2005 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 2005:.

Most Outrageous Claim

"Shape Up with Dr Phil." "Dr. Phil" McGraw often gives good advice, but he let down his fans when he decided to hype his worthless diet pills. His literature promises the pills contain "scientifically researched levels of ingredients," but there was no real testing or real clinical trials. One gimmick sorted customers into "apple" and "pear" shapes to personalize supplement choices, then added 10 or more "intensifier" pills to take it all to the "next level" of weight loss, for a total of 22 pills a day at $120 a month.

Under a recent Federal Trade Commission investigation, CSA Nutraceuticals, which made the Shape Up supplements, shakes, bars and multivitamins, has stopped production. In October, fraud charges, that could turn into a nation-wide class-action lawsuit were filed by three users in Los Angeles. Dr. Phil protests that he donates the proceeds to a personal foundation that helps fight obesity in children. How's that again, doctor?

Worst Claim

Jana Skinny Water. Another foolish craze to hit the shelves recently is this bottled water that claims to help people lose weight. As if a no-calorie water that is less likely to add pounds than real water makes sense. How ridiculous is that? Claims are that this "100% natural water" with its added "essential nutrients" helps reduce body weight, curbs appetite, blocks carbohydrates and increases fat burning, without stimulating the nervous system, and gives you a "pure water taste with a hint of fresh lemon." Where's the research to support these otherwise illegal drug claims, as the FTC requires? Advice is to drink 3 to 4 bottles of Jana Skinny Water daily at a cost of about $6.30 a day. The "aquaceuticals" fad started in Japan and hit the U.S. and Britain last year.

This article was posted on December 22, 2008.

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