The Diet Industry: A Big Fat Lie

Consumers spend a ton of cash on weight-loss products, programs, and literature, and get little or nothing in return. Pro or con?

Pro: A Pound of Trash

Like psychic readers and astrology hotlines, the weight-loss industry sells hope to desperate people.

Americans spend $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products. They answer Jenny Craig’s enticement to “lose 20 pounds for just $20” (“plus the cost of food”) or Trimspa’s offer of a seven-day supply of chocolate Hoodia weight-loss supplements for $24.95.

We buy books and magazines that offer the insightful revelation that we overeat because we’re bored. There are publications that promote weight loss via “food combining” or a diet that corresponds to blood type.

Most offensive are alleged fitness experts who issue such advice as: “Keep your nose out of carrots, bunny. They’re full of sugar. Pears, too—pure sugar.” Meanwhile, they recommend chemical-laden diet soft drinks and salt-choked low-calorie frozen meals. (Thanks, but I’ll take my chances with fresh fruits and vegetables.)

In the end, the advice and products offer virtually no long-term return on investment—measured, of course, in pounds permanently lost. According to a 2006 study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, most people who participate in weight-loss programs “regain about one-third of the weight lost during the next year and are typically back to baseline in three to five years.”

But you didn’t need a scientific journal to tell you that. Even celebrities who can afford private chefs and trainers lapse back into comfortable habits and regain weight, so why would it be any different for the rest of us?

Allow me to enlighten you free of charge. Here’s why we overeat: Food tastes good, so we eat lots of it. Here’s why we gain weight: We take in more calories than we burn off. Here’s the only way to maintain weight loss: Eat less and exercise more for the rest of your life.

So stop trying to buy willpower. Go out and lose weight gratis if you like. Better yet, eat foods you enjoy, accept yourself the way you are, and stop feeding the diet industry’s false economy.

Con: Failure to Follow Through

There’s no getting around it: Diets don’t work for the vast majority of Americans. But before we add to the chorus of diet doubters, we need to consider why so many Americans gain back the weight. It’s easy to blame the diets, but it’s more accurate to blame the dieters.

In an on-demand culture of immediate gratification, the torturous grind of weight loss can be frustrating. We can’t rewind an emerging belly or fast-forward through two hours at the gym. “Americans are looking for that silver bullet,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietician and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Assn. “But they won’t change their behavior. That’s where the fault lies.”

Many Americans think diets should work like the Terminix man, a one-and-done deal to solve their weight problems. But diet programs are often up front about the challenge of losing weight permanently—and would prove well worth the money if only consumers followed through. If you check out Jenny Craig’s Web site you’ll find a multifaceted approach to weight loss that combines diet, exercise, and an extended weight-maintenance program. Similarly, Weight Watchers (WTW), whose motto is “Stop dieting; start living,” views weight loss as a lifelong undertaking.

Many diet programs market themselves as lifestyle choices, rather than silver bullets. Even the South Beach and Atkins diets—often dismissed as fads—are designed to be permanent. The South Beach Diet requires followers to stay on a protracted maintenance phase to make their eating changes last a lifetime. Even the notorious Atkins Diet—often caricaturized as a two-week binge on sirloin and cheese—is intended as a years-long plan to reduce carbohydrate intake.

The $40 billion Americans spend on diet plans each year is a weighty amount, for sure. But those billions represent aspirations rather than effort. Dieters who want to fit into thinner jeans for more than a few months or years need to find a diet plan that will fit into their lifestyle for just as long. If we’re wasting billions of dollars on fruitless diets, it’s likely the fault lies not with Jenny but with ourselves.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

random

For those who think the diet industry offers good products, take a look at the fine print during supplement commercials. The average weight lost with diet pills is about 11 pounds over three months. You can shed that much weight by switching to diet soda and eating more seafood. And yet, you're being invited to pay $60 to get a negligible result by a doctor who over 90 days went from flab to bodybuilder (or adult film star) physique it takes terrestrial beings years to achieve. And seems to resemble a model you saw on another commercial.

I remember a commercial for one diet pill. It was advertised by a somber woman who evoked the impression that she was the manager of a morgue talking to police investigators rather then a model pitching a product. She proclaimed it to be such a powerful weight loss drug that only those with stomachs big enough to generate their own gravitational fields should consider using it. Then I looked at the fine print when she uttered the words "clinically proven to help you lose weight."

Care to guess how many pounds the participants in the study she quoted lost over a 60-day period? About 3.5 pounds. You can drink a quart of water, go to the bathroom a few times and weigh 3.5 pounds less. In fact, you can lose even more weight with a bowel movement. This drug is so powerful, that its effects amount to a rounding error in a clinical study. Anyone care to tell me that this is not a scam?

