As a nation, we are obsessed with what we eat, and a quick look at the TV channel will reveal that we spend a lot of time watching cookery programmes and thinking about food. Master Chef, Nigella, the Hairy Bikers; it seems that we can’t switch on TV without being shown images of delicious food and for most of us, the response is to reach for the chocolate and just sit back and watch.
No wonder so many of us are overweight and yearn for a product or fast way of doing something about our weight. There is a range of products and fast slimming methods out there but be warned because many of these may not work as well as promised, may be dangerous and could end up costing you lots of money.
Here are five of the top dieting myths around at the moment.
Myth 1 – Lose Weight Within Days!
Probably the most widely used myth of all.
The advertising looks good and is accompanied by glossy images and supposedly “genuine” customer testimonials who all say that this method has worked for them.
Some of these diet pills look very tempting and although some may be low on product information and ingredients, the important thing is that the advertising says that it works and we want to believe them. Who wouldn’t want to lose 10lbs of weight in 10 days! It is easy to get carried away.
Supplements promoting fast weight loss like this usually just tap into desperation and the common need to slim down quickly for an occasion – usually a wedding or special event.
These extra fast weight loss products often contain a mix of diuretic ingredients such as dandelion root, watermelon, oats and coffee. Removing water retention and causing you to urinate more frequently will cause you to lose small amounts of weight due to losing body fluids but it is not the same as losing fat. This type of weight loss can also be dangerous and cause extreme dehydration over long-term use.
Professional sportsmen such as jockeys are the fast weight loss specialists. Because they have to remain under a certain weight in order to ride, most have a constant battle with getting their weight down for race regulations. Jockeys will spend hours in the sauna or sweat lodge sweating off their excess pounds in water overnight. This is only a temporary weight loss caused by dehydration. Many quick fix diet pills work in much the same way.
Losing an extreme amount of weight in a short period of time will not help you lose fat although it may show up as a temporary improvement on your scales. Once you stop taking the pills, any small amounts of weight that you lost will reverse.
All the medical advice is to lose weight over a reasonable period of time and set your goals to realistic expectations. According to the NHS, a sensible rate of weight loss is around 2lbs per week. Although this may not sound much, it still means that you can safely lose around ½ a stone in a month.
A diet pill, which promises to make you lose 10lbs in a week, is simply not telling the truth, and a reputable company would not make such unbelievable claims.
There are also a range of fasting diets and extreme eating programmes on the market, but the major problem with a quick fix extreme diet is that it leads to yo yo weight gain. Whether you choose the notorious cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet or undertake fasting, it seems that the results are always the same.
Even if you do manage to starve yourself and lose some weight, you will put it back on once the diet is over and according to research, this will make future weight loss even harder. Putting your body into starvation mode, slows your metabolism as your body attempts to conserve energy, so actually makes losing weight harder.
Myth 2 – You Can Target Weight Loss to Certain Parts of the Body
There are plenty of exercises and products available that profess to get rid of belly fat, bingo wings and similar. They do not work.
You cannot lose body fat from just one area at a time; because when you lose weight, you lose fat from your entire body. Some areas, such as the stomach, may have higher concentrations of body fat, and in many cases, these stores of fat will be the last to go.
You can only lose weight by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising. Although once you start losing weight you will lose that spare tyre, you cannot make it disappear by doing a few sit ups or buying a stick on magnet or suction pad for fatty body areas.
A regular cardio exercise regime will help make you fitter but if you wish to build up abs for that six-pack effect, you will need to take resistance training such as weights or working with gym equipment as well as changing your eating habits.
Myth 3 – Diet Pills are Completely Side Effect Free for Everyone
Diet pills can contain a wide range of ingredients depending on the type of product they are. Fat binders, for example work for weight loss because they prevent a percentage of your dietary fats from being absorbed by your body converting them instead to dietary waste. This is not harmful, but it can be unpleasant.
You can expect to be spending an increased amount of time in the toilet and you may notice foul smelling bowel movements and in some cases unpleasant flatulence.
Some fat binders contain natural fibrous ingredients that minimise this side effect but a commonly included ingredient is Orlistat, which is well known for these unpleasant features.
Orlistat is a pharmaceutical drug and a key ingredient of Alli, one of the most popular fat binding slimming pills on the market. Although previously regarded as safe, new research now claims that Orlistat inhibits a key enzyme in the body that may lead to severe toxicity of internal organs such as the liver and kidney.
Other side effects can be serious medical conditions including hepatitis, liver problems, headaches, stomach problems, depression and fatigue. Research is currently looking into this although Alli remains on sale at the moment.
Most fat burner type weight loss supplements include high levels of caffeine, because this is believed to promote weight loss by increasing the metabolism.
Although caffeine is in tea and coffee so is a common part of most peoples daily diet, it can have dangers for people with sensitivity and especially when taken in high doses. It can increase the heart rate, cause depression and anxiety, the jitters and sleep disturbances among other symptoms. It should be avoided if you have sensitivity and products with high levels of caffeine are not suitable for long-term use.
You can benefit from the fat burning effect by eating more antioxidant rich natural foodstuffs or by taking a health supplement that contains high antioxidant levels and combining this with a healthy eating and exercise programme.
Myth 4 – You Don’t Need to Exercise or Change Your Diet
There is not a miracle pill in the world that will help you lose weight without you making changes to your diet and lifestyle as well. You have to put some effort in yourself, eat healthily and take some exercise. You should not expect overnight results but finding a good slimming product and combining it with a weight loss plan you can live with, cannot fail to bring the results that you want.
Many people have lost weight by the combination of taking a supplement and actively making changes to diet and lifestyle. For many, this added support of the slimming tablet has made the crucial difference to their success. Losing weight is not always easy so a safe natural product that is healthy combined with realistic weight loss targets will give you the best results. Steady weight loss tends to stay off.
Myth 5 – Free Trials are a Cheap Way to Try Diet Pills
Nothing much in life is free and diet pills are no exception. Some shady companies offer free trials, which can look tempting and seem to give you the chance of trying a product out before you commit. Don’t do it!
Free diet pill trials are notorious for tying you into an auto-billing programme, which is extremely difficult to get out of. The terms will often be included in the small print somewhere on the site but will not be visible in real terms to the prospective customer.
Typically when you attempt to cancel the agreement, you will not be able to find a telephone number or any contact details and in the meantime, the company will continue to send you more and more diet pills, taking the regular payment direct from your bank or credit card.
If you have signed up for a free trial – and plenty of people do, your only course of action is to firstly contact the manufacturer and then to contact your credit card or bank and stop the payments.
A good quality diet pill manufacturer will offer a money back guarantee and will have clear contact details and a customer service department. That way if you are dissatisfied with your diet pill you can receive a refund.
A reputable company will never offer a free trial so if you see one of these on offer, it is probably a scam.
Fallen foul of a free trial and not sure what to do? Take a look at our Guide to refunds from free trial diet pill scams article.