9/18/02 - Diet Dilemma

Do you believe those ads that claim you can lose weight with no diet, no exercise, and lose it fast? If you're skeptical you're not alone. In fact a new government report reveals some of them are big fat liars!
Americans spent about 35 billion dollars on weight loss, driven to spend by ads! But the FTC found that over half of those ads make claims that are almost certainly false.
Pearla Murphy fell for several of those ads, she says none of them worked. "I could never find that miracle," Pearla says. Even though the miracles are promised in weight loss ads like these, a solution to take off the pounds without dieting, some even claim you can dream away some of your weight. Pearla has been struggling with her weight since she was young, her war with weight started in her teens. "I have tried all the regular diet plans," Pearla says. "I've also tried things like just the liquid diet and the all protein diet." Pearla says weight loss ads led her to the diet aisle, searching for the miracle solution. When one wouldn't work, she would try another one. "You hear the ads on TV and you're ready to try it right now," Pearla says.
Pearla says some weight loss methods did work, but only for a short amount of time, and whatever weight she took off, came back on in a hurry. The Federal Trade Commission reports Pearla's not alone. In a study of over 300 diet ads, it found that 55 percent of ads are misleading, and lack proof.
Here are some diet warnings to look for before you make a diet decision. Stay away from diets with before and after pictures. Also stay away from ones that promise a rapid or permanent weight loss, or claim no diet or exercise is needed. Also watch out for ads that say their diet is clinically proven or doctor approved, and are natural and safe.
Those are warnings Pearla knows now, but wishes she knew a lot sooner. "Before when I was looking for the miracle I was able to believe anything." The FTC has promised to increase it's efforts to look for deceptive diet ads, and cut them out of the picture.