Weight-loss scams and warning signsNote: Before trying any weight-loss plan, product or approach, it is important that you speak with a healthcare provider.

Weight-loss scams, advertisements and programs are popping up everywhere this time of year. Not to mention, many people are starting 2021 wanting to address pandemic-related weight gain after a tough year navigating Coronavirus (COVID-19).

And the diet industry knows this. That’s why the coming months are sure to be filled with products, programs and services that promise simple weight-loss solutions. With millions of people hyper-focused on weight and health, especially in the wake of COVID-19, businesses around the world are seeing an opportunity for money and exposure.

However, many of these weight-loss “solutions” are not backed by science and have little credibility. Some can even be dangerous. In most cases, they cost people time and energy and often only lead to disappointment when things don’t work out.

Here are a few red flags to watch for if you’re concerned about weight management.

Warning Signs for Weight-Loss Scams

“Targets that Hard-to-Shed Belly Fat”

Many companies advertise that their product or program will help you shed stubborn belly fat so you can “look and feel your best.” However, you can’t control where you lose weight. The best-known way to see change in target areas is to combine a healthy diet with exercise that includes both aerobic and muscle-strengthening workouts.

No Research, Only Testimonials

If you can’t find research about a product or program, but you can find emotional testimonies and plenty of before-and-after photos, that’s a red flag. Many of these stories are falsely created so a company can easily get in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Lose Weight and Eat What You Want!

Any healthy and realistic plan, program or routine should emphasize balanced eating. While it’s okay to eat certain foods mindfully and in moderation, it is equally important for nutritious foods to have a consistent place in your diet and meal plan.

Exaggerated Language

Some products or programs use exaggerated language such as “breakthrough treatment” or “first of its kind” to lure consumers in. While magical solutions and scientific breakthroughs for weight-loss may sound impressive, and tempting, be cautious of these grand claims. Sustained weight-loss is usually only possible with dedicated lifestyle changes.

Quick and Easy Weight-loss

If a product or program promises you will drop pounds quickly with little effort, consider it a warning sign. Fast weight-loss is often not sustainable and such claims often dismiss the likelihood of weight regain later on. Weight-loss is also hard work and to keep it off, you need consistent healthy habits that come from making lifestyle changes.

Guaranteed to Work for Everyone

There is a lot of variation in how people lose weight. Weight-loss can be affected by your biology, environment, circumstances, and even gender. In other words, there is no “one size fits all” approach to weight-loss or weight management that works for everyone.

The Bottom Line

The promise of weight-loss can be appealing, especially this time of year and for those who have constantly struggled with weight. While testing the waters to see what approach might work for you, don’t get caught up in grand promises or sneaky language. It is important to be an informed consumer and do extensive research on a product or program before trying it. It will save you time, money, and possibly even preventable health issues later on.

For more information on navigating your weight-loss options, click here.