Want to lose weight? Be aware of empty claims

January 08, 2013|Lynn Little

This time of the year magazines, newspapers, television and radio as well as the Internet bombard us with diet and weight loss options. 

As you review the information about diet plans or weight loss products, ask yourself, "is it too good to be true?" because, unfortunately, many are just empty promises.  

Beware of the diet plan or weight loss product if:

  •  Miraculous, fast results are promised.
  •  No time or effort is said to be required.
  •  Claims are made that calories don't count.
  •  Eating a variety of foods is not stressed.
  •  Claims are made that diets either high or low in certain nutrients have special reducing powers.
  •  Certain foods have special powers to cause selective weight loss (for example, hips and thighs)

Most health experts agree that the best and safest way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet, reduce your caloric intake and exercise. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, along with balancing calories with physical activity to manage weight.

Diet and weight loss plans that ignore the principles of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, ( might result in short-term weight loss, but may do so at the risk of your health.

How you go about managing your weight has a lot to do with your long-term success. Unless your health is seriously at risk due to complications from being overweight or obese, gradual weight loss should be your rule, and your goal.

The magic pill, cream, skin patch, wrap or dietary supplement for weight loss does not exist. You have to use/burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. Fast weight loss (more than one to two pounds per week) reflects water-not fat-loss. Your plan needs to be to eat well and enjoy some type of physical activity daily. Unless the lifestyle change you are considering suggests that you will need fewer calories and that you should become more active, you won't lose weight permanently or safely. 

It is also very important that before beginning any weight loss program, you talk with your doctor.

For more information about weight loss and weight management, visit and search for "losing weight". 

For tips to incorporate the Dietary Guidelines as part of your healthy lifestyle visit You can also locate weight loss and weight management ideas, healthful recipes as well as the  SuperTracker, an online tool that helps you track what you currently eat and drink, gives you a personalized plan for what you should eat and drink, and guides you to make better choices.

Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

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