Last week I wrote about an evidence-based initiative designed to debunk common weight loss myths. The study behind the initiative was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and has been generating a lot of buzz among weight loss professionals.
This week we are at the opposite end of the continuum. Just when you thought you knew everything you needed to know about bogus weight loss products an new company shows up, ready to pull the wool over your eyes! An example of this injustice comes in the form a miracle weight loss patch. The ad for the patch uses a new "triple deception" technique gaining popularity among unethical companies. Here is how it works: First: The results of a study using their product are claimed to be published in a prestigious scientific journal. In this example, users of their product lost 12.3 pounds in 28 days. The results were supposedly published in the journal Lipids in Health & Diseases. A comprehensive search of that journals database revealed no studies using the weight loss patch. Second: The product is claimed to be backed by a well-known celebrity. In this case Rachel Ray. The ad for this weight loss patch shares a story from Rachel claiming spectacular results (losing 27 pounds in 4 weeks). However, Rachel Ray did not endorse the product. The ad is carefully designed to closely resemble the Rachel Ray Show called "Every Day with Rachel Ray". The ad describes a, fictitious women named Rachel while using the name "Every Day with Rachel." No celebrity endorsement here! Third: The name of the product changes. Yes, it actually changes. Given the fast moving nature of internet marketing, anything can and does change, instantly. This ad started by claiming The Diet Patch produced spectacular results that were confirmed in a published study. Later that same day the name of the product changed to Slim Helper. Now just hours later Slim Helper produced the same results in the same study with the same testimonials. This ad represents "triple deception" at its best - no real study, no real celebrity endorsement and no real product (the name just keeps changing). When it comes to weight loss ads keep your thinking cap on. When something sounds too good to be true - it is!