When it comes to Atkins, South Beach, and other fad diets, they're simply not designed to give you permanent results. The weight you lose and keep off with them is nothing to brag about. They're also very expensive, requiring you to shop for branded products or buy an endless supply of overpriced books with huge fonts and flashy graphics serving as page filler. The only diet that isn't an amateur's attempt to cash in on the 65% of the American public considered overweight or obese is to eat less and exercise more. Every study ever done on every diet in established medical journals says just that.

With the diet industry selling garbage, can we blame millions of dieters who feel burned out, disillusioned, and angry after achieving no results? Can we really blame them for going back to their old ways in frustration?

The heavily advertised meal replacement programs that deliver all your meals to your door are essentially the same as the food you would ordinarily cook and eat at home. The only difference is that the portions are smaller and they use less hydrogenated fat and starch in preparation. That's all. You could do that by using a few tablespoons of olive oil and going easy on the cornmeal and deep fried snacks.

If you really want to lose a lot of weight, eat your meals from smaller plates (to control your portions), pay attention to the nutritional information on any snacks or packaged food you buy, go to your local gym three or four times a week, and move around at home. Clean up, do the laundry, wash the dishes, go for a walk in a nearby park. That's it. According to the wise men and women in lab coats, this works better than any flashy and expensive diet promoted by books that resemble 300-page Us Weekly articles or any supplement pill with only God knows what in it pitched by scam artists.

GR

I agree with the pro arguments concerning the futility of crash diets.

TSP

I think both positions in this debate are valid. Most diet plans hawked by the weight loss industry are either common sense repackaged as science, or snake oil repackaged as science, but even the more legitimate approaches are only as good as the commitment of the person following them. And it's undeniable that the culture of American marketing that helped create the obesity epidemic is now seeking to profit from it by leveraging the crisis to move more products.

Another example of how the public is being manipulated is through "educational" or "reality" shows that feature the transformations of obese people who have had bariatric surgery. These procedures are held out as another quick fix--if you don't even want to stick it out with a diet--without any realistic portrayal of the dangers and long-term side effects. I recognize that this type of surgery has a place and has value for some people, but it is being marketed to the public, plain and simple (just as various forms of cosmetic surgery are on the "makeover" shows).

Obesity is a real problem in this country and it should be dealt with seriously, but we should also be wary of those who would prey upon our insecurities. As C.S. Lewis said, a person with an obsession has very little sales resistance.

sue

The only diet that ever worked for me was Weight Watchers. I think it was the combination of a balanced diet and peer pressure. But in the long run, I agree with pro. We're better off accepting ourselves as we are.

boyabouttown

The best way to reduce that extra luggage is to jog. It's really hard for me to understand why people go for slimming pills and weight-loss programs when all you have to do is join a gym or go for a long jog in the open fields. The amount of energy and money spent on all the fancy products would drastically decrease if we just flexed our muscles.

Botox or a facial makeover is understandable. I can understand some people's drive to look better, and going through cosmetic surgery does make sense. But to use weight-loss products sounds pure nonsensical to me.

Jimmy Moore

Thank you for pointing out something that I have often told people about my own 180-pound weight loss success in 2004 on the Atkins diet. If you simply go on a diet and forget to let the lessons you learned become your permanent and healthy lifestyle change, then it will fail you. It's almost guaranteed!

But if you implement these strategies into your life and adapt what works for you (low-fat, low-carb, Weight Watchers, whatever), then there's no reason you can't be a long-term weight-loss success like me. I've been livin' la vida low-carb for four years and counting--and the weight is still off of me.

sunetra

I have tried Atkins, South Beach, and Weight Watchers. They all worked for me. But the weight did come back. So lifestyle changes, eating using commonsense, and exercising is the mantra for life.

It is our lifestyle requiring us to be chained to our cubicles and instant gratification that have made us fat. It is never too late to reverse it.

Joe

I agree with both sides. I'm obese myself, and in my experience three things helped the most:
1. Multi-use neighborhoods with real sidewalks.
2. No car.
3. Always sitting down to eat with family, friends, and coworkers.
Joe

Amanda Sedlacek

To date, I have lost 75 pounds with the use of Trimspa. Trimspa is the only thing that has worked for me. The Trimspa chocolate is a wonderful new product. Instead of just swallowing a pill, you actually enjoy the satisfaction of chocolate, which is something almost everyone loves. I do think that people should accept themselves for who they are and not get caught up in the hype of different fad diets, because it isn't good for your body. They should change their life. Trimspa is not just a pill; it's a way of life for many people who have succeeded at losing weight. Look at the testimonials yourself, and you will see what a huge impact it has had on so many people's lives. Once you drop weight, you automatically feel like getting out and exercising because you feel good. Trimspa is the only thing I have found to be truthful and reliable as to what it claims it can do for someone who is ready to change their life.

Cassie Tebo

My name is Cassie Tebo. At 197 pounds, I was headed down a lifelong road of high blood pressure, a compromised immune system, and a list of unhealthy things associated with obesity.

In the past, I had tried everything to lose weight; nothing worked. My frustration just added more pounds as food became my comfort. I was falling deeper into depression and further away from my goals. My low self-esteem was affecting my marriage, my relationship with my children, and my business.

I am proud to say that Trimspa has helped me lose more than 40 pounds. Trimspa X32 helped me control my appetite and lack of energy. That, determination, and discipline, combined with proper diet and exercise, is my formula for success.

Tona' Smith

I lost 23 pounds in 12 weeks with Trimspa. Overall I went from a size 16 to a 5. I will agree that most diet stuff doesn't work. But Trimspa worked for me. What I really like about it is it curbs your appetite. As I read earlier, why take products when you can eat less and work out? Well, I can work out, but I have a huge problem with eating less. As stated earlier also, food tastes so good, so we overeat. Well, that is where Trimspa came in and helped me out. Plus, I lost more weight taking the pill than with just diet and exercise alone. Trimspa has helped so many of us on the road to a better life, and they keep getting cut down. Well, we are the proof. We are all they need. So if you're still overweight and feel like you just can't overcome with diet and exercise alone, give it a try. Sure, it may not work for everyone, since everyone is different, but it has worked for a lot of us.

Marty Tillman

My name is Marty Tillman. I lost 69 pounds with Trimspa x-32, eating healthy, and exercise. Trimspa melted away inches, I didn't starve, and I didn't kill myself working out. I am 52 years old and a grandmother of seven. I was 187 pounds and just sick of it. Thanks to Trimspa, I went from a Size 18 to an almost Size 2. Trimspa took me back in time.

David Whitt

I myself was able to lose weight with a product made by Trimspa, I don't know why some are so dead set on downing these products. If it works, it works. As I said, I can't speak for the others, but I know that the product worked for me.

DALE BRAMALL

Let me weigh in on this subject. If people think they can take a pill and magically go from nearly 300 pounds to 180 pounds (like I did), then they should start their own fantasy camp and charge admission.

I used Trimspa to help curb my hunger while changing my eating habits and working out regularly.

Trimspa is a tool--a tool that allowed me to reach my fitness/health goals. If you wanted to build a fence, you would probably at least start with a hammer and nails (try building one without them).

I have to agree with the article's basic premise. You do have to get up off your butt, or your butt will never get off of you.

What separates us from most animals is that we use tools (even monkeys use tools); however, at least one difference between us and our distant hairy cousins is that they get enough exercise and don't have to spend billions to aid their quest for fitness.

Diane Rambow

I don't have a weight problem, never have (I'm 66). I was too poor to have anything but basic food--and being farmers, we had the type of food our body requires.

As the years went by, when my friends were putting on the pounds, I figured I'd just stick with my menu that had kept me slim and given me shiny hair and a bright complexion (never had pimples as a teen).

When money wasn't a problem, I still decided that good health was free to those who wanted it. I stuck with it. I have five grown children, all slim and healthy--they stick to the game plan.

I found a Web site called About.com. It sure is a great site for those who do have a problem (overweight or underweight). The tools are great; the people who've joined (close to 1 million) are giving support to one another (as well as encouragement).

The two founders of this site have since sold (in 2006), but they continue to make this a free site, and I think it's a wonderful service.

I've read the postings here; like the ones where they simply tell us to "keep moving." If you have interests (other than eating), keep busy (don't hire your housework done), and do things for yourselves, you'll save money and lose weight at the same time.

The Trimspa chocolate is nothing more than the Ayds chocolate that many used in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. If you need a quick fix, a teaspoon of honey will stop the hunger pang; it's good for you, and the calories aren't going to hurt you (unless you eat the whole jar).

People seem to be obsessed with food. Too bad they aren't as obsessed with honesty and being good parents, reliable employees, and honorable citizens of this country. The type of obsessions we now see at the forefront are the results of too much food, wanting too much money, and living too high on the hog (and the hog still is what they do and what they eat when they can't find a prime rib beef steak).

Thanks for making this board available.

Sean Kelly

I've been blogging about the abrupt closing of all 400 Pure Weight Loss (formerly LA Weight Loss) centers around the country, which left thousands of dieters facing the holiday punchbowl all by themselves--and thousands of employees jobless right at holiday time.

The hundreds of comments from stranded members at www.franchisepick.com [express] mostly their frustration at losing access to the program that was helping them and the money they may have lost second. I'm somewhat amazed at the positive testimonials about the program. I had figured it didn't work.

Elgin M

Diets don't work. I'll take that even further and say that diets can't work. Your genetics determine how you look, primarily. So, picking your parents is more pivotal than picking your carbs.

That's not to say that eating healthy and exercising are futile; your health will improve (though, again, genetics will temper or magnify this change). Your body type, however, is set in the stars for the most part. Diet and exercise will have a minimal effect on how you look, therefore.

You can take steroids, but doing so is illegal and physiologically damaging in the long run. Even then, your genes determine how you'll react to the steroids. In the end, you have to play the cards you're dealt and have modest expectations.

Ashish

The only way to lose weight and be fit at the same time is "exercise regularly and eat right." Period. And "eat right" has been proven for centuries by humans, and we don't need a special diet for that. Fried burgers, onion rings, candies, french fries, etc., are not good. We all know that, right? People eat salads and pour billions of gallons of dressing on them--come on, who are you kidding? Wake up and take yourself to the gym.

Marla Hayes

The "over counter cold medicines-a big fat lie." "The milk industry--a big fat lie." "The pharmaceutical companies and government--a big fat lie." I could make the list last all day long. For some reason, everyone wants to bash the diet supplement industry. First of all, I believe the only reporters allowed to investigate this field of business (yes, we all know it is a business; we weren't born yesterday) should have had to have been overweight or obese. I am tired of reporters and government officials pretending that we consumers are so unintelligent that we do not know what we are buying. I am sick of the unmotivated, undisciplined, and lazy consumers who buy these products and then claim they do not work and file lawsuits. That being said, I was one of the millions of obese Americans who was too stubborn or too ashamed to try an over the counter weight loss aide. I was lazy when it came to exercise. I was a glutton when it came to food. I bought into the belief that processed fast food was easier and more convenient than cooking healthy food from scratch.

I am guilty of teaching my children nothing about nutrition. My children, as a result of that, learned to feed their children unhealthy, processed, and fast food. This all adds to the alarming population of overweight, unhealthy Americans--which I am sure the pharmaceutical industry does not mind. And I am sure the health care business does not mind. The overweight, unhealthy Americans keep money in their pockets. I am happy to say, because of my example, my adult children have both started exercising and cooking whole fresh food at home for themselves, and their children are learning from both of our examples. I am more proud that I now give my grandchildren carrots and fresh broccoli to munch on when they want a snack instead of chips and cookies than I am of my weight reduction.

I lost 59 pounds with Trimspa. Trying for years to diet on my own did not work for me. I will never bash any weight-loss product or program. Consumers have a right to investigate and choose which product they want to spend their money on. Any program must include making a complete lifestyle change with eating and exercising habits. Yes, I needed help to control my appetite and cravings. I needed help, and with my freewill, I purchased the Trimspa products. I looked at the before and after pictures of others who had success and used them to motivate myself. I talked with others on Trimspa's online community for personal support. It helped me. Yes, it was hard. Yes, I had to learn how to exercise. Yes, I had to educate myself about nutrition. Now I am off high-blood pressure medication. Now my glucose is normal and not 2 points away from a diagnosis of diabetes. Now because I exercise, I do not have the numbness in my arm or leg from multiple sclerosis. Those facts alone should motivate and prove to anyone who hears my story to know that healthy eating and exercise, which Trimspa strongly promotes, is the only way to live. I was weak, a slave to my appetite and cravings. Trimspa made me strong, and I achieved my dream body. And purchasing that product was my right and my choice. I am sick of the press claiming otherwise.
My name is Marla Hayes

Joy Corsi

I don't believe Trimspa ever claimed to be a miracle drug. It, along with diet and exercise, was an effective aid in weight loss for me. I went from 224 pounds to 139 pounds. I had been obese for the last 18 years. Having entered Trimspa's Million Dollar Makeover Challenge two years in a row, I was one of the 50 finalists in the second-year contest. Trimspa is the only weight-loss pill company in the world I know of that has given away a million dollars in prizes and cash two years in a row. It is my opinion that it says a lot about a company. It was mine and my husband's honor to have met with and vacationed with Alex Goen and the entire Trimspa family in the Bahamas just last February (all expenses paid, by the way, including $2,000 cash paid the moment we arrived.)

Marsha

Why do we insist on calling eating healthy, low fat, and smart carbs being on a diet. This is the way we should eat; it's not a diet. Almost any diet with exercise can work, but you don't get to go back to how you ate before the "diet".

The big fat lie is the commercials that show slim people eating fried chicken, fatty hamburgers, mixed drinks, and no-nutrition cakes and pies. A constant diet of that and you will not stay slim, period. No matter how long it takes, people should reduce weight, and learn to use food as fuel, not as self-medication.

We blame everything for our weight. Recently, it has been the holidays. Sometimes we don't want to offend anyone. Whatever we can point a finger at other than ourselves is the excuse we use for our overeating and underexercising.

Go ahead, accept yourself as you are, but don't expect me to feel sorry as you suffer from illness, fatigue, and sore and aching bodies, etc.

We did something about smoking. Now we should do something to stop people from killing themselves with food.
Marsha

Dr. Michele Rice

In January, 2005, I weighed 195 pounds. With proper exercise, proper nutrition, and the use of Trimspa, I weighed in at 139 pounds in 2007. Trimspa is a tool used along with nutrition and diet. It is not claimed to be a magic pill. Stop slamming Trimspa and all of us who had our lives changed by Trimspa and Goen Technologies. I'm a finalist for 2005 and 2006 in the Trimspa Million Dollar Makeover Challenge. For some people it works, and some it doesn't. Don't slam us for whom it has worked.

Sumit

I personally believe that weight loss programs are a big farce. They do not provide any permanent fix to the issue and, for that matter, there is no permanent remedy for obesity except one that lies within ourselves. To reduce weight is a difficult task, and it calls for lots of self determination and mind control. People who opt for weight reduction programs definitely lack these traits and always look for an easy way out of the problem. This incapacity (I'll call it laziness) sustains most of the weight reduction programs that survive and flourish on the false hopes of these people.

I have lost around 28 pounds in four months with 4 kilometers of running daily. It takes a lot of hard work and, above all, determination. But I never opted for any weight-reduction programs. These programs--as I feel--don't work, but even if they provide short term gains, the results are not long lasting, because eventually it again depends on the attitude of the person. The person who initially avoids hard work and joins some course on weight reduction cannot maintain the control after the completion of the program and again becomes obese.

So my advice to people is to follow an exercise routine instead of going for such fake programs.

Danny Hawkins

I am a 33-year-old father of three children, and I was heading down a road to possibly having a heart attack or stroke because of my weight. I weighed more than 400 pounds, and thanks to Trimspa, I was able to go under 300 pounds in a relatively short period of time, about six months. Now, don't think it is a magic pill that will make the pounds disappear. As so with any diet product, Trimspa takes exercise. I took Trimspa X32 according to directions on the package, and what it did for me was curb my hunger and cravings so I could say no to that piece of pizza or hamburger. I have to say that Trimspa does work.

Robin Buchinski

It's a simple thing. We want to be able to eat anything and take a pill to get rid of the consequences. Remember amphetamines? As bad as they were for you, they were the only real answer to dieting. Let's face it guys, we are overweight because we eat to fill in some empty hole in our lives. Amphetamines provided the motivation we were missing and burned the fat. Bring them back, and I'll take my chances.

Rachel Arnold

What really bothers me is people who write articles who really don't know the facts. Have they really tried these diets or diet products? Do they know first hand how they work? Have they done any testing on them? Probably not. Yet they want us to believe them.

It used to be if you read it in a book or the newspaper, then there was a good chance that it was true. Not any more. I can tell you from personal experience that Trimspa does work. I went on a 12-week challenge and lost 34 pounds taking Trimspa Energy. It worked like nothing has ever worked before. It curbed my appetite and cravings. That was what I needed to be able to stay on a diet. Before, I was always hungry and would always stop dieting after a couple of days. I stayed with Trimspa and lost a total of 60 pounds. I went from 182 pounds to 122 pounds.

My doctor had told me that I had to lose weight. When I asked him what he could give me to help, he said that there was nothing out there that worked. I felt hopeless. I didn't think that there was any way that I could lose the weight. I prayed about it, then saw the advertisement for Trimspa and its challenge on TV. I was hesitant to buy it, but as it turned out, it was the best investment I have ever made.

I think you are a stumbling block for a lot of people with your negative articles. You, like my doctor, are taking away their hope. I want everyone out there to know that there is hope. Never give up. Trimspa worked for me.

Joshua G. Henningsen

Trimspa really works.

Melissa

Good work, BusinessWeek, for publishing such a bracingly honest and frank critique of the diet industry. You've stated in a short essay what it took NY Times writer Michael Pollan an entire book to say.

Not very many publications out there are brave enough to point out a lucrative set of advertisers is getting fat off hoodwinking customers. Unfortunately, the industry knows its customers will ignore such simple, sound advice and continue to pour money down the "aspirational" drain.

P.S. TrimSpa's PR machine is scary.

Nicole Kahle

TrimSpa does not have a "PR machine." Each one of those testimonials was written by a real person. The testimonials come from former non-believers just like you who were challenged by TrimSpa and took it seriously enough to actually take a "before" picture of themselves. I believe that is the first step in changing your life--looking at yourself, really looking at yourself and realizing what you are doing to yourself and then realizing you are among millions of others with the same problem. TrimSpa is the only company I know of that puts customers first and created an online community filled with everyday people providing support for newcomers and TrimSpa ambassadors alike. I have accreditations and degrees that prove I have studied public relations, and I will tell you what: TrimSpa may use these people as "PR," but I do not know of any better PR than real people who saw real results. Period.

random

So TrimSpa doesn't have a PR machine, but somehow this little discussion is inundated with two dozen testimonials for TrimSpa written in the kind of translucent PR/ad copy code that anyone who's been in the business world for more then a few months can tell is the work of a copywriter. Oh and should someone make a negative comment about that, within two hours is a corp-speak refutation of the critique.

