There is so much in the news about weight loss products — Sensa, African mangoes, acai, goji berries, noni, wheat grass and other products. It seems like each new product is marketed as the next magical bullet for weight loss.
We all know that there are no magic bullets or effortless ways to burn off fat and lose weight. The only way to lose weight is to lower caloric intake and/or increase physical activity.
Claims for diet products or programs that promise weight loss without sacrifice or effort are normally not what they are cracked up to be.
New weight loss products will continue to come on the market. It is a good idea to run the claims of weight loss products through a series of filters to see if they hold up under scrutiny. Equally important is to look for the following red flags:
>Claims that sound too good to be true.
For example, lose two pounds or more per week, without dieting. A claim is generally false if it states or implies that users can lose lots of weight quickly without changing their lifestyles, even if the ad does not mention specific amounts of weight loss or time periods. You should know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.
>The use of testimonials as evidence that the product is effective. These sources of information are usually unreliable as testimonials can be easily bought to endorse a product.
>Information that promotes a product’s benefits while overlooking its risks.
>Statements about superiority of supplements and unconventional medicines.
>Recommendations based on a single study.
>Disclaimers: Usually placed inconveniently or in small print and include phrases such as “results may vary” or “results not typical."
While there is no magic bullet for weight loss at this time, it is important to know that the key to healthy weight loss is to make lifestyle changes in diet and physical activity habits.
For example eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grain, low-fat milk and milk products and lean protein. Control portion sizes. Engage in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity on most days of the week — the amount of activity needed for weight loss.
I also know that this is a challenge for a lot of people, however, even a small change in the right direction can over time make a difference. If you are interested in learning more on how to aim for a healthy weight by making better choices please contact the Franklin County Extension Office, 695-9035.
References: Schiff, W. J. (2009). Nutrition for healthy living. (pp. 37-47). New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill. Red Flag Bogus Weight Loss Claims: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/redflag/index.html.
Source: Ingrid Adams, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture