Beware Easy Weight Loss Promises

February 17, 2011

scaleIf you spend any amount of time listening to the radio or watching television chances are you’re seen those ads promising some new way to lose weight easy and effortlessly. While their promises are appealing, resist the temptation to waste time or energy on these quick fixes.

One example that comes to mind are the various programs touting the power of hCG. This hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin, is generated by the placenta during pregnancy and is the same compound that causes a positive result on a pregnancy test.

Advocates claim this hormone stimulates metabolism, reduces appetite, balances hormones, and a variety of other things. But when you look closer, the diet plans that accompany these hGC programs are likely what leads to any weight loss. Many are dangerously low in calories, 500 or so a day, and do not meet even the minimum nutrition a person’s body needs.

Like anyone following a 500-calorie-a-day diet would, people on these plans do tend to lose weight rapidly, which leads them to believe the diet is working. Unfortunately what they are losing is mostly muscle and water, not fat. Worse, this severe calorie restriction triggers the body’s starvation response, slowing metabolism and leading to rebound weight gain once a person stops following the plan.

Even more sinister, there is a very real risk that the injections or oral suspension containing hCG that people are being given could carry HIV, hepatitis, or any number of pathogens that can be passed by bodily fluids because many of these “dietary aids” are being made from the urine of pregnant women who have not been screened for these illnesses.

Another weight loss “advance” that comes to mind is the so-called fat melting laser. When the devices first came out, I was contacted by a company promoting them and given a device for free to try it out. Like the plan above, the laser treatments were to be paired with a low-calorie diet, this time 800 calories per day.

When I compared two groups of volunteer patients, one who followed the diet and had the laser treatments and one who had the laser treatments alone, what we found was that those on the diet lost weight and inches while those having the laser treatments alone did not lose any weight or inches.

Once again, as much as I hoped it would work, these results led me to believe it wasn’t the laser but the calorie reduction that caused the weight loss and inches lost so I returned the device. Also like the plan mentioned above, the diet plan that accompanied the treatments was not a balanced one, nor did the program address any of the core issues contributing to the person’s weight issue.

And these are just two examples of many such plans, products, and devices currently on the market that promise a quick-and-easy weight loss solution. Don’t be fooled and don’t fall prey to the clever marketing for these expensive “solutions” that could endanger your health.

If you want to lose weight, it is possible. But don’t look for the easiest, quickest way. Take the steps needed to lose your excess weight healthfully, permanently, and safely. In the end you’ll get the results you want and, more importantly, results that will last.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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Comments (11)

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