It is very easy to be overweight in our modern society. Sedentary lifestyles combined with high calorie value meals will pack a few extra pounds on anyone. Since our culture has also distilled the notion that slim is attractive, weight loss has become a major issue for the majority of the population. Since most people have more money than time and motivation, they crave the chance to exchange dollars for instant weight loss. Any time a large group of people want to give their money away, you are going to find people that will take it. For the most part, the diet industry consists of just that. Weight loss can be achieved, and is best achieved by free natural changes to diet and lifestyle. That doesn’t stop business from taking in between 33$ and 55$ billion dollars every year on weight loss related products and services1. While some are based on scientifically backed research, all are taking advantage of our need to feel attractive in one way or another. Here are some of the worst offenders.
A British endocrinologist reported that subjects who were injected with low doses of hCG and put on a 500 calorie per day diet lost fatty tissue and retained lean tissue. Anyone with half a notion about how the human body works can tell you that 500 calories is dangerously low, and that a 500 calorie diet alone will make you lose weight. The whole point of the report was that lean tissue wasn’t affected, but this didn’t stop hundreds of companies from marketing hCG as the next breakthrough in weight loss medicine. After Kevin Trudeau popularized the treatment in his book “The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You To Know About”, several specialized centers opened up to profit from its increased popularity. The Journal of American Medical Association and American Journal of clinical nutrition have stated that hCG is neither safe nor effective as a weight loss aid2. That hasn’t stopped hundreds of homeopathic hCG formulations from appearing on the internet, or hCG to be the most searched health and fitness term in 2010 according to Google. Just so everyone knows one of the primary sources of hCG is pregnant woman urine. How’s that for a weight loss drink?
The most recent trend in Television infomercials is a 60-90 day workout scheme that promises to get you unmatched results. Beachbody LLC produces the 2 most popular versions of these video systems, P90X and Insanity. The concept is basically that you engage in intense exercise for approximately an hour a day, 5 days of the week. In addition to the exercise, you follow a strict dieting plan that has a comparatively high amount of calories, but overall consists of high fiber high protein meals to fuel your workouts. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Yes, it is exactly the same as the common sense approach I sold for free at the first of this article. You can forgo my price, and pay $119.95 + SandH if you are easily seduced by late night infomercials, and you want a T-shirt for being healthy.
The Atkins diet is a complex system of phases that is based on altering ketones by taking in very few carbs. When adhered to properly, it is acceptable by most standards as a diet plan, in addition to regular exercise. It is acceptable, because it would be what the FDA recommends anyway. You see, when you reach a normal weight you are supposed to adjust your carbohydrate ratio so you intake more, and maintain your weight. At recommended fitness levels, your carbohydrate and fats ratio would be normal after you lost a few pounds and started to maintain your weight. The main problem is that no one read the literature. People took low carb diet to mean a license to eat all the steak and bacon they could get their greasy hands on, and quit physical activity altogether. If weight loss was that simple, the dieting industry would not exist. Of course eating 6 pounds of bacon for every meal will eventually lead to heart disease, and bad health in general.
While nicotine is an appetite suppressant, smoking cigarettes as a weight suppression tactic is universally considered a bad idea. While it is not believed that teenagers start smoking for it’s weight loss benefits, adolescent girls who try other risky behaviors to lose weight are more likely to start smoking for that purpose3. If you are currently a smoker and cite weight gain as a primary reason you haven’t quit, you need to go ahead and toss your cigs in the garbage. While gaining a few pounds when you quit is common, weight gain can be limited and even curtailed with healthy diet and regular exercise. It is common for weight gained during smoking cessation to be lost through diet and exercise.
The most common form of dieting with weight loss in mind is crash dieting. Common sense tells you that since un-used calories are the source of body mass, drastically reducing those calories can decrease body mass. The scientific thinking is that denying your body of fuel will leave only fat as an energy source, and you will therefor burn more fat. While crash dieting can result in weight loss, it can also result in muscle loss which will increase your fat stores in the long run. Your metabolism will adjust to your new intake levels, and your body will begin storing all the fat it can. There is a very real threat of malnutrition involved with crash dieting. If your body does not get certain vitamins and minerals that it needs such as potassium, calcium and vitamin a your organs can shut down.
Most people that achieve weight loss and manage to maintain it have this in common: they limit their caloric intake and routinely exercise. If you jog for 30 minutes everyday, your body will easily handle normal portions of healthy foods. There really is nothing to it, you just need some motivation and a small amount of instruction. Save your money, your health, and your time and diet the right way next time.
Profiting From America’s Portly Population, Mr. George Van Horn, senior analyst with IBISWorld, Inc.1
AMA & Journal of clinical nutrition studies, Kevin Trudeau information2
3French, Simone A. and Cheryl L. Perry, “Smoking among Adolescent Girls: Prevalence and Etiology,” Journal of American Medical Women’s Association 51.1 & 2, (1996),