Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Wizard of Oz (Ounces, That Is)

So, it seems that someone has pulled back the curtain and revealed the bitter truth. There is no magic when it comes to weight loss.

On January 4, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had filed complaints in four separate cases alleging that weight-loss and weight-control claims were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Marketers of the four products – Xenadrine EFX, CortiSlim, TrimSpa, and One-A-Day WeightSmart –have settled with the FTC, surrendered cash and other assets worth at least $25 million, and agreed to limit their future advertising claims.

I, for one, was a little sad. I was kind of hoping that all of those things really did work even if I hadn't worked up the nerve to use them. I was disappointed in the One-A-Day people most of all. I am a believer in the products that are stocked on the shelves at my local CVS pharmacy. I don't want to accept that I can trust no one, no brand is immune to scrutiny, or fraud.

No matter how much science you throw at it, weight loss is an uphill battle. You can have surgery, you can take heart-palpitating pills, you can starve yourself. But, we have yet to create a substitution for physical activity and smart, healthy eating.

So, how do you make smart, healthy choices? How do you approach the supermarket so that you are armed for success? Advertisers would have you believe that everything out there is good for you. Whole wheat is the new black. Zero Trans Fats is all the rage. The cool are all drinking vitamin enhanced waters. NutraSweet will set us free.

If only it were that easy. When you discover that just because something says zero trans fats, doesn't actually mean that there are none, you start to get a little concerned. When the sweetener in the funky water gives you stomach cramps, you chalk it up to something you ate. When you find out that whole wheat doesn't mean whole grains, you start to look for the place you hid the cookies...baked with real sugar, no less.

Last week, I learned that most of the vegetables my kids like these days are actually carbs. So now, I have to go back to the frozen vegetable drawing board too. Is there no safe place to eat anymore? I think I am going to head to Dunkins and console myself with a lite latte and a jelly donut. Aaaah, comfort food and truth in advertising. ;)


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