1992 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 1992:

Worst Gadget: Acu-stop 2000 ear device

An acupuncture device to curb the appetite, Acu-Stop is a clear plastic, teardrop-shaped object that fits into the ear, similar to a hearing aid. Instructions are to insert it in the right ear with the "bumps" in-side, and wear it 15 to 20 minutes six times a day or more "as necessary" to control hunger. The ads claim it will "control your hunger in a remarkable new way, without di-eting, without exercise. . . Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!" A tantalizing clincher adds, "If you lose too much weight, discontinue use immediately." $39.99. Acu-Stop 2000, 10343 Royal Palm Blvd, :#339, Coral Springs, FL 33065-4817

Worst Product: Slender You tables.

Cropping up everyhere today, in weight loss clinics, spas and health clubs, are the sleek new passive exercise "state-of-art" mechanical tables which rhythmically move one's body parts back and forth, claiming to provide the benefits of actual exercise. Slender You says their tables will tone and firm muscles, remove "cellulite," reduce fat in specific locations, and provide benefits similar or superior to rigor-ous exercise. "Everyone loses inches. . . 10 inches in 13 weeks. . . Reduces excess fat on upper arms, midriff, waist. . . Pumps surplus oxygen into your system and rids body of fat-inducing acid waste. . . Each 60 minute Slender You workout approximates 7 hours of traditional exercise. . . No sweat. No strain!" Furthermore, there's profitability: "Most salons more than double their money in profit by the end of the first year." Slender You recently signed a consent order with FfC to halt these false claims.

Worst Claim: Bodi-trim pills

Bodi-Trim, a new pill from Fat-Busters, tempts with its easy promises: "I guarantee! Eat all you want. . . You can lose 70 pounds in 40 days or your money back!! Melts away 30, 60, or even 100 pounds. Discovered by a heart specialist. . . The most permanent way to lose weight and keep it off. . . Simply take one tablet at breakfast." Thirty-day plan $19.95. Fat-Busters, Seffner, FL 33584-0218 (1-800-445-7500; 1-800-950-0210)

Most Outrageous: Synchronol infomercials

Fully exploited by Synchronol 30--minute television infomercials resemble an educational format with pseudo news and interviews. In one Synchronol script a "researcher" explains how seaweed removes fat: "Well, this diagram will help make it clear. These are cellulite cells with their trapped toxins. The hardened connective tissue won't let these nu-trients get to the cells. . . Seaweed is a key to success." FfC charged Synchronol with false claims in selling Anushka Body Contouring, Cel-lulite Gel, Firming Lotion, Multi-revitalizing Cream, and Cellulean tablets.

This article was posted on December 22, 2008.

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