and FDA are jointly warning marketers that this is illegally marketing a drug. "These HCG products marketed over-the-counter are unproven to help with weight loss and are potentially dangerous even if taken as directed," said Ilisa Bernstein, acting director of the Office of Compliance in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in a press release. "And a very low calorie diet should only be used under proper medical supervision."
Better Ideas to Lose Weight
- How to Walk for Weight Loss
- Keep a Food Diary
- Wear a Pedometer
- Walk of Life 10-Week Program (free)
- Calorie Camp
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner