How To Spot A Scam


Friends, I get asked all the time about diet scams. “Henry, how can I tell if this is a scam?” “Henry, do you think this is a scam?” And on and on…well, I am going to impart some wisdom, here, and help you determine, all on your own, whether something is too good to be true.

First, remember if something SOUNDS too go to be true, it probably is! Recently, Oprah’s magazine, O, did a story on this very thing1. The author, David L. Katz, MD, points out that 65% of American adults are overweight, so it’s no wonder that so many fall prey to these diet scams. His first piece of advice is to be wary of those who proclaim themselves a diet guru, but laughs in the face of all nutritional science. In other words, they say they have ‘the secret’ that not even scientists and nutritionists know…that everyone else is wrong, and they are right. There is a reason that doctors and nutritionists have gone to school and have the degrees behind their names…it’s because they know a little something about diet and nutrition! Stick with the real experts!

Next, he points out that diets or diet pills that say calorie counting isn’t important are not what you want. It is always important to know that more calories in than out result in weight gain. If the diet says only to cut out a food group or two or three, this is going to do more harm than good, and will only result in water weight…at the onset. Then the pounds will come back.

Watch out for diets, pills, etc that only show you quotes from happy customers. Sure, they were happy then, but how about six months down the road? Have their lifestyles changed; can they sustain this plan, this weight for a lifetime? Katz says these are the necessary things we need to know from a testimonial, and scams will not tell you these things.

And always beware of diet pills, diets; even exercise DVDs that promise a quick fix. It takes at least six weeks to see a real change in your body, so anything that promises a short-term solution is only offering you a band-aid for your problem. You may lose weight rapidly, but you will not keep it off long-term, and your body will most likely suffer for it.

WebMD2 also points out that even if the pill, patch, bracelet, whatever is not harmful to your health, it is still keeping you from doing the right thing-which is seeking professional help for your problem. To truly be healthy and lose weight, you need to know the right foods to eat, and the proper way to exercise. These are the only ‘magic’ solutions to weight loss–healthy weight loss!


1) “How to Spot a Diet Scam a Mile Away.” January 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
2) “The Skinny on Diet Scams.” WebMD.


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