1989 Slim Chance Awards

Each year, Frances M. Berg, M.S., who operates the Healthy Weight Network presents "Slim Chance Awards" to promoters of weight-loss schemes. Here are the awards for 1989:

Worst Product: Appetoff Diet Patch kits

These patches are claimed to suppress the appetite control center in the brain. A drop or two of herbal liquid is placed on an adhesive bandage, which is then affixed to the wrist at an “acupuncture” point. Calling diet patches Snake-Oil on a Band-Aid, consumer activists liken them to “putting nothing on no place.” Meditrend reportedly took in $13 million with this product in five months. In a label review, FDA pulled this product off the market and destroyed $25 million in Appetoff diet patch kits. (Meditrend International, San Diego, CA)

Worst Claim: Ultimate Solution Diet (“Lose weight, earn $1,000”)

This scam combines two American obsessions – making money and losing weight. The ads for the Ultimate Solution state: “We will pay you $1,000 to lose weight, if you help us test our new all natural, safe and effective diet program.” Here’s the catch: You buy $229 worth of diet aids, fill in a daily diary, and receive a U.S. Bond costing $130 to $180, according to reporter Kevin Keeshan, KGET-TV, Bakers field, CA. If you keep the bond long enough, it will mature to $1,000. (Amerdream, Miami Beach, FL)

Most Outrageous: Fat Magnet

Charges have been filed against producers of this pill in Iowa, Missouri and Texas. Billed as the lazy way to lose weight, the Fat Magnet costs $35 for 180 pills. It is claimed to break into “thousands of particles, each acting like a tiny magnet, attracting and trapping many times its size in undigested fat particles … then, all the trapped fat and calories are naturally flushed out of your body.” It is said to have been developed by “two prominent doctors at a world famous hospital in Los Angeles.” (Allied International, Beverly Hills, CA)

Worst Gadget: Jet Trim Cellulite Nozzle

The Jet Trim Cellulite program sells 10 sessions to massage away a problem that doesn’t exist. A nozzle device similar to a vacuum cleaner is touted to break up the cellulite and enable it to be sloughed off by the body. Since cellulite does not exist, the problem is mythical; cellulite is a quack term used to exploit the idea that lumpy fat deposits respond to special treatment. (Jet Trim, Oklahoma City, OK).

This article was revised on January 5, 2009.

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