weight loss in a box

A quest for hotdog buns led us to Whole Foods today. Not a store we generally shop at – quite frankly – we can’t afford their prices, but always a place I love exploring. I was wandering down the vitamin and supplement aisle and was surprised to see an entire section devoted to cleanses and detox kits. I consider myself fairly educated on maintaining good health, but have never had faith in “weight loss in a box.”

In defense of Whole Foods – they do their part to educate consumers and provide resources. And heck – with materials like this it’s hard to resist a cleanse. I guess instinctively I just don’t agree with the cleansing industry as a whole.

I think it’s scary that these types of products almost seem to be marketed toward people’s naivete and desperation – and counter intuitive that stores we view as health authorities stock and sell them. But can we blame them? According to Bloomberg, Americans spend more than $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products.

I wish that all the people purchasing these items considered that in 2010, a federal district court ordered Bronson Partners, LLC, which markets a $24.95-a-month herbal tea and diet patch, to pay nearly $2 million to the FTC for making false claims. The company told consumers that drinking one cup of Chinese Diet Tea after each meal could help them lose as much as six pounds a week. This is just one of many, many similar stories.

I firmly believe in taking vitamins and supplements and following guidance on what your body needs. But the fad aspect is scary.

If committing to a raw food diet or vegetarianism for a few weeks helps you jump start long-term better health, then I think it’s a good thing. We should all pay close attention to what we use to fuel ourselves…But staking too much faith in a specific tactic makes me scrunch up my nose. I’d rather sweat my face off on the stair climber then ingest a strange cleansing powder I can’t pronounce.

The weight loss industry is massive. Google “weight loss industry statistics” and you will have reading material for days. But truth be told, it’s certainly a complicated scenario for millions of people across the world – hence, the $40B a year we’re spending.

Maintaining an appropriate weight is no longer the black and white equation we once thought it was; genetics and a plethora of environmental factors, and things as simple as age and blood type, can all impact our health.

I can’t attempt to make medical suggestions – but I will fistbump anyone who simply uses common sense. You can’t believe everything you read – but you can notice trends and make educated decisions.

I encourage anyone interested in taking vitamins to refer to The Multivitamin Guide before purchasing Centrum or One-A-Day. And I recommend researching cleanses and weight loss alternatives before risking your health in hopes of quick results. The FTC has a great microsite that outlines things to look for that are likely false claims.

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