Bullshit Fat Loss Claims

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a few attempts to comment spam some of the articles on this site with links to a web site claiming you can lose “30 pounds in 30 days without diet or exercise” by taking products they sell. Of course, this is complete and utter bullshit.

For starters, the math does not add up. Assuming the claim refers to fat loss, and not loss of water or other tissues, this is impossible. A pound of fat contains 3,500 calories of energy.To lose a pound of fat one would have to expend 3,500 more calories per day than they consume. Many people do not even burn this many calories per day. No supplement is going to cause you to burn this many more calories per day, which would require more than a doubling of metabolic rate for many people, something that would probably also result in enough of an increase in body temperature to kill you.

There is a limit to the rate at which energy can be obtained from fat stores, the average being about 30 calories per day per pound of fat. A person would have to have over 116 pounds of body fat to begin with to lose a pound of it per day, assuming they were able to create a 3,500 calorie deficit. This is highly unlikely.

No supplement is going to cause you to lose a pound of fat per day, or even half that. Even getting injections of a powerful fat-loss hormone like leptin that would cost upwards of $1,000 per day would not produce those kind of results.

Also, there is no proof that Acai berry, the main ingredient in one of the supplements recommended, would have any beneficial effect on fat loss. There is no other benefit to Acai berry supplements over simply eating more fresh fruit – do not waste your money on them.

The other product they recommend, one of the many “cleansing” supplements, would also have no effect on fat loss, and provide no health benefits for someone who already consumes an adequate amount of fiber daily.

The claim that an Acai berry and “cleansing” supplement would cause a person to lose 30 pounds of fat in 30 days without diet or exercise is complete and utter bullshit. Competitive bodybuilders using steroids and other drugs don’t lose fat that quickly with exercise and diet when preparing for competitions.

The more I read this web site, the more it pisses me off. It starts out,

“It seems that I tried every diet and exercise program out there, but nothing seemed to work.”

I hear this a lot. Usually when a person says they “tried” something but it didn’t work, they either didn’t commit to doing it correctly or consistently for a long enough period of time. She goes on,

“But then I discovered something that helped me lose 30 pounds in 30 days. I lost pounds and kept them off, and you can too! I started this blog because I wanted to share my weight loss story.”

Bullshit. First, she certainly did not lose 30 pounds of fat in 30 days, as I explained above, and if she lost any weight at all it was not without at least some change in diet, as the products she credits do not do what she claims. Second, she did not start the blog to share her bullshit weight loss story, she started it to sell bullshit supplements. The bullshit gets even deeper,

“I’m a busy mom of three, and I don’t have TIME to count calories…”

A 4 oz grilled chicken breast is about 190 calories, about 8 spears of asparagus is about 25, and a small orange is about 45.

It took me 2 minutes and 17 seconds to go to a web site, look up the information, and type the above sentence. It might take only a little longer to look it up in a book and write it down in a notebook. Anybody who says they don’t have time to count calories is full of shit or incredibly lazy, and probably both. What’s ironic is, she’s probably one of those people who’d rather spend 15 minutes driving around looking or waiting for a parking spot than just park in the first open spot and walk for only 5.

There are also numerous nutrition tracking web sites and apps which make counting calories and macro and micronutrients fast and easy. It takes a few minutes to sign up and only a few minutes a day to track food intake – less time than it takes to find a good parking spot at the grocery store on Sunday afternoon if you’re too lazy to walk across the parking lot.

“… or go to the gym every day.”

It isn’t necessary to go to the gym every day to lose fat. The absolute most any of my clients work out is 3 times a week, for no more than 30 minutes per workout, which has been very effective for fat loss. Most of my clients train only twice weekly, and some only once weekly. As long as they train hard and consistently and eat properly they lose fat. Many of them work full time and have children, and some of them work full time while also working towards post-graduate degrees.

It isn’t even necessary to join a gym. While not ideal, an effective routine can be performed at home with little or no equipment, requiring very little space, in under 30 minutes. Nobody can legitimately say they do not have time to work out if their health is really a priority. Everybody can make time if it is really important to them.

“After trying lots of different things, I developed a diet that works and fits my busy schedule.”

Taking supplements is not the same as developing a diet.

“The products in this diet are safe, healthy, and they REALLY WORK. Want proof?”

The “proof” she gives is a before and after photo, which could have been taken years apart for all we know, or the before photo might have been taken during or right after a pregnancy. There is nothing about the photo that proves any of the claims she makes. The only thing it proves is her weight was different at the times the photos were taken, and they could have been taken in any order, anywhere from months to years apart.

What really pisses me off about this, even more than the blatant attempts at spamming my site, is that there are millions of people out there who are overweight and who need to be encouraged and taught how to change their eating habits and exercise, and then along come assholes like this making bullshit claims about being able to lose “30 pounds in 30 days without diet or exercise”, discouraging them from the things they need to focus on the most for the sake of a few bucks.

There are no pills, potions, or shortcuts. If you want to make a major change in the way your body looks or performs, it is going to require hard work, discipline, and time. If you’re willing to do what it takes, however, I guarantee you’ll find it’s worth the effort.

References:

Alpert SS. A limit on the energy transfer rate from the human fat store in hypophagia. J Theor Biol. 2005 Mar 7;233(1):1-13.

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