Worst Weight Loss Products of All Time
Humans are among the most impatient creatures in the world. We want our dinner on the table in minutes—not an hour—and we'll do anything to cut down the amount of time it takes to commute to work.
And when we're trying to lose weight, it's no different. We don't want to trudge along and watch as the pounds slowly drop off over a series of weeks. (You know—how you're supposed to lose weight.) We want to go from flab to fab overnight without breaking a sweat or giving up the food we love—and we're willing to do just about anything to make it happen—like buy weight loss products.
Uncomfortable corsets that promise a trimmer waistline? We've got 'em. Zero calorie chocolate syrup. It exists. And these are some of the more tame, gimmicky weight loss products on the market.
Though not all of them cause physical harm, snail oil-esque slim down products can still do psychological harm, mostly because they're not effective, cautions registered dietitian nutritionist Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD. "Using products that don't work can feed feelings of failure and helplessness. The US weight loss industry totaled $64 billion dollars in 2014, yet two out of three adults are still considered overweight or obese. Something doesn't add up."
Curious if any of your go-to weight loss products are among the worst of the lot or which ones you should steer clear of? Read on to find out. And once you've tossed your wonky products out the window, accelerate your weight loss wins with the help of these effective weight loss tricks you haven't tried!
Obalon Balloon Pill
What it is: A pill with an inflatable balloon inside. Yes, that's right, a balloon! After patients swallow the pill (which is attached to a thin tube) and it makes its way down to the stomach, doctors use the tube to inflate the balloon. The tube is then removed and the balloon stays down in the belly. It can stay in there for up to three months, after which a doctor deflates the balloon and pulls it out through the mouth. Ouch.
The claim: The Obalon balloon is said to aid weight by helping patients feel full sooner, which in turn helps them eat less.
The truth: While it's likely true that the balloon makes you feel full, there's a small possibility that the balloon could get lodged in the stomach, which could cause anything from vomiting to death. If that wasn't terrifying enough, you also run the risk of the balloon stretching the stomach or the esophagus. This would likely cause inflammation which could result in an ulcer, internal bleeding, or infection. Thankfully, this product is not yet available for sale in the U.S.—and we're hoping it stays this way.
What it is: A modern take on a sixteenth-century corset, made popular by Amber Rose and the curvaceous Kardashian clan. It compresses women's figures into an hourglass shape.
The claim: Waist trainers are said to help wearers lose up to seven inches from, you guessed it, their waist. Makers of the product also claim that the product can metabolize fat, release toxins, compress the core, and reduce food intake.
The truth: "Of course you won't want to eat when you have trouble breathing and your stomach is being pushed into your spine," says Sarah Kozyk , MA, RDN, a dietitian specializing in weight management and sports nutrition. "Waist trainers and corsets are very restricting and not comfortable. And, unfortunately, there is no way to spot-reduce fat. So, while you are eating less because you're so restricted, it doesn't mean you'll be losing fat in just your waist and belly area. While you wear the corset, you will most likely lose weight due to lack of eating. However, once you take that trainer off, you'll go back to your old eating habits and quickly gain the weight back." The bottom line: "Waist trainers are not a good long-term weight loss solution," says Koszyk. Looking for a better way to trim the fat? Avoid these things making you fatter!
What it is: An intraoral device, fitted by an orthodontist, that prevents dieters from opening their mouths beyond 0.47 inches. As a result, wearers are forced to take smaller bites. It's removed once a patient is conditioned to eat differently, which is typically after one year.
The claim: According to the company's LinkedIn page: "During a meal, satiety is typically reached only after a minimum of 20 minutes, regardless of the speed of eating or amount of caloric intake. If you eat with smaller bites, at a slower rate, your body will reach this point of satiety with less food [and] fewer calories. The device, therefore, results in weight loss. You will eat a healthy portion size without hunger or frustration."
The truth: While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Small Bite as a "non-significant-risk device," you don't need a medical degree to be able to tell that this product is super weird. Anything that impacts your ability to eat, speak, or yawn shouldn't be a weight loss solution. (Even though the company denies any major issues with these everyday activities, we have our doubts.)!
Yumetai Weight Loss Sunglasses
What it is: Blue-tinted specs
The claim: These sunglasses are said to suppress appetite by making items appear blue and unappealing. According to Yumetai, blue hues ward off hunger.
The truth: These glasses are a waste of money. "A small amount of research has found that colored lighting can affect food consumption, but it's unlikely to alter your caloric intake significantly," explains Armul. "You're better off focusing on portion control and eating more of protein-rich and high fiber foods that contribute to satiety."