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Fitness Scams

Caveat emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware”. Nowhere is this phrase more applicable than in the weight loss industry of today.

It seems that every time we turn around we are blasted and bombarded with the latest, greatest, new and improved treatment for obesity. From miracle pills to the latest fad diet, the gimmicks just keep coming. The sad truth is that few of these products work. Even fewer will result in real, permanent and lasting fat loss. A very few of the weight loss gimmicks on the market today are not only a consumer rip-off, but they are also quite dangerous…..even deadly. Caveat emptor indeed!


As an example, consider the prescription diet drug Meridia. Does it help you lose weight? For some people, the answer is yes. For others, the answer is no. Can it kill you? The answer to this question seems to be a nervous ‘maybe’. “The consumer group Public Citizen had petitioned the Food and Drug Administration for a ban, citing Meridia users who died of heart problems as young as their 20s and 30s. Even before Meridia was approved for sale, the FDA knew it could increase users’ blood pressure, the group contended.” (Source:

This week the FDA again refused to ban Meridia, even though whistleblower David Graham (an FDA drug safety officer) testified to Congress last fall that his agency was allowing five unsafe medicines to stay on the market, including Meridia.


Ephedra was banned in the United States last year, in part due to numerous deaths attributed to this popular weight loss supplement. On April 14, a federal Judge in Utah reversed the short-lived ban on ephedra. Within minutes, spammers were filling our email boxes with messages to BUY BUY BUY before ephedra was banned again.

One of these spammers, on their website, states that “Finally, the forbidden fat-burning herb banned for being ‘too effective’ – Ephedra – is available to the public again”.

Yes, ephedra will help some people lose weight. Yes, ephedra is safe for some people in low doses. But there is that little nagging fact that people have DIED and that their deaths have been attributed to ephedra use…..


“The Advertising Standards Authority in Great Britian has ordered L’Oreal to pull ads for an anti-cellulite cream. The board found that claims as to the effects and timeliness of the skin treatment were misleading and could not be backed up by any research. The ads featured Claudia Schiffer and L’Oreal has agreed to make changes to the advertisements.” (Source:

For whatever reason, some people have decided that anabolic steroids are the best way to lose weight. Despite the well-documented and serious side-effects of steroid use, the lure of easy weight loss has caused many to throw caution to the wind. Perhaps the most concerning trend is steroid use among our teenage population: “Teens also listed steroids, growth hormone, amino acids and other potentially unhealthful products among those they’d tried in the previous year.” (Source:


Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is indeed the rule when it comes to many weight loss gimmicks. However, there is one weight loss method that has never been banned, has never led to an investigation, and has never been been listed on a ‘whistleblower’ fraud report: EXERCISE.

Exercise is the only path to health and fitness that virtually every doctor in the world agrees upon. Exercise is safe, effective, and brings many more benefits to our lives than diets or drugs ever will. Exercise is fun, invigorating, motivating and the single most powerful way to improve our life and well-being!

Instead of looking for another short-cut to weight loss success, choose the proven method that gets results. Choose exercise.

* Tracie Johanson is the founder of Pick Up The Pace, a 30-minute exercise studio for women, focusing on fitness, health and nutrition for maximum weight loss. Please visit for more information.