A helpful new website of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identifies the false promises often made in ads for diet pills and other weight-loss products, such as:
- You can just take a pill to lose weight (won’t work)
- You can eat all the food that you want and still lose weight (we wish)
- You can drop 25 pounds in a month (not a good idea if even possible)
- You can lose weight by applying products to your skin (nope)
- The weight loss will be permanent (it won’t be)
- The product works for everyone (it doesn’t)
Also be wary of such gimmicks as “free trials” (they’re not free), before-and-after photos of supposedly successful dieters (they’re typically altered), testimonials (from paid endorsers), “doctors” in ads who are paid actors, and “news” reports that are paid (or sponsored) ads or are posted on bogus news websites made to look like real ones.
In addition, the FTC provides links to other useful resources, including where to report fraudulent weight-loss product claims. The best way to lose weight is to eat less and be more active; there are no shortcuts.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Cracking Down on Misleading Ads.