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|
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
Psychology DepartmentThe Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
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