HEADLINES Published January12, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

Lose Weight!! No Exercise!! Eat What You Want!! We’re Lying!!

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Losing weight is a matter of diet and exercise, not some product that promises a miracle.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

In mid-January, you still have a faint hope of keeping to your resolution to lose weight. You are also being inundated with ads and marketing promotions for miracle weight loss products.

If you are thinking of trying a dietary supplement or herbal product that is promising that you will lose lots of weight fast, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has some advice for you.

The first thing to consider with a weight loss product is "Does this sound too good to be true?" Beware of the quick fix. There are a lot of products out there that promise you will lose an unrealistic amount of weight in way too short a time. "Lose up to 30 pounds in 20 days!" Or the ads tell you it is ridiculously easy. "Eat what you want! You don't need to exercise!"

Often the kicker is the two little words "up to," as in "lose up to 30 pounds." That means that even the product's makers don't expect you to lose that much.

And then there is the fine print in that advertising. Often you see a key phrase something like: "Use this product along with a sensible diet and exercise program." Any product used along with a sensible diet and exercise program will probably have you losing weight.

There are products that can help you lose weight, but they generally are not marketed through mass e-mails. Another good warning is when much of the ad or marketing ploy is in a foreign language. Beware of ads or emails that tell you that the big pharmaceutical companies or the FDA are trying to keep this product a secret. If it is such as secret why are they sending you an unsolicited email?

Lastly, although most of these products are harmless, except to your wallet, some are not. The FDA has found weight-loss products that contain ingredients that were taken off the market as prescription drugs because of serious side effects like stroke or that contain antidepressants or diuretics.

It comes down to this: The only natural way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you burn off. It isn't a secret, it isn't exciting, but it is true. 

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