Americans spend billions of dollars each year on products that claim to help them lose weight or get into shape fast. But are these fitness fads the real deal or just a fraud? Here are three ways you can help determine if a fitness fad is too good to be true:
One of the first ways to tell if a fitness fad is a fraud is to look at its claims. Does it promise results with little to no work on your part? If so, it’s most likely a fraud, as there is no such thing as an “instant result” in fitness. Losing 10 pounds a week may seem like a good thing, but losing weight that fast is extremely bad for you. Unless you are very overweight, losing many pounds per week means risking:
Are you seeing a piece of equipment or a supplement “recommended by doctors” only on late night television or talk shows? That’s a good indicator that it’s a fraud. In fact, many of the supplements and equipment you see there have unsubstantiated claims that have resulted in court rulings by the FTC. If you see something and think that it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
Many fitness fads don’t always come with a warning of potentially dangerous side effects, so you could be endangering yourself without knowing it. For example, green tea extract, which is widely used in weight loss supplements, can cause liver damage in some individuals if taken too much.
Another example is DIY plastic stomach wraps, which are very popular on sites like Pinterest. The idea is to lose “up to an inch overnight” by slathering lotion on your stomach, wrapping yourself in plastic wrap and then a bandage wrap before going to sleep. What these sites don’t tell you is that plastic body wraps cause you to sweat over-excessively, which can be dangerous.
So before you start any weight loss or exercise program, talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to help you determine what is best for you and monitor your progress to make sure you’re staying safe.