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Getting a high-profit weight loss product onto the market is easy because almost anything goes. A fraud can use teas, pills, wraps, gadgets, powders, machinery, sprays and mists, videos, "subliminal voice tapes" and pretty much anything else left to the imagination and promise that they'll burn, block, flush, melt away, or otherwise eliminate fat and calories from a person's system in a relatively short span of time. Do these products have any grains of truth to their claims?

In a word -- no. What counts is not the product, but the illusion created around the product. An ad can be broadcast to customers via TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, and mail-outs. Fraud thrives most when there is no effective and efficient medical "cure" to a particular problem. Science has taught us about set-point theory and how weight, like height, is strongly influenced by genetics and family history. The reason why weight loss appeals to so many scam artists out there is because of the initial results that almost anyone will achieve with any restrictive plan. A unique property of weight is that, because of water loss, almost any change in eating shows up on the scale as a weight change. Even without a planned decrease in eating, the person who is excited about a new weight loss effort tends to eat less sugar and starch. This drop in carbohydrate intake releases water from the cells, and the person feels s/he has "lost weight". With a return to habitual eating behaviours, the cells re-hydrate and weight returns to normal. Manufacturers are quick to blame the customer if the product fails in its claims . . . usually because the customer has tried so many schemes and plans before that, that s/he is readily willing to accept this unfounded blame.

Many people just don't want to believe the truth -- that every body is unique and no body can be moulded and sculpted into the form of another, no matter what the product, its promises, or its possible adverse effects. Only 1-2% of the entire population has the body type of today's "supermodel" and even they have to be air-brushed and computer-enhanced to look the way they do. But can we blame consumers for believing in the promises of advertising schemes when they're bombarded with 50 000 new diet products each year? With each new gimmick on the market, a product manufacturer is hoping that someone is watching the ad, thinking, "well . . . that last product was a waste of my time, money and effort but this one looks 'legit' -- it has to work!" And so the cycle continues. Read on to find out what gimmicks and fraudulent products to be on the lookout for, and how to resist being swindled by these themes and schemes.

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Last Updated January 4, 2000 by someone who's FED-UP!