If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. This theory is once again proven true when concerning the diet and exercise industry.
Recently Dr. Oz was scolded by Senator Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance. Dr. Oz was scolded for assertions that he made on his show concerning weight loss products that have little to no scientific evidence backing up their effectiveness.
This is on the heels of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suing the sellers of Green Coffee Beans for deceiving consumers through fake news sites and invented health claims. The FTC is in charge of protecting consumers from “unfair or deceptive advertising and marketing practices that raise health and safety concerns.” Dr. Oz recently promoted green coffee beans on his show for their amazing ability to help people lose fat.
“The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you call ‘miracles,’” said Senator McCaskill to Dr. Oz, during the subcommittee meeting. She went on to say that she was discouraged by the false hope his rhetoric gives viewers. She also questioned his role “intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams.”
“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? With power comes a great deal of responsibility,” Senator McCaskill went on to say.
In his defense, Dr. Oz said that “My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don’t think that they have hope, when they don’t think they can make it happen, I want to look and I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions for any evidence that might supportive to them.”
As a doctor, I can relate to Dr. Oz. I commonly tell patients that part of my job is to act as a cheerleader for them. To help them see that they are progressing and healing. To encourage them to take care of themselves. To encourage them to exercise and eat right.
It can be very hard to recognize when you feel better because the differences are subtle, and slowly build up over time. Benefits to your body slowly build up and accumulate just like minor irritations slowly build up to create an injury.
Most health issues take time to come on. It takes time for the health issues to progress to the point of becoming symptomatic. Therefore it takes time to calm down the health issue. It is a process to heal an injury. During that process it is common for the injury to take three steps forward when healing and then one step backward. This is normal and I have to let patients know that it is nothing to get upset about. It is a normal part of the healing process.
In the same way, it takes time to gain weight. On average, most people will gain one to two pounds per year. Over 20 years that can be 20 to 40 extra pounds. It took time to gain that weight, so it will take time to lose it. It is easy lose sight of that fact and get sucked in by misleading diet or exercise advertisements that claim fast weight loss.
Most people are not going to lose weight fast. For most people, it will take time to lose weight, if they ever do. In general, the longer it takes to lose weight, the longer it will stay off. The converse is true as well. The quicker you can lose weight, the quicker it will come back.
Most people who are overweight did not get there overnight. The weight gain has been a product of many small bad habits and small issues that have slowly built up over time to cause a large weight gain. Usually weight gain is from a combination of genetics, personal habits such as exercise and screen time, environmental factors such as: proximity of healthy foods, what you ate while you were younger, and many others.
So if someone loses weight quickly, then, usually they will have had to do something extreme to achieve that weight loss. They won’t be able to maintain that change for long because it was so extreme (such as: eating only cabbage soup, not eating any carbohydrates, drinking 2 shakes and eating 1 full meal per day, etc). Eventually the person will have to go back to their old habits because they don’t know any better, because they haven’t learned how to change around their old unhealthy habits and work in new, healthy habits. Their old habits are the ones that lead the person to becoming obese in the first place.
I feel that it is more important to focus on health and well being, rather than an unrealistic societal ideal of what beauty is, (ripped 6 pack abs, lean, little to no body fat). In fact, research is coming out saying that it is more important for your overall health to exercise consistently, rather than just being skinny. Actually, those who are thin and not exercising are less healthy than those who are overweight and not exercising.
So don’t get sucked into gimmicky marketing and flowery advertising that promises fast weight loss or ripped 6 pack abs. Even if that marketing is coming from someone who is supposedly reliable like Dr. Oz. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is. Trust your instincts. Your instincts will tell you that something is off if you read that a product can help you lose 20 pounds in two weeks and keep it off. Or if you read that something is like exercise in a bottle.
I am here to tell you right now, as of this time, there is no substitute for exercising and healthy eating. None. No argument. There is no substitute.
In fact, the FDA advises to stay away from products that use the following phrases in their advertising: “melt your fat away,”without diet or exercise,” “magic pill,” “scientific formula.” These phrases, and others that sound too good to be true, should be viewed as red flags. If you see any of these outlandish claims, then avoid the products that are using them for their advertising. It is a sign that the product does not work and the company is trying to take advantage of you.
Listen to your gut and your instincts, they won’t steer your wrong. There is no such thing as exercise in a bottle. There is no such thing as losing 20 pounds in two weeks and keeping it off. If you are at least 50 pounds overweight, over the age of 40, and haven’t exercised in over 5 years, then unless you are genetically lucky, you are not going to get ripped, lean 6 pack abs. It will impossible for you to do that. Deep down you know that it’s true. SO don’t fall for those weight loss gimmicks. At that point you want to exercise and eat right to feel better, slow down the aging process, and slow down the progression of chronic diseases that are probably already affecting your health.
Be intelligent about diet and exercise. Don’t go harder, be smarter. Don’t get sucked in by gimmicky diets and weight loss programs that never work. This is the Pain Free Way.
Here is part 1 of If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, Then It Is.
Here is part 2 of If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, Then It Is.
Here are 2 other articles that I wrote on this subject: