Annoying ads for weight loss products and diet pills pop up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds constantly. Usually I ignore them, but recently when an ad posted by @LAWeightLoss appeared declaring: “A Healthy Way to Cleanse & Lose a Few Lbs Effortlessly!” I tweeted: “Does anyone believe this stuff works?”
After receiving a tweet describing how powerful and effective the product was, I asked if @LAWeighLoss had any scientific proof or studies to back-up their claims. They had no studies to offer and encouraged me to look up the ingredients in the product to discover its efficacy for myself.
So I decided to investigate the Dual-Action Cleanse product that @LAWeightLoss was hawking. First I visited their website which had ZERO contact info—no name, address or phone number. The box for the product (viewed on drugstore.com), which included a picture of sketchy looking gentlemen and a red label declaring “As Seen on TV,” was a dead give way to stay away. A review for the product stating, “I know cleansing is not supposed to be fun, but this product made it not only uncomfortable, but plain painful” was another warning sign.
Reading the ingredients in the product, I found one reason for the pain: Cascara Sagrada powder, an herbal laxative made from the bark of the California buckthorn that can cause severe cramping. According to Healthline.com:
Cascara Sagrada “can cause abdominal cramping, loss of electrolytes, and dependency. Using cascara sagrada for longer than two weeks can lead to lazy bowel syndrome. This condition prevents you from having bowel movements without the help of a laxative.”
Another scary ingredient in the supplement was black cohosh. The risks of taking this herb include headaches, upset stomach and liver problems. In addition, according to webmd.com black cohosh may not be safe for women who are pregnant or have had or have endometriosis, breast cancer or uterine cancer.
More digging revealed two reports on Quackwatch.com of series harm believed to be caused by taking Dual Action Cleanse. One man was diagnosed with a block in his colon that required four days of hospital treatment. Another man charged that the product had caused perforation of his intestine that required hospitalization and two operations. According to Quackwatch.com, “In 2007, the Los Angeles Better Business Bureau reported that it had received more than 350 complaints that Dual Action Cleanse overcharged, failed to issue refunds, and made unauthorized charges.”
Weight loss supplements, “proven diet plans” and herbal cleanses are not sustainable weight loss solutions. If they work in the short-term it’s because they contain potentially dangerous, sometimes undeclared ingredients that can harm your body. These products and potions give women desperate for physical transformation a false sense of hope. If you want to lose weight it’s hard to resist ads with dramatic before and after pictures declaring: “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” or “Feast and still lose 3 to 5 pounds in 2 days.” Taking a pill seems like such an easy solution when you have no idea how to solve your weight problems.
Back on twitter a consumer joined our conversation. She tweeted about her experience with cleanses and cleansing supplements. Along with excessive pooping she did lose weight, but gained it all back. I commented that these types of products never work in the long-run at which point @LAWeightLoss asked me if I was looking for a law suit, accused me of being a pompous PhD and a stalker. I tweeted back #ironic!
Realizing I wasn’t a consumer looking for a quick fix, he (although his Twitter avatar looked like Charlie Theron, I suspected @LAWeightLoss was a man) quickly changed his Twitter tune and tactics. I had hit a nerve. Feeling threatened he blocked me. Then in a final flourish he sent me a picture of a barracuda with a tweet asking me if I was being eaten by the competition. Competition? Hardly, more like ammunition. One of his colleagues in support tweeted back: “Some people should use Glue Stick instead of ChapStick.”
Sorry, boys this woman uses Burt’s Bees and the truth stings. The truth is no diet pill or portion is going to transform your body and make you happy. Happiness doesn’t come from getting something you don’t have, but rather from recognizing and appreciate what you do have. So the next time you feel heavy don’t look for another weight loss regime to solve your problems. Look within and harmonize the dance of your life with the song in your heart and flow with grace, beauty and ease.
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