Is there any Magic?

Weight Loss Facts and Fictions


With the advent of the internet, it has become possible for more and more businesses to advertise their products. The weight loss industry is no exception. However, the consumer needs to understand that advertisements on the internet are not regulated and that many companies make numerous exaggerated and outrageous claims about their product. In the following section, a sample of weight loss advertisements is presented. To see the actual ad, just click on the link and you can examine the claims first hand. The following table is an index to this section and it summarizes the name of the product, and the weight loss claims made.

For each advertisement, I have documented the weight change claims and any other claims of benefits, such as reduced cravings or suppression of appetite. The nature of the product is discussed, and when it is a pill or supplement, I evaluate whether or not there is a disclosure of the ingredients. For each product or service, I describe its mechanism of action, that is how is said to causes weight loss, or I let you know that no information about how the product works is given.






Weight Loss Products and Claims


 

 

Product Name Weight loss Claim Type of product
Herbalife 10-30 pounds per month Protein drink and herbal supplements
Shape Plus 5 pounds per month Herbal supplement with chromium picolinate
Phytoshape 14 pounds in 14 days Unknown
Diet Magic 30 pounds in 30 days Herbal supplement
Body wrap 6-12 inches Body wrap with herbs
Fasting Center International 1 pound per day for 20 days, pound per day after 20 days Juice fasting
Deb Marketing 3-10 pounds in 3 days Herbal supplement with chromium picolinate
CALORAD 86% success rate Nutritional supplement
New Beverly Hills Diet 15-20 pounds weight losses Eating plan
AOQILI 25 pounds in 30 days Soap that washes away body fat
Suddenly Slender 6-12 inches in one application Body wrap with distilled water and herbs
Slim-N-Fit 30 pounds in 4-8 weeks Unknown
Fabulous Figure 3-4 pounds per week Multi ingredient nutritional supplement
Aspen Group 15 pounds in 7 days Multi component weight loss plan that includes foods and supplements






Let's look at some weight loss claims on the world wide web:



Margie Fox's Herbalife Page

Herbalife

Lose 10 to 30 Pounds per month!!! Guaranteed!!!

Benefits of this program include:

The page advertises seven products:

No information is provided concerning the ingredients in these products, nor is there any description of their mechanism of action beyond the vague descriptions listed above.





Shape Plus

Shape Plus

Contains 23 herbs and chromium picolinate. It claims to suppress appetite, block the absorption of fat, and "cleanse" the blood. It is taken before meals and the site suggest that it can be used alone or with any diet program. Best results are obtained when used with a diet low in fat, and refined sugars. Weight loss of 5 pounds per month is claimed.






Phytoshape


Phytoshape

This site claims that you can lose 14 pounds in 14 days, has an 800 number you can call to hear testimonials, and is also an attempt to sign you up as a home distributor of this product. There is also a phone number you can call to order the product. There is no information about what this product is or how it works.






DIET MAGIC


Diet Magic

This is an herbal product that claims that the user can lose 30 pounds in 30 days. You take 2 tablets each day and eat three regular meals. The site claims that the product curbs appetite, stops cravings, and causes you to lose fat. There is no information on the content of the product, or on how it supposedly works. The site is also an advertisement for home dealerships.






Body Wrap

Body Wrap

"The Life Force International all natural Regeneration Herbal Body Wrap is a scientifically balanced and proven blend of secret herbs and natural minerals enhanced with special sea vegetation to cleanse the body of toxins while at the same time reducing inches and firming and toning the skin."

Fasting Center International This site claims that by using this body wrap, one can lose 6-12 inches right away. Applying the wrap to a specific site can lead to 3-6 inches of loss. The product claims to shrink fat cells and cause excess lipid to be eliminated from the body. The product claims to lead to permanent losses in body size, and to also lead to some weight loss. It clearly indicates that this product is supposed to immediately produce permanent body changes. The product also claims to relieve pain and induce a state of relaxation. The program involves 1-2 wraps per week, which take 90 minutes each. Once you achieve you goal of losing inches, they suggest you continue to use the wrap twice a month for maintenance. There is no specific information about ingredients. It claims to work by removing fat from fat cells which are then eliminated from the body through the lymphatic system. How the fat is removed from the cells is not discussed specifically.






Fasting Center International

Fasting Center International



This site advocates the use juice-fasting as a way to lose weight and improve health. According to this site, juice fasting:

"As the oldest, fastest and safest (biochemically) method of removing unwanted weight and toxins, skill juice-fasting helps you stay slim, healthy and vital, while breaking addictions. Further, it increases physical well-being, mental clarity, and sexual virility. However, its greatest benefit comes from its capacity to detoxify, rejuvenate and regenerate the physical body, thus allowing the mind to function more efficiently, as well."

The site claims juice fasting works by:

"By providing digestive, assimilative and eliminative organs a much-needed rest, periodic fasting also restores and normalizes glandular, metabolic and nervous-system functions; speeds elimination of morbid accumulations, toxic wastes and dead cells; accelerates new cell and tissue generation, and enhances cell-oxygenation."

The site claims a that 98.5% of their clients successfully complete their fasting program. It is claimed that clients lose 1 pound per day for the first 20 days, then pound per day after that. There are many testimonials but no scientific references are cited to support the claims.




