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Have You Ever Failed a Weight Loss Supplement?

Tim Boyer's picture
Saying no to some supplements

Sure, we’ve had weight loss supplements fail us, but have you personally ever failed a weight loss supplement? Here’s some need-to know-info on just why and how you should and can make it a habit to fail one.


While browsing through some internet health news I came across one website that had some useful advice on how to keep your kid from becoming obese. What caught my attention, however, was a single link to a recommended weight loss supplement in the article.

Clinking on the link I was then transported to a review of the product by the same writer of that same site that gave a glowing—but otherwise relatively restrained—advertisement on this particular weight loss supplement and what it could do for you. I felt myself drawn favorably to their product—after all, it came recommended by the health news site and had a “5-star rating.”

However, a nagging suspicion surfaced when I noticed the name of the website was nearly identical to that of some well-known sites that alert consumers to both good and bad products. This site―although it looked and read like one of them―wasn’t one of them. In other words, I almost fell into a clever marketing scheme.

A little deeper look into the named supplement justified my suspicions when I came across a website that advertises itself as one that evaluates diet pills. In fact, it gave a poor review of the suspicious supplement. But wait. This site now has a link to ITS recommended weight loss supplement. Holy Cow! What’s going on here?! Here’s a site that portrays itself as a consumer watchdog type that disavows another site’s product, but in turn is promoting another supplement in turn.

As it turned out, the watchdog site belongs to a competing supplement company, and a subsequent follow-up of the second site’s supplement revealed that it too has less scientific backing than the first supplement. Again, I almost fell for a clever marketing scheme.

The point of all of this is that supplement marketing is getting increasingly clever in how they try to lure customers into buying their products. Posing as heath sites, watchdog sites, using flashy video commercials equal to those used by the pharmaceutical industry during the evening news on TV, etc. make it that much harder to tell the real thing from a bogus product.

How Do You Know It’s Fraudulent and Merits a “Fail”?

To help consumers detect fraudulent supplement advertisements here are a few recommendations posted by the FDA:

Watch out for these claims:

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One product does it all. Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases.

Personal testimonials. Success stories such as “It cured my diabetes,” or “My tumors are gone,” are easy to make up and are not a substitution for scientific evidence.

Quick fixes. Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, even with legitimate products. Beware of language such as “lose 30 pounds in 30 days,” or “eliminates skin cancer in days.”

“All natural.” Some plants found in nature can kill if you eat them. Plus, FDA has found products promoted as “all natural” that contain hidden and dangerously high doses of prescription drug ingredients.

Miracle cure. Alarms should go off when you see this claim or others like it such as “new discovery” or “scientific breakthrough.” A real cure for a serious disease would be all over the media and prescribed by doctors—not buried in print ads, TV infomercials, or on Internet sites.

FDA-Approved. Domestic or imported dietary supplements are not approved by FDA

And one additional recommendation: If the supplement advertised does not provide a link to a scientific study or clinical trial report that supports what they are selling or the product's active ingredient, then give that product a “FAIL” because in all likelihood they would list it if it existed.

For more about weight loss supplement info from a trusted source, here is why Consumer Reports Advises Against Taking Diet Pills. And for weight loss advice that goes beyond supplements, here is Your Weight Loss Guide for 2016.

FDA.gov “Beware of Products Promising Miracle Weight Loss

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