Today is “Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day” and part of Healthy Weight Week, sponsored by the Healthy Weight NetworkHealthy Weight Journal). Led by Francie M. Berg, adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, the Healthy Weight Network seeks to provide consumers with “the latest research on obesity, eating disorders, weight and eating issues, dieting, weight loss and weight gain along with practical guideline for healthy living”.
The Healthy Weight Network publishes an annual list of “Slim Chance Awards” that highlight the year’s most fraudulent and outrageous weight loss claim, weight loss promotion and weight loss gimmick. For 2009, the Slim Chance awards went to:
- Worst Product: Hydroxycut (FDA warning to stop using Hydroxycut products)
- Most Outrageous: FDA recalls pills spiked with powerful, undisclosed drugs
- Worst Claim: QVC Shopping Network pays $7.5 million to settle charge it aired deceptive claims
- Worst Gimmick: Kinoki Foot Pads claiming to detoxify body
The Healthy Weight Network also works to help consumers identify weight loss frauds. Citing the American Heart Association’s Guidelines for Weight Management for Healthy Adults, the network focuses on food over supplements and states that, “diets rich in complex carbohydrate and fiber are consistent with health promotion and disease prevention in healthy people”.