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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Modern Day Snake Oil Salesmen

You can hardly log onto social media without seeing a post regarding weight loss. Promoters claim they will make you fit for the summer season by way of body wraps, 24 day cleanses, and popping magic fat burning pills that boast no research to back their claims. However, fad diets are not new. As early as the 1800s, individuals were selling cure all patent medicines from traveling caravans that guaranteed a slimmer figure. In the 1920s, Lucky brand cigarettes famously coined the term “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet,” which lead to a boost in the companies sells on the pretense of weight loss. Even now in 2015, modern day charlatans are attempting the same ploys by selling products filled with unknown substances and promising weight loss with no research backing the claims. So how safe are these products promising Victoria’s Secret abs in less than a month?

One popular product on the market is the It Works body wrap system. According to the It Works website, the wraps claim to shrink, tighten, and tone problem areas with results appearing after the first 45 minute wrap session. That sounds like a dream come true, right? According to the Inc. 500 list, the company was ranked number 290 among 2014s fasted growing companies. However, a high number of merchandise sells does not mean the products are healthy. The It Works website states that the body wraps pull toxins from the cells which subsequently make the fat cells shrink in size, but results are temporary and claim to only last approximately 30 days. Taking into account that a box of four wraps can cost as much as $99.00, this is certainly not a cheap alternative to buying healthy foods. The wraps are also not FDA approved. So while the wraps might be harmless, there are no solid scientific studies backing their all natural ingredients claim or product safety.

Another commonly promoted product line is AdvoCare. The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge offers a 10 day cleanse followed by a 14 day maximum results phase. The cleanse time frame is designed to rid your body of toxins and water weight in preparation for maximum weight loss. Essentially, it is 10 days of drinks and supplements that are no more than overpriced laxatives. The max period that follows offers a nutrition plan of lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, and more daily supplements. There are hardly any fruits or dairy products listed in the suggested menu, and again, the diet plan is not FDA approved. The entire course of products will also set you back approximately $200, plus tax and shipping.

If none of the products are backed by proven scientific research, then why is the fad diet industry still thriving? Because we are all guilty of desiring instant results and wanting things the moment we decide we want them. Fast food, fast money, and fast weight loss are popular because delayed gratification is not in human nature and difficult to learn. But as the saying goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The only healthy way to lasting weight loss is through sustained changes to diet and exercise.


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