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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

The Skinny on Diet Scams

Experts weigh in on the top 5 diet scams and how to avoid them.
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Top Diet Scams continued...

2. Fat- and carb-blocking pills

Pills that claim to block your body's absorption of fat and more recently carbohydrates are also commonly-sold diet scams.

Even if these fat and carb blockers worked as they say they do, researchers say the effects can be dangerous if not just plain unpleasant.

It's like making someone lactose intolerant, says Zanecosky. By making the body unable to breakdown nutrients in the body, which leads to gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, bloating, and gas, these pills also block the absorption of the vitamins that travel with these nutrients.

"Why would someone purposely submit themselves to that?" says Zanecosky. "Some fat blockers might have something in them that can interfere with how people absorb fat, but they've never been shown to help with substantial weight loss."

3. Weight loss teas

Teas based on herbal ingredients are also touted as diet aids, but researchers say the main ingredient in many of these teas is caffeine, which is a diuretic and leads to water loss.

"Losing water isn't losing weight," says Zanecosky. "Caffeine can also increase metabolic rate by a small amount but not enough that you would be able to say that it contributed to weight loss."

Registered dietitian Nelda Mercer agrees and says the only potential weight loss benefit of drinking herbal teas might be using them as a substitute for high-calorie beverages.

Mercer says that with some diet teas, it's the program the comes along with the teas that may sometimes promote weight loss, such as teas that recommend you drink it after dinner and then not eat anything else until morning. That way it could curb late-night eating, but it's not necessarily a result of drinking the tea itself.

4. Diet patches and jewelry

Patches that deliver drugs though the skin have become popular for helping smokers quit and delivering estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms.

But experts say no effective weight loss drugs have been designed to be delivered through the skin via patches. Most of the time, these patches contain the same ineffective herbs found in dietary supplements or teas.

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