Watch out for online diet scams

I have a friend who works for an internet marketing company. His company provides reviews of different dermatological acne care products, below all their reviews they include sponsored ads of products they are trying to sell.

As we talked, I was very surprised to find out that they employed students to quickly find internet products and crank out negative reviews. They don’t do much research, and they don’t have any background in the field. They just write content so people on the internet will find their website through the search engines.

This got me worried, I bet that people are out there right now cranking out dieting reviews, and churning out new dieting products. Please watch out for internet dieting scams. Because I am involved in this market, I see how many of the products are bogus or risky. When I consider a new product, I look at the scientific literature, the real world reviews, and the developers background. Be careful because in the dieting market there is little to no FDA regulation.

When you think you might have found the new, super-fix, dieting cure, think again. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Green Drink

Green DrinkHey everyone,

There’s a new drink in town and it is veggie and vitamin packed. It is called green drink and the name suits it. It is a thick puree of blended vegetables and fruits, often with added super foods like sprouts, wheat-grass or ginger.

The closest commercial version of green drink I can think of would be the new V8 fusion because it has fruits and vegetables. One difference is that green drink is usually thicker.

If you are looking for something different, you might try making a green drink smoothie today. It’s great for you because it has vegetables and fruits.

Here is a site with colorful recipes: Green Drink

General Mills is cutting the sugar down in some children’s cereals

General Mills cereals now have less sugar
General Mills cereals now have less sugar

Great news,

General Mills is planning on dropping the sugar in some of its main cereal products like Lucky Charms, and Cocoa puffs. They are doing this because enough people have complained. They plan to make changes to their advertised cereal products. This is a great move by General Mills, its something that should have been done a long time ago.

If they are going to market these foods to our kids, they had better be marketing something healthy. A study published by  the Rudd Center recently found that the least-healthy breakfast cereals are the most frequently and aggressively marketed directly to children.

I believe that changes like this are taking place because people are starting to wake up and do something about it. We can’t be afraid to recognize obesity as a real problem and challenge it head-on.

You can read the full article here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091209/ap_on_bi_ge/us_general_mills_sugar

Is Sensa a scam?

Have you heard about the new weight loss powder that is becoming a big hit on the internet? It’s a white powder that you can sprinkle in your food to support weight loss.  The claim is that the white powder will curb your desire to eat through sensory signals.

My first impression. Their website looks very professional, with lots of testimonials, a doctor advocate, and some celebrity endorsements. When I first looked at the product I was careful. It seemed too good to be true. I had to take a moment think clearly about this new product.

Here is what is suspicious:

1. Their billing system: They tell you it’s a free trial kit. You can’t find the real price anywhere. I had to give up my address and phone number just to get to the page where they have this message.

You have a full 30 days to try your Sensa 2-Month Starter Kit. If you enjoy Sensa, do nothing. You’ll be billed one low payment of $89.95 on 11/1/2009. That’s a 23% SAVINGS off the retail price.


Plus, you’ll enjoy free enrollment in our Sensa AutoShip Delivery Service. You will automatically receive a fresh supply every 2 months so you never run out of Tastants. Plus you will lock in the low price of only $89.95 every 60 days, billed to your credit card, plus free shipping and handling. You save 23% on every shipment! If for any reason during the 30-day trial period you are dissatisfied with your Sensa 2-Month Starter Kit, simply return the products. Cancel at any time with no obligation.


CA, UT & CO residents will be charged sales tax at time of purchase. Customer is responsible for return postage. Questions? Contact a Sensa Customer Care Representative toll-free at (866) 514-2554

Hmmm…  $89.95 for small powder packages. Plus they automatically sign you up to buy more every 60 days. And if you don’t like the stuff, you pay for the return. These are red flags.

2. Their Research:

(Updated – 6/14/2010) Sensa has finally posted links to their research. They call upon Dr. Hirsch’s study called “Weight Reduction Through Inhalation of Odorants.” His study found some correlation between odorants and weight loss.

His sujects had an inhaler to administer the smells. Unlike the small packs they sell,  his subjects often used the inhaler up to 288 times a day. Also, the study states that the smells only worked for people that had specific traits:

  1. a great sense of smell (identified the apple odorant in the Chicago Smell Test)
  2. only ate 2-4 times a day,
  3. felt bad about overeating but not about themselves

Also, there were other correlations with the weight loss like frame-size, spending time with others, and eating certain foods (chocolate, apples and mints).

At the end of the study the doctor states that their may be some benefit to smells if coupled with a nutrition and exercise program.

Considering the importance of weight loss, this was a very small study. The product has few tests, and no other scientists have attempted to repeat the study to make sure it works. There is money to be made and I am afraid a product is being marketed on hype rather than science.

Another strong argument against using Sensa is that the study was only conducted for 6 months. I would question if the human body would become sensitized to these smells. Before you spend money on this, try a nutrition and exercise program like the doctor suggests. I bet you will get similar results without the smells and high costs.

See the study here:  http://www.aromapatch.com/Hirsch_Weight_Loss_Smell.pdf

3. What others are saying: I went to RipOffReport.com to see what others were saying. People did not seem happy with their marketing practices. There were some complaints about not getting a refund. This is a bad sign.

(added 2/10/2010 – Look at the comments below, we’ve had a big response about Sensa and you can see some of it right here.)

4. What have experts said? (added 9/4/2010)

I found it very humorous that Sensa boasted that they were listed on webMD in their TV commercial. If someone actually did their homework and read the webMD article they would see that it was negative towards Sensa. I guess Sensa didn’t expect us to be smart enough to even evaluate their sources.