It makes you wonder.

HaloBlu

I don't think people realize the amount of chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics in our food (especially in the U.S.). Just cutting down on processed and fast foods, while favoring whole and natural foods, can make a major difference. In any case, crash and fad diets can be so harmful to your body. Being healthy really comes down to one thing: being healthy.

Diane Rambow

Hmm...me thinks there is too much mention of TrimSpa. Who put out the word to hype this product on this board? I suggest one refrain from product promotion and using brand names--just refer to your "achievements" as a "diet aid."

What I've never understood is why we make heroes out of the people who gained the weight to start with, instead of praising the ones who ate right in the first place.

To reward someone for losing what they should never have gained to start with, is to praise the thief who decided to bring back the money before he or she got caught.

The weight-loss industry is a $40 billion industry--as fat as those who've made it grow, because they couldn't control their eating habits. It's not all in the genetic make-up; it's more in the high calorie meals people suck up.

People would like to claim they have an alcohol problem--even a disease, and I have several members of my family who're riding high on that newest "disease." Now they have a disease; years ago, they were simply a drunk.

Kids with ADD--high on sugar and garbage food is probably more often what it is.

See-saw, Marjorie Daw--the weak will have a new master; they can't quit gobbling 5,000 calories a day (and they wish they could eat even faster).

Mark D.

The low-carb or no-carb diets are for lazy people. If you exercise (resistance train-anaerobic), you only burn carbs. Doing everyday chores or work you burn carbs. They have to be replenished or your body will tear down muscle (which burns fat) to produce glycogen.

We have a very lazy society that doesn't want to exercise and would rather starve to lose weight.

Here's an idea: Throw your scale away, and buy a mirror.

Ron Czarnik

I was not going to comment on this article because it's similar to discussing spirituality with someone who has never made a connection outside of the physical, but the comment listed on Jan. 18 by Ms.Rambow has lead me to share my thoughts.

As I was leaving for the Bahamas with my wife at this time last year as a final contestant in the Trimspa challenge, my son said to me,"Dad, I can't believe you finally lost the weight. You would have never done it without Trimspa." And he was right.

Dale Bramalls' comments from Jan. 11 are right on the money. He, I, and many of the other contestants worked out in the gym every day while we were celebrating our victory over obesity while in the Bahamas. I still maintain that lifestyle: no eating after 6 p.m., eliminating white flour processed foods from my diet, eating bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables, and maintaining a schedule that allows for regular exercise.

Trimspa curbed my appetite without any of the other side effects associated with many other supplements. It worked for me, and I would have never lost the weight without it. Even though I did not make use of their support network, Trimspa maintains a very active community for those who need moral and dietary support. Everyone still has to be accountable for their actions. If you have bypass surgery and continue the same lifestyle that made it necessary, you will be right back in the same saddle again. Is that the surgeon's fault?

Nicole Kahle

So just because I wrote that response within two hours of someone else's, it's done by a copywriter? Negative. I have met several people who have responded to this debate, and if you knew each person, you would see that each one fits each of the personalities. I believe you can find pictures at the TrimSpa Web site if you are doubtful. We are all very dissatisfied with the allegations, because we have all seen TrimSpa work for all of us. We do still communicate, as TrimSpa does promote positive relationships with positive motivation along with a healthy diet and exercise. Even the ones who have lost the weight still need the motivation to keep it off, as we all know that there is not a magic skinny pill out there. I must say, if you do not want people to support one particular diet product, then do not mention any product name in the article to begin with. That doesn't take a PR genius to know that.

Thomas Hunsecker

Trimspa is amazing. When I started using Trimspa, I was 275 pounds. Now I am 170 and have been for almost two years this July. It not only helped me lose the weight but also helps me maintain. It completely transformed me inside and out. It gave me self-esteem. I went from the fat kid who nobody paid attention to, to a social butterfly who turns heads. I am so grateful for Trimspa. It truly changed my life forever, and it's amazing.

Rachel Arnold

Wow, I am amazed by all the positive things people have to say.

Mel Gibson

I lost 689 pounds in a single hour using the miracle product TrimSpa. I also became 50 years younger, had hot sex with every babe on the entire planet, and was elected Supreme God Emperor of the Universe. If you do not use this miraculous product, everybody will hate you because you are a big fat loser.

