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Trying to lose 5 or 50 pounds? The following information will be helpful: The Federal Trade Commission has released a list of seven weight-loss claims that are never true.
The list is part of the FTC’s updated “guidance for publishers and broadcasters on how to spot phony weight-loss claims when screening ads for publication.”
“It’s the law – and it’s always been the law – that before companies can run ads for weight-loss products, they need scientific proof to support objective claims their ads make,” the FTC says. The FTC — humorously or not — called its updated guidance the “gut check.”
You might think these types of claims by advertisers are obviously outrageous and false, but there are actually people who fall for them. Don’t you be among them.
Here are the seven false claims, paraphrased by us:
- You can lose 2 or more pounds a week for a month or more without diet or exercise if you use this product. Come on. You know that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less or become more active or both. There’s no shortcut.
- You can eat whatever you want and still lose lots of weight. A variation on this claim is: “Need to lose 20, 30, 40 pounds or more? Eat your fill of all the foods you crave and watch the weight disappear!”
- Your weight loss from using this fabulous product will be permanent, even when you’re no longer taking/using it.
- It keeps your body from absorbing fat/calories so you’ll lose lots of weight. The FTC explains: “Without lifestyle changes, no over-the-counter product can block enough fat or calories to cause the loss of lots of weight. To work, even legitimate ‘fat blockers’ must be used with a reduced-calorie diet.“
- You can lose more than 3 pounds a week for more than four weeks – and do it safely, with no potential ill effects to your health.
- Everyone who uses this loses tons of weight.
- If you wear this or rub it on your skin, you’ll lose lots of weight. “So weight-loss claims for patches, creams, lotions, wraps, body belts, earrings, and the like are false,” the FTC says.
The FTC has also set up a “teaser” website that you may come across while looking for weight-loss cures online. It features a phony product called FatFoe. When you try to order it, the site will explain why you shouldn’t believe any of the claims that were made. Hopefully this will serve as an educational experience for you.