WebMD points out that the study was not conducted as a Clinical Trial which is the gold standard for studies. WebMD also points out that Sensa has never been validated, nor published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Their doctor, Pamela Peeke, MD said,

“[Sensa] is not a magic bullet. There is no magic sprinkle. This isn’t even a diet,” … “It oversimplifies the complex physiology and psychology associated with appetite.” She also points out that there is nothing unique about the list of ingredients in the tastants.

So will it really work? I doubt it. I imagine that in the beginning you might feel fuller and less hungry. But over time your body will just get used to the new smells and tastes. Honestly, this is not a good way to lose weight. Take the $89.95  (every 60 days) and buy a gym membership, Wii Fit, or more nutritious foods.

Is it long term? The main reason to avoid Sensa is because it is NOT a long term solution. You do not want to buy their product for the rest of your life to stay slim.

To learn more about safe weight loss principles visit Stop Dieting and Live

Sources:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/sensa.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-sensa

http://trysensa.com/

Obesity to Cut U.S. Life Expectancy

In the age of modern medicine and surgical miracles, researchers are forecasting a decrease in life expectancy.  It is possible that the average American age could decline by as much as 5 years unless aggressive efforts are made to slow rising rates of obesity. This is a serious problem that we are facing.The same studies also suggested that people who are severely obese could live up to 20 years less than people who are not overweight.

You don’t have to search for any holy grail to lengthen your life, why not just make some simple life style changes. Losing weight doesn’t have to be a challenge. It can be easy. Start today and make your new life longer and thinner.

You can see the NIH article here: http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/nia-16.htm

Get more nutrition from frozen vegetables

Do you like frozen vegetables? Do you ever cook them in water? There are a few simple ways to insure you are getting all the nutrients from your frozen vegetables.

  1. Don’t add the vegetables to water until it is boiling. You want to make sure they are in the water for the shortest possible time. As vegetables are in the water nutrients like vitamins and minerals can leave the vegetable and go into the water.
  2. Cover the vegetables as you cook them. This will keep any nutrients that leave the foods from evaporating.
  3. Cook them for the shortest time possible. Give them just enough time to get firm and then get them out of the water.

If you follow these simple steps you might notice your frozen veggies have better flavor and texture. You will also be getting more vitamins and minerals in each bite. Enjoy!

Acai Berries Scam

Acai Berries
photo (c) Breno Peck

The Acai-Berry Craze

Visit any website about health today and you will likely see an advertisement about, “Dr. Oz, acai berries, or the Oprah show.” There is a new acai berry craze coming all over the internet.  In fact, this craze is getting so bad that people are actually starting to deprive the native Brazilians of the berries in their rain forests.

What is so special about these berries? The answer is nothing. Research has shown them to be like most fruits. They are antioxidants, but scored lower in antioxidant potency than many common fruits including, strawberry and grapes. The acai powders and acai juices are the same, they are no better than common fruits and vegetables.

If you live in Brazil than it might be good to eat some berries every now and again. But if you don’t, than you are only wasting your money. There are many other great, healthy foods. Go enjoy some fresh strawberries or grapes.

Scam Alert

Most of these ‘miracle berry cure’ websites will offer you a free trial, beware! In the tiny print of the terms and conditions you will see that they are going to begin charging you a monthly subscription.  What is even worse is that some of these websites will only let you cancel your surprise subscription by phone. In rare cases they won’t even answer the phone number printed on their site and people have had to cancel their credit cards.

Here is a report on acai berries by the Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org/us/article/8493

The acai berries picture was taken by Breno Peck, his profile can be found here:
Açaí

The New McDonald’s Diet

If you haven’t heard about it yet, Chris Coleson, from Virginia, lost 80 pounds eating primarily at McDonalds.

It was a funny story. Chris Coleson said on MSNBC news that he was able to lose the weight by eating every light item on the menu. He focused on the fruits, the wraps, and the veggies entries. He kept his calories low with these foods.

This crazy diet proves that the human body can lose weight on almost anything. You don’t have to eat special-diets or fad acai berries. You just have to keep caloric intake below caloric expenditure. Having a structured plan will certainly help with this goal. That is why I suggest life-style changes.

I wouldn’t recommended this diet because it lacks variety and doesn’t have any long-term potential. However, it was fun to hear about the man that lost weight with McDonalds.

You can watch his video here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25281188/

5 Steps to Prevent Obesity in Children

Obesity in children is become a large problem. In the U.S. the over-weight trend is growing, with 1 out of 3 children being classified as overweight or obese. Children are spending more time inside and less time playing outside. We are seeing fewer home cooked meals and more ‘fast and easy’ calorie-dense solutions. This is becoming a serious problem, as being over-weight is linked to large variety of health and social problems. Some of these problems may include:

  • development of unhealthy eating disorders
  • increased risk of depression or drug abuse
  • elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • joint and bone problems
  • shortness of breath, this makes exercise, sports, or any physical activity more difficult
  • restless or disordered sleep patterns
  • liver and gall bladder disease

It’s is important that parents are proactive. Parents can prevent obesity by supporting and working with their children. Some suggests are:

  1. Remove any ‘clean your plate’ policies. Kids should stop eating when they are full.
  2. Encourage outdoor activities and limit time spent playing computer games and watching TV.
  3. Don’t make food restrictions or limitations. Children will resist strict limitations, it is better to support and encourage health eating.
  4. Eat meals as a family. This is a great way to make sure kids are eating wholesome foods.
  5. Be a good role-model. If you need to lose weight, now is a great time to start.

Remember, no matter what your children weigh, show them that you love them.