Remember, TrimSpa TrimSpa TrimSpa. For all your non-spam completely credible testimonial-driven lard-fighting needs!

Or better yet, don't use TrimSpa, because they obviously think you are an idiot.

Lakhi Dalpadado

Atkins diet? No one should eat animal meat, especially farmed animals. Mammals are like humans--they have feelings like us.

Helen of Troy, NY

In addition to losing weight through the delicious chocolaty taste of TrimSpa, I had better ab definition, whiter teeth, and curlier hair. And thanks to my new TrimSpa look, I had sex with Mel Gibson, too. I just think more people should hear about TrimSpa. Perhaps we could all put testimonials on business magazine Web sites!

Billy

Good God, Trimspa, have you no shame? You send your corporate shills here to post your fake "testimonials" at the bottom of an objective assessment of the weight-loss industry.

You'll never have me as a customer or anyone close to me.

Becky

It's too hard for me to lose weight, so I joined the plusmingle.com, where all people are fat and lovely, no need to lose now. We are all happy to be a bbw, LOL.

HCG

HCG and exercise have also done wonders for me (approximately 30 pounds).

Myra McDowell

I've been keeping my eye on this board for a little while now, and I find the comments of "Billy," "Helen of Troy, NY," "Mel Gibson," "Melissa," and "random" to be quite interesting. Some people in this world will stop at nothing to cut others down, and it's quite sad.

If TrimSpa helped people lose weight, why must you feel the need to gig on it? If you would just take two minutes to inform yourselves just a tad bit more, you would have happened upon a site called the TrimSpa Community. You then would have been able to see that the people posting here and giving TrimSpa kudos are real people who have had real results. Their posts are not the product of a PR machine. Rather, the posts are coming from the grateful hearts of individuals who have seen results from a product that they believe in. These posts are not attempts to garner more customers for TrimSpa. These posts are necessary because people like you--the naysayers--are constantly giving the product that has helped thousands a bad rap.

Furthermore, these individuals have just as much right to post here as anyone else. At least their posts are not filled with sarcasm, demeaning words, and cruelty.

Whatever happened to the old saying, "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all"? Oh yes, that's right, that notion went out the window with common courtesy.

JRA

Why do these alternate weight loss programs make so much more money than prescription drugs that are studied, evaluated, and safe for weight loss?

Tyson

People who spend money on diet products don't always understand what is more important. To look at it as a diet is the first mistake. It has to be a lifestyle change. Second, people do not understand how important it is to strength-train in order to lose weight. Most people who just do cardio, cardio, cardio, stop eating carbs and don't know that they are losing muscle weight and water weight, which is why they gain it all back. Also, people don't know that most of these products, and most of these diets, deprive their bodies of lots of nutrients needed to live.

The best way: Add resistance training, cardio. Stop eating so many carbs, make your carbs whole grain, and stop eating so much. If everything is done in moderation--exercise and diet, then maybe our country wouldn't be in such bad shape.

Felicia

Ha, ha, Mel Gibson, I don't know about Trimspa, but I think you are an idiot if you believe you have outsmarted someone or something on this debate. Trimspa is a great product, I am a real person, and I recognize more than half a dozen of the other people who posted comments about Trimspa. With a healthy diet and exercise, it does help you loose more weight than without it. I know I lost more than 35 pounds with it. It's not spam, it's facts.

darkmart

It has been mentioned before. and it will be mentioned again.

Yes,every single big fat lie of an industry in this warped society is a bag of lies and also hypocritical.

No,Trimspa, Atkins, diet, miracle drug, blah blah blah, will never in the entire history of the world help anybody but the about 100 people they show in their commercials.

And finally yes, even a 1-year-old could decipher that these "testimonials" are nothing but select-copy-paste copywriter junk from those "miracle drug" companies. I mean what the #$@! is in those things anyway?

Oh,and one last thing. I'm not an old retired 80-year old who's lonely and looking for someone to talk to. No, in fact I bet the vast majority of you have been driving longer than I've been alive.

Thank you for your time and criticism.

Tiffany B

I decided to try Cinch, which is a program that will teach me how many calories to eat choosing the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat combined with exercise, and it is all about lifestyle and changing bad behaviors like overeating. I am very excited and appreciate all the great encouragement about how important the basics are.

tasneem

While it's possible to lose weight through reducing caloric intake alone, combining regular physical exercise with a sensible diet is the healthiest and most effective method for maintaining an ideal weight. Exercise offers a host of other health benefits beyond simply increasing calories burned.

dmac

Here is the REAL research from the CDC:
Accumulate 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity 5 or more days per week to reduce your risk of CVD, cancer, diabetes, obesity and many others, and eat 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies. A non-profit helps folks do the above by telling the truth: www.donateyourfat.org

Mister Hamper

Elgin M: "Diets don't work. I'll take that even further and say that diets can't work. Your genetics determine how you look, primarily. So, picking your parents is more pivotal than picking your carbs."

