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5 Huge Weight Loss Scams That Cost People Millions Of Dollars

Free Image - Pixabay — by Adrian Cruce
Free Image - Pixabay — by Adrian Cruce

So many people from around the world want to lose weight now so it should be no surprise to see numerous “entrepreneurs” try to take advantage of this. As summer gets closer new products appear. Many of them promise the world and deliver nothing. Weight loss fraud is a serious thing right now, especially in countries like USA where obesity is a huge problem.

FTC (Federal Trade Commission) assistant director Richard Cleland declared:

In terms of advertising issues, weight loss fraud is one of the top priorities for the Federal Trade Commission. It’s very lucrative for scammers…you’ve got an audience that is susceptible to being scammed and a fairly sophisticated group of marketers that are very adept of taking advantage of them.

This practically means that scams are going to appear. We need to protect ourselves. While the best way to do this is to trust just reputable sources, learning about the big weight loss scams of the past is helpful.

The scams below were incredibly “successful”. Millions of dollars were spent on weight loss programs that just do not work.

Sensa Miracle Food “Enhancing” Powder

by Adrian Cruce
by Adrian Cruce

The Sensa weight loss scam was incredible. It is one of the biggest ever, with sales reaching $364 million between the years 2008 and 2012. The claim was that when you sprinkle the powder on your meal you end up feeling fuller faster. This means you lose weight without having to diet as you will eat less food.

A big part of the problem was endorsement from Dr. Alan Hirsch. He added legitimacy to a product that was simply not supported by ANY scientific evidence. The scam was really elaborate as expensive advertising was bought and some consumers were paid up to $5000 to endorse Sensa.

The result for most buyers: Absolutely nothing!

Caffeine-Infused Underwear That Destroys Fat Cells

by Adrian Cruce
by Adrian Cruce

Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters launched shapewear claiming that it will help lose weight. The claim was that the underwear was “infused with micro-encapsulated caffeine”, together with other ingredients. This was supposed to reduce cellulite.

Basically, you would wear something called iPants and you would lose weight since the underwear destroys fat cells and reduces thigh measurements. Such garments cost up to $85 and were sold at big stores like Bloomingale’s and Macy’s.

The result for most buyers: Placebo!

Homeopathic Drops With Human Placenta Hormone

by Adrian Cruce
by Adrian Cruce

It seems that you mention the word “hormone” and people get crazy. They become eager to give you money and you do not have to prove anything that you claim. This is exactly what happened with HCG drops that were promoted as a fast way to lose weight. The product in question was called HCG Platinum and all marketers that made the false claims had to pay $1 million in damages. These were drops sold on the internet but also at stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid and GNC.

HCG stands for “human chorionic gonadotropin”. Unfortunately, this hormone was fraudulently presented as a highly effective weight loss ingredient for a long time now. Everything that you see with HCG in it is not going to help you.

Green Coffee Extract Backed By “The Dr. Oz Show”

by Adrian Cruce
by Adrian Cruce

Not everything with the label “green” helps you to lose weight. This is, perhaps, the most important lesson here. Applied Food Sciences (AFS) created a green coffee extract that promised to help people lose a lot of weight fast. The company even did a study to back their claim. The problem is the study was created in such a way that the desired conclusion will appear.

Applied Food Sciences claimed that a product called Green Coffee Antioxidant will help people lose “10.5% body weight, 16% body fat and 17.7 pounds”. All this was allegedly possible in just 22 weeks without exercising or dieting. While AFS did not market the study on The Dr. Oz Show, it did praise the publicity received.

Green coffee does have different benefits people should know. Helping you to lose weight while you eat burritos on your couch and watch Game Of Thrones is not one of them.

Slimming Cream Inspired By Lobsters

by Adrian Cruce
by Adrian Cruce

Sorry but if you were tricked by something like this, you deserve it. The premise is weird and you should immediately start asking question. The product in question was Shrinking Beauty, a cream by DERMAdoctor. If you decided to pay $58 for just 5 ounces you would:

  • reduce measurements up to one inch in two weeks” – this was supposed to be “clinically proven”
  • improve the appearance of cellulite, smooth and tighten skin

This was possible because the formula was simulating the way in which lobsters shrink their bodies. DERMAdoctor actually said that in their add for HEALTH magazine.

The big problem here is that the product had absolutely zero weight loss implications. Shrinking Beauty is still available on the market but now it clearly states right on its label: “not intended for weight loss.”

Morale of the story: if someone tells you that your body can act like another animal’s body, you better call a doctor as someone needs some help.

Final Thoughts

There are thousands of weight loss products on the market that do not work. You lose money when you buy them and scams will always appear because most people want to lose weight fast without doing much. The bottom line is that when you want to lose weight you need to:

  • Work out
  • Eat right
  • Get plenty of sleep

Weight loss supplements are meant to help you but they cannot do miracles. Also, when you lose weight to fast, it is not healthy and there is a very big possibility you are going to get it back with something extra. If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is just a scam.

This article was originally published on @crucea