In Australia, the weight-loss industry is worth millions. It is estimated that in 2010-11, Australians will spend $789.6 million in an effort to slim down. Weight-loss pills make big claims – but do they really work?
We took a closer look at a selection of diet pills and the ingredients that reportedly give them their fat-busting properties. What we found were
products that are not rigorously tested and active ingredients with little or no proof they work. Overall, the current evidence for the effectiveness and safety of these products is pretty sketchy. At present, a balanced, kilojoule-controlled diet and exercise plan are still the best way to control your weight.
In 2008, Australia hit a milestone. After years of downing meat pies, snags and pints, we finally did it – we officially became the fattest nation in the world, according to a study by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia’s Future Fat Bomb. It reported 26 per cent of adult Australians – almost four million people – are obese. If you include those who fall into the overweight category, that figure jumps to nine million. No wonder we are turning to over-the-counter help.
You’ve seen the ads – you know, the ones that say “I lost eight kilograms with this product” or “Yes! I want my body to absorb less fat!” They can be pretty convincing, especially when supported by “scientific evidence” and amazing “testimonials”, complete with before and after shots.
It used to be that such dramatic testimonials came with the fine print that they are “exceptional” and that “individual results may vary”. In 2005, the law changed so that testimonials and photos must be of typical cases. However, in the testimonial pages of some websites many cases still seem exceptional. If you look at the fineprint, it is often explained that their results are due to a lot more than taking product X, such as larger changes in diet and activity levels.
You will typically find that weightloss pills are designed to be used in conjunction with an energy-controlled diet and exercise. But wasn’t that what we were trying to avoid in the first place? The truth of the matter is these products may or may not assist with weight loss, but, whatever their impact, it seems that we can’t escape the hard yards.
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