OSWEGO – Weight-loss scams are among the most reported frauds, and it’s no wonder. More than 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese. And many are looking to lose weight quickly and easily.
But when it comes to weight loss, a slow and steady approach is safer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a reasonable and healthy goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
There are different ways to achieve that goal, but health experts agree that to lose weight safely and keep it off, you need to make lasting changes—not short-term fixes—to your diet and exercise habits.
Still, fad diets—with simple-sounding rules, “miracle” products and the promise of amazing results—can be tempting. Here are some of the warning signs that it may be wise to steer clear.
- It promises fast weight loss, like 30 pounds in 30 days.
- It promises results without changing your eating or exercise habits.
- It promises weight loss in specific problem areas of your body.
- It promises you can lose weight and still eat as much of your favorite foods as you want.
- It claims to work for anyone.
- It says a dietary supplement, cream or muscle stimulator will help you lose weight.
- It restricts entire food groups or promotes eating large amounts of a specific food.
- The product seems too good to be true.
- It uses exaggerated words like “miracle” or “magic.”
- It uses impossibly positive testimonials that are easy to fake.
- It uses before-and-after photos that look too good to be true.
- It poses as a news report about how effective the product is.
- There is a lot of fine print that makes it easy to miss vital information about what you’re purchasing.
- It promises a free trial or one-time purchase, but the fine print signs you up for a subscription.
- The real, total cost of all the products and services is hard to find.
How to fact-check a weight-loss product
If you’re interested in trying a weight-loss diet or product, take these smart steps first:
1. Check in with your doctor. They can tell you whether it sounds legitimate or not. Your doctor also can help you set a reasonable weight-loss goal and refer you to a dietitian or weight-loss program in your area.
2. Research the company behind it. You can look up the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Many weight-loss companies have “F” ratings.
3. Know what you’re getting. Before using a product, look up its ingredients at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website. Diet pills and supplements are regularly recalled for containing dangerous ingredients.
4. Don’t skip the fine print. Read all the terms and conditions before you buy anything.
Are you sabotaging your diet? Here are seven common diet mistakes to avoid.
If you are considering major weight loss, Oswego Health’s Center for Weight Loss & Surgery may be a good place to start. The Center offers a personalized program overseen by knowledgeable experts in this specialized medical field, who provide all the steps to achieve your desired weight loss. The program starts with a screening process and education to assist you in being successful. Staff will remain a part of your weight loss team throughout your weight-loss journey, from the initial screening and education sessions to surgery and follow up support groups. Visit oswegohealth.org for more information on the Center for Weight Loss & Surgery.