|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Weight Loss Product Warnings -- How to Spot Bad Pills
There are numerous ways to make a bad weight loss product look good. How to Spot Bad Pills is the first article in a series on evaluating weight loss products. My hope is to provide you with reliable, easy to understand, and useful tips for spotting bad weight loss products.
For the purpose of this article, the phrase, weight loss pill, refers to over-the-counter, non-prescription weight loss supplements. The following six tips will help you identify weight loss pills that don't back up claims with evidence, cite poorly designed research studies, don't work, and possibly cause serious harm.
The tips, arranged in no particular order, are effective in spotting glaring omissions of evidence, misrepresentations, and outright lies. However, many marketers have become quite skilled in the art of statistical illusion, fooling even those of us with extensive experience in statistical analysis.
What does this mean for you? Use the six tips from How to Spot a Bad Pill as part of your own overall assessment and not as a definitive evaluation. A "good" weight loss pill based upon my six tips, does not necessarily translate to a well studied, safe, and effective product. However, a bad pill here is a bad pill everywhere.
With that quick disclaimer, let's get started...
Bad Pill Tip #1 -- References
Match each claim cited with a reference. The reference should be clear and include the author's name, the location of the study, primary sponsor, title of study, publication source, year, volume, and pages.
A solid claim made for a weight loss pill should not be sales oriented. I fully understand that there is a time to sell. However, I am assuming you are beyond that, and need real information about this weight loss product in question. As you investigate the pill, and the sales copy never seems to go way, that's a red flag.
Lets look at two different claims. The first one is NOT a solid science claim..."Amazing New Weight Loss Pill Maximizes Weight Loss...". This belongs back in the sales copy.
Instead, here is a claim well grounded in science...
"The percentage of weight loss was significantly higher in the test group at the end of the 5 week study...(6)"
Notice the reference is clearly cited and displayed by the number 6. This is identifying the 6th listing on the reference page as the source. This brings up a related topic about the reference page. All ads and websites should have a reference page.
As a matter of fact, the reference page is more valuable than the testimonials. It is a list of the actual studies used to make a case in favor of a weight loss product.
To see an example of a reference page, use this link, Weight Loss Pill Reference Page.
Bad Pill Tip #2 -- Mechanism of Action
Verify how the weight loss pill works, also called the mechanism of action. Every pill, prescription drugs included, should have the mechanism of action clearly stated with references. Do not label a weight loss pill as "good" without a description on how it works.
Bad Pill Tip #3 -- Author
Verify the primary author referenced to make the best claim or the author referenced for making most of the claims. Verify, in this case, means to check the reference as "real" and also test the "marketer" for how accessible the information is to get and review.
Bad Pill Tip #4 -- Subjects
Investigate the number of subjects that have been tested using the weight loss pill in question. This is difficult to judge, but understand that the smaller the study, the less reliable the results. One study with 10 subjects is not enough to make any significant claims.
When isolating one study, the number of subjects needed to produce reliable results depends on several factors. I suggest looking through the information provided to you for references to choosing the right number of subjects. If they take the time to write about it in their official study report, then, most likely, they had the best possible number of subjects.
In general, if you're reviewing one study measuring one variable, you would like to see at least 50 subjects (n=50). However, we often lower this standard given the difficulty in recruiting for studies.
Bad Pill Tip #5 -- Side Effects
A well designed, unbiased study does not hide reported side effects (also called adverse events). This should be as easy to find as the headline of the sale copy or the order form. If it's hidden, stay away from that weight loss pill.
Bad Pill Tip #6 -- Help
If all else fails and you just can't call it a good or bad pill, call your health care provider. Let the person answering the phone know exactly what it is you need. Say something like, "I need feedback on a new weight loss pill, called Pill ABC. Is this a bad pill for me to take or is it a good one?"
Personalize the reason for needing the information and the response time will triple. Since you made it clear you're considering taking the pill, they will get back to you fast to avoid any adverse event. If they don't, consider finding a new health care provider.
Obviously, there are several other areas to critique a weight loss pill. But these are 6 excellent tips that will help you decide if the pill is good or bad. It simply comes down to checking for very basic information that any credible scientist or physician would display or provide immediately.
Not passing just one of the tips is enough to label it as a bad weight loss pill.
To Healthy Living!
Michael A. Smith, MD
Dr. Smith is the primary physician and consultant for the Diet Basics Website of the Weight Loss Professional. Stay tuned for the second article of the series called Weight Loss Product Warning.
Please visit the Diet Basics website and take advantage of all the free offers...original e-books and articles, a top rated newsletter, and much more.
