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Monday poll: Crazy diet schemes

February 23, 2009

Via diet-blog. The Office of Fair Trading in the UK has come up with what I think is a wonderful way to combat online weight-loss scammers by creating their own ridiculous weight loss products. These fake products have names like Fat Foe and Glucobate and the ads use the same vaguely scientific-ish language combined with completely outrageous claims as to the potency of the products that you see in real ads. However, when you click to order these products, you are directed to a page which gives you some helpful hints for spotting diet scams.

It’s tempting to wonder who in the hell is purchasing a lot of the diet stuff I see on television and the internet. However, believing that a pill can cause magic fat loss isn’t that different from believing that a particular combination of foods can cause magic fat loss. The latter might have some tiny kernel of truth (like the inefficiency of protein metabolism or that eating a lot of fiber might help decrease total caloric intake) but the claims are never “this diet helps lower total intake which will lead to weight loss”. They’re always “magic fat-burning!!!!”

So I’m wondering what kind of weight-loss products you’ve tried. Pills, creams, magic electrical fat jiggling devices? I can’t include even a tenth of the products out there so I’m going with those I remember most clearly. And, this does not include OTC appetite suppressants or stimulants. If you’ve tried some stuff not on the poll, tell me about it in the comments.

For my part, I’ve tried magic fiber shakes, metabolife and most mainstream diets. Amazingly, none of them worked.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    February 23, 2009 1:46 pm

    I’ve done the Ayds candy (back in the late 60’s/early 70’s), Slimfast, Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, Jenny Craig, amphetamines (doctor-prescribed), phen-fen, and WLS (and the metabolife and medifast). None of it worked for permanent weight loss, and made me fatter than I would have been had I never done any of it, not to mention most of it cost me money I couldn’t afford to spend on something that didn’t work.

    • February 24, 2009 2:09 am

      …not to mention most of it cost me money I couldn’t afford to spend on something that didn’t work.

      That’s what really makes me angry. People are spending millions/billions on these products. At the very least, I don’t see why they can’t be regulated more strongly. Like, their claims have to be based on some kind of accepted scientific principles. It seems like as long as they include a disclaimer about the results not being typical or how you need to combine their product with dieting and exercise, then they can sell you any useless thing they want.

      I’d be interested in knowing how the whole ‘dietary supplement’ loophole came about in the first place.

  2. February 23, 2009 6:16 pm

    I only remember amphetamines (over the counter) during my early teenage years. They made me crazy, I’d play piano all day long, play cards after the parents went to sleep, and go for midnight jogs. Good thing (or maybe not so good) that the parents didn’t pay much attention to me. Fortunately I’m at an age (and have learned enough science) that I know a scam when I see it.

    • February 24, 2009 2:13 am

      I took an ephedra-based product a handful of times -it’s driving me crazy that I can’t remember the name of the stuff- but it made me feel awful, just awful.

      Learning science is really helpful especially since so many in the diet industry purposely, I think, make basic principles sound really really complex. I think they hope people will just shrug and believe it’s all too complex for them to understand.

  3. February 24, 2009 12:17 am

    I did liquid protein once, in the 80s. Skipped over the other stuff. I’m too cheap and squeamish for surgery, and dislike pills. WW did not fall under the crazy category for me, since it worked (for me) and I can live with it while preserving my health and social life (the gold standard for livability).

    • February 24, 2009 2:17 am

      The only time I tried WW was as a kid (like, 8 years old) so I don’t have any first hand knowledge of it as an adult, but it is the only commercial weight-loss plan that has worked over the long run for people I know IRL.

      I didn’t care for it, but I think that an 8 year old doesn’t and shouldn’t be expected to have the resources to completely change her diet and lifestyle on her own. It has to come from the whole family changing their lifestyle, I think. Having junk in the house constantly but being expected to ignore it in favor of carrot sticks? Yeah, not going to happen.

  4. February 24, 2009 12:39 am

    OMG, Vesta, I forgot about the Ayds candy! A huge thing our little social circle. I don’t think they make it anymore. They used to do the big, full page ads with sad stories, and how your life was miraculously changed by eating a candy ahead of your meals.

  5. February 25, 2009 12:49 pm

    I used these slimming chocolates at work that were past sell by but not use by. They did not work at all, except I guess they had less calories than other chocolate. I have also bought Mega-T green tea capsules, which do work to suppress my appetite (like any caffeine) but when I ran out I didn’t buy any more because they made me caffeinated all the time.

  6. Cherri permalink
    March 17, 2009 2:11 am

    I swiped my sisters ayds candies back when I was 12 and weighed 189 lbs. When I was 13 I weighed 107. Now I’m 240 at age 43 and was looking to find these candies again. 😦 Does anyone know what company made them? I so wish they were still around!! They always get rid of the good stuff! 😦

    • March 17, 2009 5:53 am

      Apparently, they took a dive in the early 80s, because the name for that diet food bore an uncomfortable resemblence to the name of a wasting disease. Live by the sword…

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