So I recently had a friend send me some info on her new weight loss program, where she lost something like 13 pounds in 8 days. I was impressed and happy for her, but things got a little weird. Initially she told me it was a better diet, some cardio and “natural products”. When pressed, all I was given was a website that had some testimonial videos on it but no real information on the product or even how to buy it.
Right away my Skeptey Senses were tingling.
I had almost forgotten about it until I was sent a phone number with a log in code for a conference call this evening. I had an extra few minutes so I called in, and found out that this is not just a fad diet (which it is) but that it is also a Multi-Level Marketing
scam scheme. The woman on the phone had a few people tell us their stories, I believe I was muted when I did not identify myself, then told us to contact the person who sent us the number to find out how to get in on this great weight loss system which totally makes no “medical claims here” as the moderator said.
Absolutely no medical claims you say? Skeptey Senses are now somewhere in the range of a 5.2 earthquake.
In looking up this system of the gods, I found this great article which breaks down what the system is. Basically, it is a very low (sub 1,000 possibly sub 400) calorie diet combined with some nutritional shakes and some supplements (Xyng Fuel 4 Life)which may be mostly vitamins, caffeine, and beta-phenylethylamine HCI which is a stimulant. It also contains Geranium root ,which contains a chemical called DMAA that the FDA is not too fond of. Of course I don’t know how much DMAA is contained as it is only listed as Gernanium Root, but Geranium Root Extract is another name often used for it, as it is in and extracted from the Geranium root.
I don’t want to get into the specifics here, I think the above article did it fairly well. It is fairly obvious that this is just another fad diet cropping up on social media right now, coupled with a MLM to add to the distaste factor. The absolute best part though, are all of the anecdotal evidence style pictures of dramatic weight loss. Some of these do seem very impressive with abs on top of abs, but a lot of them are somewhat to fairly overweight people showing their weight loss. I always have a problem believing these pictures, especially when they seem to show dramatic or potentially dangerous levels of weight loss. However, in the interest of Science! I have elected to subject my doughy, awful body to something that is near torture to show my own transformation. Pics below:
Look at that first picture, it’s horrible with that beer gut, non existent chest and that flabby useless arm. That is a man who could never beat a wild bear to death with a rock to save his family! The guy on the right though… ok he is also a doughy and probably should not be posting pictures like this on the internet if he ever wants to be non single… But he does look a little slimmer in the waist, a little thicker in the chest and his arm is definitely looking like it has the hints of some muscle development. He isn’t quite at male model level but he is showing some improvement right?
Skeptey Senses anyone?
This took about 40 minutes, and 30 of that involved me using a stationary bike and doing about 60 or so push ups. The bike actually wasn’t even necessary, I just needed to help burn off the steak I had for dinner. I didn’t even change the lighting, though I did close the door to help show that the gut I was pushing out in the first pic was now being sucked in with the kind of pressure that is usually only reserved for deep sea diving expeditions. That is all. It isn’t hard to look like you achieved some weight loss. If you want to see an example of this with actually attractive people, assuming you aren’t washing your eyes out with bleach at this point, look here and here.
So the basic point here is to be careful about these fad weight loss programs. They seem to have gotten hip to some of the old warning signs, such as showing models and athletes in their promotional pictures, so now they are using people who look like… well… me to do it (Hey! If that fat guy can lose that much gut I’m positive I can look spectacular in a few weeks at most!) They also seem to have caught on that people want to lose weight quickly, but they want to get rich more. It seems especially horrid that they are using people’s trust in their friends to get their product sold. Weight loss scams are bad, but so are multi level marketing schemes. Just remember the next time you see one of these ads, even from a friend, that these are two popular models to dupe people into paying a lot of money for minimal and sometimes dangerous returns. Starvation diets are not good for you and most of these people will pack on even more weight when they go back to eating like normal. The multi level marketing aspect preys on two things most people are worried about: their weight and money. It is a one-two combo knockout that will end up sucking the money out of the victims wallets, but not the fat out of their gut.