Nobody is born fat. You are fat because you eat too much. It is that simple. By eating less, you will lose weight.

Do you think all bodybuilders who do not take steroids were born huge? No, most of them, in fact, were very weak before they began training. They got tired of being weak, so they began training hard and smart and eating properly, and that is how they changed their body type.

If you are tired of being fat, you can do the same. It could be done in less than half a year, too. Countless people--countless smart people--have done that.

Eric

Just go out for a run every now and then. Trust me, you will have results. I'm a wrestler. I cut weight for a living.

Sennit Elbat

I wish I hadn't come across this conversation so late in the game. The back and forth between the intelligent posters and the the Trim Spa monkeys was hilarious.

Personally, I've lost 60 pounds since Christmas. Doing what?Exercising more and eating less. For years I've tried different diet pills hoping to find an ephedrine substitute (including Hydroxycut, Trim Spa, green tea, you name it). The fix for me was eating actual portion sizes and a good balance between cardio and weight training.

yuen kit mun

Take a look at this 72-minute talk by low carb guru Gary Taubes.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4362041487661765149

Random

At least the message is now consistent. Crash diets don't work, stop being lazy, calories in versus calories out. I have a nutrition coach and it helps to have someone guiding us. Here's my blog:
http://mylast10lbs.blogspot.com

Ned Weiser

Michael Pollan captures so much in his famous 7-word--"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." Now, he admits, that defining "food" in the US requires whole books, but he is very much on the right track. As the Random comment on 10-30-09 @ 4:39 PM shares, she has a coach. Many people, probably all of us, need a coach in our lives to modify our behavior. Many of us need help to modify our behavior around food, exercise, and more important, creating a life that honors and values these two aspects. Rather than leading a "busy" life and trying to add eating well and exercising on top of it, we must construct a life from the ground up where eating well and exercising are core to who we are. In turn, our resulting good health will enable us to set and accomplish remarkable goals (short-term and long-term goals) for our lives.

Kent Sasse

Very powerful article with some important truths, but one more needs mentioning: While it is true that consuming fewer calories and burning more calories with increased activity over the long term is ultimately the solution to losing weight, getting there requires very, very difficult changes in a person's life. Studies show that making very difficult life changes can be made easier with professional help, when the professionals know what they are doing and their methods stand up to scientific scrutiny. For example, smoking cessation is more successful with professional counseling and nicotine substitutes, cardiac rehab is more successful with education, counseling, support groups, and sometimes drug therapy. And yes, weight loss (the real kind: long term, sustained weight loss that improves health and life expectancy and quality of life in a measurable way) is more successful with education, professional counseling, support groups, appetite-suppressing drugs, medical visits and weigh-ins, meal-replacement shakes, and for more seriously overweight individuals, modern weight-loss surgery. Losing weight is so critical to improved health and a better sense of well-being that it is a goal worthy of the very best professional help. Just study carefully and choose help that has credibility and a track record of success instead of hype.

Kent C. Sasse, M.D.
Author of Life-Changing Weight Loss: Feel more energetic and live a more active life with a proven, medically-based weight loss program.

Medimanage

1) Hello,
It is really nice to read this article. Thanks for simple way of writing and giving all the detail which we need. Once again thanks.
Everybody we know is dieting these days. Be it a Special K diet or the Mediterranean diet, everyone is jumping on the dieting wagon to lose weight.

Dieting is regulating the intake of food into the body, to achieve a desired weight loss. Throw the word "crash" ahead of diet and what you get is a potent recipe for disaster! Crash dieting, a restrictive type of dieting is one of the harsher ways to lose weight, on the body.

Marty Tillman

Come on buddy, Mel, give your real name.

Bernhard Schulz

That is a very interessting discussion.

In the last years and in the new medicine literature are now published different US and European studies, which differentiate between good and bad fat. If you have too much fat at the abdomen, it it very risky and can increase the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and mortality.

http://schnellgesundabnehmen.de

Mitch

Meal replacement is the best approach since consumers typically make poor choices on food intake. Exercise is critical for health and weight management.

vientre plano

Losing weight is not all about going on a fad diet and trying to reduce as much weight that you can in a few months. The most effective way to burn fat is by getting it bit by bit and following some basic tips which can allow you to make the most from your attempt to slim down. You may recognize and be following many of these tips, nonetheless reinforcing understanding never damages.

Tim Bailey

The weight loss industry is such a big lie. The only thing you need to ensure is that you eat less than you take in. It's that simple. People eat way to much nowadays and that is what is leading to weight problems. You don't need to read a book to tell you that you are eating too much.

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