As the world focus on ways to put an end to the COVID-19 crisis currently by implementing various measures such as pouring more money into the economy in the form of “Stimulus package” and aids to reduce the impacts, the number of people battling to lose weight worldwide continues to skyrocket in an alarming rate.
Prior to the COVID-19, there are still many people who still struggle to lose weight even with the increasing number of gyms at every corner of our streets. Right now, that number had skyrocketed because most people are scared to go to the public gym for fear of been infected by the virus. Instead, they are staying at home watching TV shows on Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu movies, On-Demand channels, and other online media.
The issue is not just about weight gain, but also about psychological disorders. Millions of people are losing their jobs leading to rising depression, adjustment disorder, and a host of other problems that demoralize them from involving in any kind of physical activity.
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Why the Struggle to Lose Weight Despite the Advancement in Health and Fitness?
What an irony, as the number of weight-loss products, tips, information, and experts who claimed to have the breakthrough solutions or secret to loss weight skyrocket, the number of people both young and old, rich and poor, struggling to lose weight continue to increase instead of declining.
One of the reasons why people struggle to lose weight is because the weight loss industry is flooded with misinformation. There are lots of false claims about the benefits and potential results of these weight loss, weight watchers, weight dieters, and others, according to Mary Eagle, the director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Another reason is that sadly, the Majority of these shady businesses use experts with credibility such as doctors (e.g. Dr. Oz, Dr. Steven Gundry, etc.), celebrities ( For instance, Oprah Winfred claimed to use KetoFit to lose 40 pounds on the interview with Dr. Oz on the internet?), nutritionists, Christian organizations (Christian Broadcasting Network [CBN]), and others to spread most of these false claims without verifying the efficacy of or actually using these programs or products.
According to the ABC News website, celebrity endorsers of major weight-loss programs are receiving on average $500,000 to $3 Million; celebrity endorsers earn on average $33,000 per pound lost; and a week-long (six night) weight-loss program, including massages and personal training sessions at Beau-Rivage Palace, cost roughly $5000 to participate ( a luxury hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland).
Knowing More About Your Weight
Your body weight is simply the net amount of energy (measured in calories) from the food we eat minus the amount of energy used during our daily activities, which consists of our basal metabolic rate (BMR) and level of physical activity. BMR is defined as the number of calories we burn per hour simply by being alive and maintaining body functions.
From a theoretical standpoint, to lose weight, you either have to eat fewer calories, or burn more than you consume, or simply combine both eating less and burning more by increasing your intensity of physical activity.
Knowing this concept, one could say that losing weight has nothing to do with the amount of weight loss goal you set (whether losing 5 or 40 lbs), but mainly on the number of calories will put in our body by what we eat minus the number of calories will burn doing activities.
All it actually takes to effectively lose weight and maintain it is by following the basic healthy eating diet tips, without any weight loss programs, fitness books, special diet plans, or medications.
The Weight Loss Industry
According to market research.com, the U.S. weight-loss industry is now roughly a “$72 billion industry in 2019 and is forecast to grow 2.6 percent every year until 2023”.The weight loss industry consists of numerous players such as companies that are developing and supporting diet plans, weight loss supplement manufactures, diet experts, low-calorie soda makers, low Carb. low-Carb., and low-fat food makers, and doctors who specialized in obesity, and so on.
By now, you must have heard about the increasing number of health problems as a result of the rising rate of obesity, especially the increasing rate of diabetes-related to obesity.
According to WHO, over 1.9 billion adults from 18 years and above were overweight and among these, more than 650 million adults were obese in 2016. These figures continue to rise. The alarming part is that overweight and obesity have drastically increased in our children population-In 2019, roughly 38.2 million children under the age of 5 years were reported to be overweight or obese.
Also, the psychological issues of guilt, mental stress, and/ or low self-esteem that plague the majority of these people. These problems for sure need to be addressed, and guess who are best suited to handle these problems in one way or the other? In whatever way you look at it, WEIGHT LOSS is a BIG industry.
Weight-Loss Trend Shift
It looks like every couple of months, there is a new weight loss product in the market. Diet products used to be the trend before 2014, but now is more of a healthier lifestyle diets. In 2017, there are nine most popular diets according to experts. They include the following:
- Atkins diet.
- Weight Watchers diet.
- Ketogenic diet.
- The Zone diet
- Vegetarian diet.
- Vegan diet.
- South Beach Diet.
- Raw food diet.
As the trend shifted to the medical weight loss niche, big businesses are currently partnering with physicians (prescribing weight loss plans to their overweight and obese patients) in order to have some piece from the lion share.
The Obstacle these Greedy Companies Face
Per FranchiseHelp.com website, during the last 10 years alone, the Federal Trade Commission has brought over 80 law enforcement actions against businesses making misleading weight-loss claims.
One of them is the marketer of Sensa (a product that consumers sprinkled on their food to help them lose weight) was fined $26.5 million to settle charges of false advertising because the company “deceived consumers with unfounded weight-loss claims and misleading endorsements.” But the Marketer of Sensa claimed that there was no admission of wrongful conduct in the settlement (FTC).
According to Mary Engle, the director of the advertising practices division at the FTC, “There is little evidence that pills and supplements can help you lose a lot of weight”.
Also, some of the biggest players in the industry have accused each other of deception. In 2010, Jenny Craig was sued by Weight Watchers, the largest provider of weight loss services in the U.S., in U.S. District Court in New York over its ads that said that “Jenny Craig clients lost, on average, over twice as much weight as those on the largest weight-loss program.”
Weight Watchers claimed that no major clinical trial was done that proved this statement and that those assertions were false and misleading. The two companies reached a settlement: Jenny Craig, though it admitted no wrongdoing, agreed to never again publish, broadcast or disseminate the ad in any form.
In a statement issued at the time, Jenny Craig said, “We challenge Weight Watchers to compete directly with us in a head-to-head clinical trial.”
These days, it is very hard to find the right weight loss information when everyone is claiming to be the medical or nutritional expert and they don’t care about who they screw in the process of getting rich. According to experts, these companies continue to flood the internet with misleading information.
Just to be clear, there are still some weight-loss ads that present relatively honest information, and some diet products and supplements that are effective.
Mary Eagle recommended that to “avoid fraudulent weight-loss products”, people should be on the “lookout for labels that promise quick action (like losing 10 pounds in 10 days)”, and labels that use words like “guaranteed” or “scientific breakthrough.” She also warns against using creams or patches that promise to help with weight loss.
Other few tips to identify fake ads are
- if it sounds too good to be true, it almost definitely is.
- Ask yourself, “Who is making the claim?” Is the person making the claims biased? Are they trying to sell a product? Is the information based on just one small study?
- There’s no secret ingredient to weight loss or maintenance. We’ve known for a long time that eating right and exercising are what matters.
What will it take to truly and safely achieve a healthy weight? Remember that you are what you eat and how much you eat. One of the major elements of good health is having a healthy weight. That being said, the amount and quality of what we eat serve as a major factor in losing unwanted weight or maintaining a healthy weight. While physical activities whether exercise is another key factor that completes the triangle. The third piece of the triangle is the motivation to regularly implement all these factors with a positive attitude.
Although there are few great weight products, and food replacement plans in the market, but also remember that there are many people and businesses out there who see the weight loss struggle as an opportunity to make some cash. For them to do that, they are willing to fabricate lies about their products that appeal to our desperation without thinking of the harm these products will cause in our body, let alone the psychological aftermath.