Don't you wish they were real? Those weight loss supplements, the drinks that supposedly melt fat away…
Why can't just one of them work?
Why do we continuously fall for these grandiose claims only to find out later that it never worked in the first place.
The Real Dangers In Quick Fix Solutions
Americans spend $61 billion on weight-loss products every year. And they spend a full $2 billion on weight loss pills alone.
Americans are desperate to lose weight, but they want to lose it fast and easy.
And they're willing to spend anything to do it.
One of the most famous TV doctors, Dr oz, is routinely in lawsuits, losing millions of dollars because he falsely claims these new products are the one that will actually work.
Why do we fall for these false claims? Is it just because someone with a doctor title is attached to it?
And it's not just that these quick-fix solutions don't work. They actually do, in a very tiny sense. Oh, it's not enough to actually make you lose weight, not more than a pound or two.
The real problem comes when these solutions create more health problems.
One of the most famous examples is the raspberry ketones, which caused heart attacks.
An almost $6 million settlement over green coffee beans landed Dr. Oz and significant trouble.
Yet more and more come out every year.
And more and more people get sick and die because of it.
Why Do We Fall For The Quick Fix
Most people never notice they're gaining weight until it becomes a tipping point. That pair of jeans won't fit or the dress doesn't look right – something triggers people into needing to lose weight right now.
The problem is, weight gain and weight loss do not happen fast. It takes time, creeping slowly.
It takes a lot of work to get it off, a combination of diet and exercise.
But as much as people want to lose weight, do they want to put in the work it takes to lose the weight?
If we look at the $61 billion spent – no, they want something else to do the work for them.
Does it sound familiar to you?
What Goes Wrong
Weight loss supplements fall under the supplement category and can make claims with some science to back it up. That's why they can say the product was proven in clinical trials.
These supposed clinical trials lend credibility to various products that only work under specific circumstances. But these clinical trials aren't actually clinical trials. They're more case reports and anecdotal reports, precursors to actual studies that can lead to looking for better solutions and innovative ideas.
Some studies are truly biased, forcing and manipulating the results to match what needs sold.
A massive review of dietary supplements was put together by Srividya Kidambi, an associate professor and chief of endocrinology and molecular medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. This review was published in the journal Obesity.
Kidami found in nearly 2000 articles on dietary supplements, searching them for large test groups, a double-blind study, and positive results. Only 16 of these articles matched her criteria.
The FDA allowed this type of wiggle room so supplement companies can communicate what various supplements do. This is important, otherwise you would never know about bacopa, astragalus, and even echinacea.
You wouldn't be here reading about the different types of supplements, herbs, lifestyle tips, and other information if everything required double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.
Those types of studies are very expensive, and natural products do not produce big revenue. When a supplement only costs a couple of pennies versus a prescription they can charge hundreds of dollars for, the money just isn't there for natural products.
Not All Quick Fixes Are Scams
What makes matters difficult is many of these products do have studies behind them. They do work in very isolated ways.
Some natural products have very good studies behind them, but not in the weight loss field. The bacopa, ashwagandha, and echinacea we recommended earlier all have dozens of clinical trials behind them to show they work for specific things.
But none of those are weight loss supplements.
How To Recognize A Quick Fix
Take a look at who's promoting the quick fix. That's one of the fastest ways to determine whether something works or not. Celebrity endorsements, popular doctors, and big names are your first clue this might only be a snake oil.
It's a lot cheaper to pay a celebrity to say nice things than paying for a clinical study.
If it's a natural product, it should have a long history of being used in traditional medicines. Bacopa is very unusual in the US, but in Asia, it has thousands of years of history. Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in India. Europe and North America have used echinacea for hundreds and thousands of years.
Raspberry ketones? They're a new invention.
Finally, take a look at the price point. If you're getting a special introductory offer, the price is going to go way up. Good supplements are not cheap, but they're also not going to drain you of your finances.
Next time you see one of the quick fixes, ask yourself who's promoting it and why all of a sudden it's so new and exciting.
Save your money, some weight loss supplements will help you lose weight, but only if you put in the work to have a healthy diet and good exercise.