There are over 300 million people living in the United States. Roughly 68 percent of those people, over 170 million people, are overweight or obese. About 60 million people in the United States go on a diet each year which leaves 110 million people doing nothing about their weight. Five percent of the 60 million dieters manage to keep the weight off.
While some of the reasons people can’t keep the weight off is because they lack discipline or guidance, a leading reason is misleading advertising and “money grab” diet programs. These programs offer amazing results fast, but most of them do not recommend dieters reduce calorie intake or exercise. People buy the diet program and when it fails assume it was their fault and not the diet. Typically, dieters blame themselves because the people selling the diet program have glowing testimonials on their website or a celebrity in their commercials. The conclusion for most dieters is they need a different program because this one just won’t work for them.
Consider for a moment that Slim-Fast sold to Unilever in 2000 for $2.3 billion. Jenny Craig has been in the weight loss game since the 1980s. NutriSystem, in it’s infancy, offered programs that limited people to 500 calories per day which would lead to malnutrition before venturing into prepackaged foods. Despite so many of the top diets being older than the internet, the US population still gains weight. The number of obese people in the US climbs each year as do the profits for all the top diet companies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66 percent of Americans are searching for a weight control or weight loss method that will work. Weight loss programs and chain stores scored over $750 million in 2000 and, 17 years later, the US population still has an obesity problem.
I’m not saying all diet programs are a scam. Some programs do work, but cannot promise rapid weight loss so they get lost in the advertising. The truth is simple: weight loss will not be fast. The fast weight loss many people experience on a new diet is simply water leaving the body. No actual fat is lost. After this water is gone, the weight loss slows and people get discouraged and ultimately conclude they need another weight loss program when all they need is accurate information.
A weight loss program that offers rapid results should be viewed with a wary eye. A good weight loss program will include nutrition and exercise programs. There should be an intake consultation or some way to determine which nutrition and exercise programs are right for you. Cookie cutter diet programs are hit and miss. Every body is different and should be treated that way. Nutrition programs and exercise programs should be tailored to your body and your goals.
In a report to the Federal Trade Commission, Dr. George Blackburn examined weight loss from the point of view of a person seeking weight loss help and the advertisers claiming amazing results. Weight loss programs were found to be luring customers with exaggerations and lies. Of 300 sampled ads, the report shows that 65 percent used testimonials that claimed such things as losing over 40 pounds in 30 days or claimed to be able to help customers lose 10 pounds per week. Of 195 testimonials examined, the average weight loss was 70 pounds. While this may sound great, it is not possible and if it were it would not be healthy. Losing 40 pounds in 30 days is possible if you remove a leg or both arms possibly, but not from a pill or diet program.
Diet plans are expensive. Forbes magazine compared ten popular diet programs in 2005. They found the average price of buying food from plans such as Jenny Craig, NutriSystem and Slim Fast came to around $85 a week. This leads many people to believe eating healthy is expensive since most of the information they have is from advertising. In reality, a family of four can eat healthy on $50 a week.
While this article may seem disheartening, that is not its purpose. If you are one of the 170 million people that are overweight in the US, you should be concerned, and seeking ways to reduce your weight. There are great weight loss programs out there. Hopefully some of the information above will help you see through the misleading ads and find a program that will work for your body.