Weight Loss Scams

Most weight loss scams are the same - they promise weight loss with little effort. A lot of people are looking for an easy way to lose weight with little or no effort. They are excited by pills, patches, body wraps and creams because it sounds effortless.

The scammers take advantage of this by offering products that promise quick, easy weight loss, or 'lose weight while you sleep', or 'finally, weight loss without dieting' or 'lose all the weight you want, while you can eat anything you want'!

Every year new  weight loss books appear at the bookstands, new breakthroughs appear on the internet, and magazines run articles on how to lose weight. It is a growing business and there are estimates that it is a 40 billion dollar business in the USA.

Even with the abundance of diets and dieting information, increasing numbers of people are becoming obese!

Some people do achieve weight loss, but almost all regain the weight they lost.

It doesn't matter what the type of diet it is - fat burners, cellulite pills, fat absorbers, wonder bark from Brazil, Acai berries, creatine, algae, crab shells, fat blockers, garcinia cambogina, calcium pyruvate - they are all selling hope.

The weight loss scams exploit the fact people are looking for that 'easy' way to lose weight so they offer great results without having to do any extra exercise or even having to modify what you eat.

Celebrities are often used to endorse the products, however they usually use the product with a strict diet and exercise regime.

Some diets may result in a short-term weight loss, however if it is not accompanied with a better diet and physical activity, any weight loss [usually water or muscle] will return.

Red Flags to Indicate Weight Loss Scams

According to the Federal Trade Commission, a claim is to good to be true if it says the product will:

  • Causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month, or more without dieting or exercise
  • Causes substantial weight loss, no matter what or how much the consumer eats
  • Causes permanent weight loss [even when the consumer stops using the product]
  • Blocks the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight
  • Safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks
  • Causes substantial weight loss for all users
  • Causes substantial weight loss by wearing it on the body or rubbing it into the skin

Further warning signs of weight loss scams include:

  • Uses terms such as 'scientific breakthrough', 'miracle', 'revolutionary' or 'secret formula' to describe their product
  • Claims you can lose weight without exercising or changing your diet
  • Promises fast, easy or permanent weight loss
  • Lacks scientific evidence to prove its claims and relies heavily on testimonials that usually can't be verified. Some of the testimonials may be from people selling the product
  • The product is not sold through normal retail outlets but relies on the Internet, multi-level marketing or mail order
  • Claims to remove fat from certain areas of your body such as your thighs
weight loss scams


  • There is currently no scientifically-proven way to lose weight without restricting diet or with exercise
  • This Federal Trade Commission link states that weight loss scams were the number 1 scam in 2007 and that of the 30.2 million adults in the United States [13% of the population] that were victims of fraud, 4.8 million were the victim of fraudulent weight-loss products.
  • If you think you need to lose weight, you should discuss the options with a health care professional such as a physician or dietician, as some of the weight loss scams can have serious consequences for your health

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