How To Tell If A Diet Is A Sham

Jared points out his amusing list of the top 10 ways to tell if a weight loss program is a buncha snake oil.

• The term “washboard abs” makes an appearance.
John Basedow is involved.
• It’s available in “3 easy payments of $19.95.”
• It’s in a magazine.
• It implies that hard work isn’t actually required.

There’s only one way to lose weight, and it needn’t cost a thing. Eat less, exercise more. Jared describes this in more detail in what he’s dubbed, “The Lose Weight Diet.”

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  1. Eat less, exercise more

    Shouldn’t that be ‘eat healthier’? Even if you reduce how many calories you eat you’re probably not doing yourself much good if you’re still eating food that’s bad for you. (Unfortunately, buying healthier foods does cost money.)

  2. AcilletaM says:

    I totally agree with “The Lose Weight Diet”. I lost over 100 lbs by basically doing what that site says though I wish I would have seen that site a couple of years ago when I started instead of figuring out this stuff on my own. Calories in

    This is also very similar to the plans recommended for diabetics, which is what I based my plan on.

  3. GenXCub says:

    Weight Watchers does this. All they’ve effectively done is made calories easier to count by assigning points.

    points = (calories/50) + (fat grams/12) – (Fiber Grams/5). They give you a slider thingie, but I just use an excel spreadsheet. It was an easier way to make people choose lower fat, higher fiber foods. Obviously calories in

    The BIGGEST thing that makes weight wathers work is guilt and accountability. Points mean nothing, x cups of water means nothing, x grams of fat means nothing. If you gotta weigh yourself in front of a group on monday, you’re going to put the cheesecake down on Saturday.

    The lose weight diet works, but if everyone were that rational (i.e. not human) we would all do it. Every diet works because structured eating works. Every diet fails when the structure part goes down the tube.

  4. mark duffy says:

    also, if the product has the word “lounge” in its name. like Ab-Lounge, or their follow-up device the Glute Otteman.

  5. mark duffy says:

    I mean “Ottoman”

  6. You could always pick up a crystal meth habit. That will make you lose weight fast.

    You have to keep an eye on your dental health though, because your teeth have a tendency to fall out.

    Oh, and your skin may become all scabby and gross, but hey, at least you have lost weight.

  7. Mr. Gunn says:

    GenX is right – this basic idea has been around forever – what’s he got that’s new? It seems to me like he’s just figured out what everyone else who’s done a minimum amount of research already knows, but he’s assuming it’s some kind of revelation he must bring to the world. That kind of hubris deserves a call-out, and I hope I’m not the only one to bring it.

    Here’s the heart of the matter: No one wants to lose weight as an end in itself. People want to lose weight to be healthier and to look better naked. Weight is just one among many variables which determine those two things. It’s not even the best variable, it’s just the easiest one for buckwheat joe to wrap his head around. Body mass index and % body fat are the measurements which correlate with looking better and being healthy, and weight is just a poor proxy for these two, mostly because they can’t be easily measured at home.

    Those who would endeavor to bring their message to the world must either say something both new and correct to their audience or go the hell away.

    The reason crappy diets make me sad:

    Have you ever seen someone who looks great when they’re all dressed up, but get them home and it’s a let-down in at least three senses of the word?

  8. aultl says:

    This is the same thing I did whilst following the Hacker Diet.

    http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdiet.html

  9. thrillhouse says:

    buy organic – not much more expensive and so much better for you. You won’t beleive how much better it tastes.

  10. wikkit says:

    Consumerist overlords:

    How about doing a piece on “organic” foods as a marketing sham?

    I remember the first time I heard someone say that a fruit of vegetable was “organic”. My knee-jerk reaction was to ask what fruits/vegetables weren’t. Its a dopey term that has not regulation as to its meaning or application, and is therefore meaningless.

    Stick to the ‘eat healthier/excercise more diet’. Go “organic” only if you’re looking to pat yourself on the back.

  11. formergr says:

    While I agree that use of the term “organic” on food products needs to be standardized and maybe even regulated, one good thing about it is that a large majority (if not all) of foods labeled as such don’t contain the evil high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

    I buy Heinz Organic Ketchup not because I care too much if the tomatoes are heirloom, free range (snerk), grown-without-pesticides, etc., but because it’s made with organic cane sugar instead of HFCS. It still has calories from the sugar, but I think it’s a bit healthier and tastes just as good to me.

  12. Ben Popken says:

    Patti writes:

    “There are regulations about organic labeling
    http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOP/indexNet.htm

  13. wikkit says:

    Apparently the USDA (through the NOP) has been regulating and enforcing organic labeling since 2002. I stand corrected, thanks Patti.

    From Wikipedia:
    “A USDA Organic seal identifies products with at least 95% organic ingredients.”

  14. thrillhouse says:

    Wikkit-
    do a little more research as to the chemicals people spray on plants these days as well as the hormones they jack the cows up with.

    Many of the major herbicide companies started out making chemicals and chemical wepons for the military (our military). They simply adapted those formulas to be used on plants as “safe” herbicides. Check out Monsanto and thier Agent Orange (a 50:50 mix of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T). I’m sure you know what Agent Orange was and what it did to people. 2,4-D is still a popular herbicide.

    Doctors are now attributing early menstration in young girls to the hormones they put in cows to increase milk production.

    Its certainly not a scam, and my wife has lost 5lbs in 2 weeks by only making this change in our diet.

  15. handyrae says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that John Basedow looks like his head doesn’t match his body. It’s like he had a head transplant or something. It freaks me out!

  16. Scout says:

    Also, if there is a picture of a woman in a bikini eating a cheeseburger on the diet product label.

  17. JennL says:

    There’s no magic bullet in terms of taking a pill and shedding a bunch of pounds. Any article that mentions take a pill, eat the same, and no exercise to lose weight is a sham. Acai, Colon Cleansers, Hoodia, etc are all scams that give people false hopes