Gimmicks Gadgets and Other Miracles

Promoters advertise "easy ways to weight loss"— weight-loss patches, electric muscle stimulators, spir-ulina (a species of blue-green algae), starch and fat blockers, creams that melt fat away, and many others. Chapter 23 addresses some weight-loss supplements.

The facts are... All these products have been offered for sale and purport to promote weight loss. Yet none proves effective. Some even may be harmful. And they're all a waste of money!

The popular press often advertises massages and other therapies for losing "cellulite," dimpled fat on thighs and hips. Cellulite is simply normal body fat under the skin that looks lumpy when the fat layer gets thick, allowing connective, fibrous-looking tissue that holds fat in place to show. The lumpy look can lessen or disappear with normal weight loss.

You've probably seen weight-loss programs that sweat off extra weight. Sweating in a sauna—or wearing a rubber belt or nylon clothes that make you perspire during exercise—may cause weight loss. However, the pounds that disappear are water loss, not body fat. When you drink or eat, weight returns.

Instead of helping to achieve a healthful weight goal, "sweating off" pounds may damage health through dehydration. See chapter 8, "Fluids: The Power of Water," for more about the need for water.

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