You can visit the site at, weight-loss-professional.com
Consumer Reports: Gluten-Free Diets Are Not Weight-Loss Diets, Stupid - Philadelphia Magazine (blog)
The Big FAT Lie
Over two thirds of Americans are over weight, and half of them are considered obese. Most of the remaining third of Americans are concerned about becoming overweight! While we are obsessed with avoiding food that is high in fat, America has the dubious distinction of its population having the highest percentage of overweight people of any nation in the world! England is number two!One of the most common and harmful misunderstandings is the misinformation (lie) that we are fat because we eat too much fat.
Top 10 Questions and Answers on Atkins Diet
1. What is Atkins Diet? Dr.
Ephedra - 101
What is ephedra? Ephedra, which is also known as Ma Huang, is a 5000 years old natural remedy. It grows mainly in Mongolia and the bordering regions of China.
Obesity Prevention Must Begin at Home
Not losing weight but gaining it is why we are faced with an obesity epidemic in children. This is the real problem.
How To Burn Fat The Easy Way...The Only Way?
You have heard enough about losing weight with various means like dieting,calorie restriction and diet supplements.But,I have a question for you.
Dieting? You Must Reset Your Weight-o-stat
You need to reset your weight-o-stat. No matter how much you exercise and diet, if you don't reset your weight-o-stat, you will often go back to your pre-set weight.
Protein - Its Place In Your Weight Loss Program
Any food that we take into our bodies is composed of macronutrients, micronutrients and water. The macronutrients (macro = large) are protein, fat and carbohydrates; the micronutrients (micro = small) are vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
A Full Scale War
It happens every morning when you mosey out of bed, somewhere between the time you take off that robe and the instant you step into the shower. For others, it happens immediately after a workout, as soon as you peel off those sweaty clothes and stand aimlessly in your birthday suit.
Why Did Your Diet Fail You? Or Did You Fail Your Diet?
Are you someone who has, in the past, been on a diet, only to find at the end of it you had lost no weight? Despite putting your best efforts into the diet much of the time, and keeping quite close to recommendations when it came to calories and so on, for some reason things did not quite work out. Eventually, with the pounds drifting off too slowly and back on again too quickly, you just gave up, and went back to "normal".
Weight Loss Is All To Do With Calories
What is a calorie? The definition of a calorie is "the amount of energy, or heat it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius". A calorie is a unit of energy that is associated with food and drink and is a measure of the energy, or heat, that food produces as your body uses it as fuel.
The Cost of Gastric Bypass Surgery
The cost of gastric bypass surgery and other bariatric surgical procedures are high averaging between $20,000 and $35,000. Many insurance companies are beginning to see obesity as a serious health disorder, however, and have begun to cover some of the cost of gastric bypass surgery.
When Emotional Eating Becomes an Eating Disorder
More and more people are starting to recognize that they eat in response to emotions and moods. It makes perfect sense! We are subconsciously conditioned that food makes us feel good.
The French Fry: Weapon of Mass Destruction?
Americans have their French fries, the British have their chips, Latin America has its papas fritas, and the French have their pommes-frites.We love them.
Close Kept Secrets to Weight Loss Lesson #2
Welcome to lesson #2. First of all, I believe that gratitude is so important in everyday life.
I Cant Weight (One Mans Diet)
From the book Spider's Big CatchLike many people, I've decided I need to take off a little weight from the holidays-the holidays of six years ago. But I've never dieted before, so being a conscientious kinda guy, I logged into my favorite web browser for some advice.
Dieting Effects - Diet Pills
When it comes to our weight and the appearance of our bodies, most of us are concerned about one thing or another. We have a hard time fitting into our clothes and we want to do something about it.
Gastric Bypass Causes Hair Loss: Can It Be Avoided?
Surprisingly, hair loss is one of the reasons female pre-operative patients sit on the fence before deciding to have gastric bypass surgery. Obese people, particularly obese women, often have lush gorgeous hair.
Simple Summer Fat Attack!
Summer is about to be in full swing, and it's that time when everyone wants to look impressive in their "lack" of clothing. While I can't promise you that you'll achieve a fitness model body, I can at least give you some simple but important tips in achieving a leaner physique.
How to Lose Belly Fat: Latest Secrets from the Research Labs, Part 2
Abdominal fat is now seen as a growing health hazard, an indicator and contributor to "Syndrome X," or metabolic syndrome. The risks of metabolic syndrome go far beyond a bulge at your waistline, and include heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Losing Weight: Healthier Wallet
Lose Weight - Get A Break ---------------------------------------- The American Obesity Association (AOA) wants to give new meaning to getting a deduction. Losing weight should get you a deduction.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.