Approximately 8 million Americans a year enroll in some kind of structured
weight-loss program involving liquid diets, special diet regimens, or medical or
other supervision. In 1991, about 8,500 commercial diet centers were in
operation across the country, many of them owned by a half-dozen or so
well-known national companies.
you join such a program, you should know that according to published studies
relatively few participants succeed in keeping off weight long-term. Recently,
the FTC brought action against several companies challenging weight-loss and
weight-maintenance claims. Unfortunately, some other companies continue to make
stopped one company from claiming its diet program caused rapid weight loss
through the use of tablets that would "burn fat" and a protein drink mix that
would adjust metabolism. The FTC also took action against three major programs
using doctor-supervised, very low-calorie liquid diets, and they agreed to stop
making claims unless they could back them up with hard data.
you sign up with a diet program, you might ask these questions:
are the health risks?
data can you show me that proves your program actually works?
customers keep off the weight after they leave the diet program? ?
are the costs for membership, weekly fees, food, supplements, maintenance, and
counseling? What's the payment schedule? Are any costs covered under health
insurance? Do you give refunds if I drop out?
have a maintenance program? Is it part of the package or does it cost extra?
kind of professional supervision is provided? What are the credentials of
are the program's requirements? Are there special menus or foods, counseling
visits, or exercise plans?