How to Spot (and Avoid) a Gimmick or Scam Diet Plan

According to a report last May on ABC’s 20/20 Americans spend 20 billion dollars each year supporting the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.

Because scams and gimmicks are marketed especially heavily this time of year I thought I would share a few tips for some red flag things to look for next time you hear about the latest greatest “diet” or “magic pill”.

10 Ways To Spot a Scam Diet From a Mile Away:

  1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix
  2. No mention of exercise or physical activity
  3. Claims that sound too good to be true
  4. Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study
  5. Recommendations based on a single study or testimonial
  6. žDramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations
  7. žRecommendations made to help sell a product
  8. žRecommendations based on studies published without review by other researchers
  9. žEliminating 1 or more of the food groups
  10. Rigid menus or unlimited quantities of any one food, e.g.. Grapefruit or Cabbage soup diet

So, what should you look for when thinking about making positive changes to your health and shedding a few pounds.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before embarking on your weight loss journey:

  1. Is there a registered dietitian involved?
  2. Does it promise moderate weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week?
  3. Does it allow you to eat foods from all the food groups (fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, meat, and dairy foods?)
  4. Does it encourage permanent behavior change and exercise?

Remember, despite everything the diet and supplement industry has heavily impressed upon us, being healthy and reaching our desired weight does not have to be about crazy gimmicks and deprivation.  The best way to reach your goals and maintain them is to take them one small step at a time.

To see the ABC report click here: