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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Nutrition - Dieting & Eating Disorders

Beware of Diet Fraud

Have you ever seen claims like, "Lose 20 pounds in 3 days!", "Fat will melt off your body!", "Absolutely no effort required!" …and asked yourself, "Is it possible"?  It seems every time we turn around there is a new diet program or weight loss product that is going to allow us to shed unwanted pounds with no effort.  The claims made by diet companies and people who have had "success" using their products often sound too good to be true.  If you would like to arm yourself with some information and protect yourself from diet fraud, read on.




The Cardinal Rule


If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If you read about a diet program or weight loss product and find you are asking yourself "Wow, is this for real?", chances are, it probably is not for real.  The bottom line is, diet companies are interested in making money.  In fact, they are often more interested in making money than they are in your health.  These companies will go to great lengths to convince you that their product will bring "miracle" weight loss results.  They will pay people to say they have had success using a product, and often will make unrealistic claims to convince you that their product is the solution you are looking for.  The most important thing to remember is: There is no "magic bullet" to better health.




Who Is Credible?


If you find you are confused about who to trust for reliable and accurate information, you are not alone.  Some diet plans are created by doctors, nutritionists and people with all kinds of letters behind their name.  It is very difficult to sort out the good information from the bad information.  If you use the tips below, it should be easy for you to determine whether the advice you get is worth following.




Ask Yourself…


Ask yourself the following questions to avoid getting scammed by bogus diet programs:

  1. Why do you want to lose weight?

    Are you unhealthy?  Has your doctor asked you to improve your health?  Is weight loss the best way to become healthier?  If you are trying to improve your health, weight loss may not be the answer.  It may be necessary to increase your physical activity, improve your eating habits and/or manage the stress in your life.  Weight loss may or may not result, but by making these changes, you will definitely be healthier.

     
  2. Are you being advised to eliminate a food group, buy a product, or use supplements to replace nutrients?

    If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you are likely being sold a program or product that is not based on balanced, healthy eating.  Using Canada's Food Guide to help plan your meals, and including foods from all of the four food groups is the best way to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients you need each day.

     
  3. Can you live with these changes for the rest of your life?

    If you are following a program or diet that is short term, is there a maintenance plan set up for when the program ends?  Will you have to pay more money to continue with the program?  If all of your favourite foods are "forbidden", can you live without them forever?  Healthy eating enables you to include a good balance of all foods.  Changes that support health should be easy to do on a regular basis and continue for the rest of your life.


Many people who want to lose weight know there is no miracle fix or quick and effortless way to shed the pounds.  Perhaps it is time to challenge yourself to abandon "dieting" and your quest for weight loss and focus instead on small day-to-day changes you can make to improve your health over the long term.  You can view it as an investment in yourself.  Many people spend time and energy to plan their financial future and their financial security over the long term.  Why not look at your health the same way?  Some time and effort now will have a big impact later in your life, and will go a long way in maintaining your health and preventing long-term disease.  Be a smart consumer and do what you can now to stay healthy for as long as possible.




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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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