Deb Marketing

Deb Marketing



This company offers an herbal preparation with chromium picolinate that promises to take off 3-10 pounds in three days. The ingredients are listed although the amounts of each ingredient are not disclosed. Several testimonials are provided, but there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of the product. The product also claims to increase energy, build lean tissue, and to curb cravings. For best results, the product should be used with a low-fat diet (less than 20% of calories from fat), increased fiber intake, and regular aerobic exercise. The company claims to have 20 years of experience with this product that prove 3-10 pounds can be lost in three days, but offer no evidence whatsoever to substantiate this claim.






CALORAD

CALORAD

This product promises to help you "... Lose Inches, Tone Muscle, Increase Energy, Feel Great! All while you sleep." The product is to be taken once a day on an empty stomach without making changes in eating habits. The site claims an 86% success rate, but does not offer any specific information on how success is defined or how that figure was obtained. The site is vague about how long it takes the product to work, but suggests that a three month trial will yield the desired results. It also suggests that people may want to take this product the rest of their lives. The products consists of unspecified amounts of "Collagen hydrolisat, aloe vera, glycerin, potassium sorbate, methyl paraben, natural flavor." There are several testimonials including one from a person of unknown credentials who claims to have used this product with over 300 patients achieving an average of 4 pounds of fat per month for a year. No specific information is given on how this product works or by what mechanism it causes loss of body fat and increase of lean tissue.






The New Beverly Hills Diet

The New Beverly Hills Diet



This program promises to help you lose weight quickly and easily without giving up any of your favorite foods. You are told that you can lose weight without counting calories, fat grams, or exercising. The key to weight loss, according to this page, is not what you eat, but what food you combine together. The program claims to lead to 12-15 pound weight losses, and involves ordering books and tapes that describe the 25-day diet program. The site also implies that you will not regain any of the weight you lost. The site offers a description of the author of the program, Judy Mazel, and describes her weight history. No data or scientific evidence is cited to support the claims made. A list of celebrities who have used the program is provided. There is also no specific information provided on how this program works, or on how combining different foods together results in weight loss.




AOQILI - Amazing slim soap

AOQILI

This product is a soap that claims to penetrate the skin and break down you fat cells causing you to lose weight. The site makes reference to an empirical study done by a Japanese researcher. The study, apparently unpublished, consisted of eight very lean subjects who lost an average of 0.2 kg (less than pound) in 3 months. The table of numbers suggests that there may have been changes in the size of various body parts, but no statistical analysis of the data was performed. It is obvious from these results that the product did not lead to weight loss. Despite the fact that these data suggest that no weight loss occurs, there are vague testimonial statements that claim weight losses of 25 pounds in 30 days, and 15 pounds in 11 days. There is also a vague description of a research study (no reference to published data) that suggests people lose an average of 33 pounds with one person losing over 100 pounds simply by showering with this soap. There is no description of the ingredients (beyond extracts of seaweed) and no information about how this preparation effects the body at a cellular level.




Suddenly Slender

Suddenly Slender

This body wrap promises to help you lose 6-20 inches in one application. The formula is secret but contains "food grade minerals and distilled water". It claims to lead to permanent loss of "inches", but does not describe how the product works or what kind of changes in the body are supposed to occur. No credible scientific evidence is provided to substantiate the claims made about this product.




Slim-N-Fit

Slim-N-Fit

Promising to help you lose 30 pounds in 4-8 weeks, this page offers absolutely no information about the nature of the product or how it is supposed to work. No evidence is offered for its effectiveness, but two testimonials are included. Despite the lack of specific information, the page claims that Slim-N-Fit is the "...best weight loss procedure in America today".






Fabulous Figure

Fabulous Figure


This page presents a product called Fabulous Figure.

"This product is truly a scientific breakthrough of synergistic ingredients that can really reshape your figure like NOTHING EVER HAS!!"

This is an herbal product that claims to block fat absoption. The primary ingredient is a fiber product derived from crustacean shells and plankton which is said to absorb 12 times its weight in fat. They cite results of a study done in Helsinki, but do not provide a reference to this study. Weight losses of 3-4 pounds per week are claimed. The product contains chromium, vanadium, and an extract from yams that is described as a precursor to the hormone DHEA. The product is claimed to be effective because of the synergistic interaction of these ingredients, however there is no evidence provided to substantiate the claim that people who take this product will lose 3-4 pounds per week. No information is given on whether or not any lifestyle change must be made when using this product, although the advertisement implies that you can use this product to keep your body from absorbing dietary fat. There is no discussion of the safety of this product or whether blocking fat absorption interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. No information is given about the amounts of each ingredient.






Aspen Wellness Group



Aspen Wellness Group



This company claims you can lose 15 pounds in 7 days using their product which costs $89.00 for 7-days. The program includes educational materials on weight los and wellness on video, audiotape, and in writing. You receive food to eat (3 meals a day for 7-days), and a set of 14 herbal teas. There is no specific information on the composition of caloric content of the meals, and nothing specific is given concerning the herbal teas. Since there is no real detail about the program, there is also no information on the program's mechanism of action The site includes testimonials from several celebrities. However, none of the celebrities report how much weight they lost using this program or how quickly they lost it.










 

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