December 27th, 2010

The 8 Worst Diet And Fitness Fads of 2010

Last week I surveyed all my followers on twitter and all my friends and fans on Facebook to find out what they thought were the worst diet and fitness fads of 2010. Hundreds of people responded and many votes were given for a small handful of real stinkers. In today’s Burn the Fat Blog post, you’ll see the complete list, as determined by survey response, along with a few choice comments of my own. Most of these are good for a real laugh, others are taken seriously by many and will surely draw some ire from “true believers.” Either way, this should be fun…

The biggest diet and fitness fads of the last year are listed, countdown-style below, from least to most votes, with #1 being the worst fad of the year. I’ve included diet or fitness fads that may have intitally appeared before 2010, but had a resurgence in popularity or continued going strong enough in 2010 to make the list.

8. Ballbike.

The Ballbike hasn’t received nearly the publicity or market exposure as fad number one on our list, but this was just too good to exclude. I said I’d speak a few choice comments for each 2010 fad, but frankly, I’m lost for words on this one. I’ll just post the website that has the promo video and then let you and all the other readers comment away:

7. The Tapeworm Diet.

Even though the tapeworm diet is so outrageous you’d think it were an urban legend, apparently it’s real. This old one came back to public attention again because the Tyra Banks show did a “gross-out” spot on the tapeworm diet in November of 2009. Audience members squirmed as the doctor pulled a 15 foot worm out of a jar live on camera. By December 2009 after the show re-aired for an encore, “tapeworm diet was #1 on google trends.

Purchasing these parasites for weight loss is illegal in the USA and not approved by the FDA, but you can allegedly order (illegally) from countries like Venezuala or go to Mexico and pay a couple grand for beef tapeworm worm larvae.

After you consume the “worm egg pill” it hatches in your digestive tract, latches onto your intestinal wall and feeds off the energy and nutrients from the food you eat, growing larger and larger. After a few months, you return to the clinic for anti-parasitic medication that kills the worm. The dead creepy crawler then passes out your body (try to visualize that if you want to really gross yourself out).

Aside from that fact that it’s vile and disgusting, what’s wrong with this idea? On the mild end, the tapeworm can lead to pain, nausea and a bloated stomach. It can also compete with you for vital nutrients, leading to deficiencies or anemia. At the severe end, the hermaphroditic tapeworm can lay eggs inside you. Infestation of certain species can travel beyond the digestive tract into the circulation and can also lead to cysts in the liver, lungs, eyes and spinal cord or brain.

Using tapeworms for weight loss can be fatal. No source for the story was cited, but according to Spike TV’s “1,000 Ways To Die” a woman lost 60 pounds after ingesting a tapeworm for weight loss. The worm grew to 20 feet then laid eggs, which burrowed through her intestinal wall and into her circulation where the infestation of worms promptly killed her.

Spike TV: 1000 Ways To Die: Way # 734 – “die -it”

Tyra Banks – The Tapeworm Diet Part 1

Tyra Banks – The Tapeworm Diet Part 2

Tyra Banks – The Tapeworm Diet Part 3

6. Cookie Diet.

The Cookie diet has been around since at least the 1970’s. Why did it get popular again in 2010? All it takes is one celebrity endorsement. This year we had Snooki from the Jersey Shore (and whatever diet she’s on MUST be the best one, right?). In stark contrast to the booze-happy reality TV star, Jets tackle Kris Jenkins was reported as going on the cookie diet as well (one news site said he resorted to lap band surgery to finish the job).

All you have to do is eat special fiber and protein-fortified cookies for breakfast, cookies for lunch and then a sensible dinner of lean protein and vegetables. The cookies are supposed to suppress your appetite due to the fiber and amino acids. Im not aware of any proof that the cookies do this any better than other sources of fiber and protein.

This diet appeals to people because they are fascinated and titillated by the idea of comsuming what’s normally a forbidden food while still losing weight. The fact is, you can lose weight eating any foods when the calories are starvation or semi-starvation level. That doesn’t mean it’s a healthy way or permanent way to lose weight. The cookie diet calls for as little as 800 calories per day.

This is a form of meal replacement diet, and while high-quality, protein-rich meal replacements do have some value for some people, a huge drawback of these diets is they fail to teach you how to choose, cook and eat real, nutrient-dense, healthy food. For people who fear deprivation (“I can never eat cookies again!!!), they need to realize that (a) occasional cheat meals are not only ok, but recommended and (b) you can learn how to make delicious healthy nutrient-dense food in countless ways and enjoy it every day.

Why not learn how to prepare and eat real food, right from the start, rather than depend on a meal replacement crutch of any kind?

By the way, one of the most popular brands costs $59.95 for one box of cookies – a one week supply (14 meals).

5. Twinkie Diet

“Nutrition professor loses 27 pounds in 10 weeks eating twinkies,” said headlines all over the USA earlier this year.

This one almost didn’t make the list because “The Twinkie Diet” wasn’t really marketed as a weight loss diet program designed for other people to follow. It was more like a “mad scientist” class experiment of a college profesor, Mark Haub of Kasas State University. However, it did bring people out of the woodwork saying, “see I told you calories are what counted in weight loss,” and prompted many people to abandon “clean eating” and advocate low calorie junk food diets. Not good.

The results of professor Haub’s self-experiment were not surprising at all. If you sustain a calorie deficit, you will lose weight regardless of what kinds of foods you eat (this thermodynamic truth being much to the chagrin of the low-carb hardliners who think that calories dont count. Hmmm. aren’t Twinkies all carbs/sugar? If so, how did professor Haub lose 27 pounds eating mostly Twinkies and other sugary junk? (ummmm…. a calorie deficit, maybe???) What does that do to the low carb theory that carbs drive insulin which drives fat storage? Never mind… thats another post, another day…

However, that doesn’t mean eating a low calorie Twinkie diet is the best way to lose weight, nor does it mean that it’s healthy over the long term. I don”t know about you, but I Iike to be lean AND healthy, not one or the other (not to mention, I think Twinkies are disgusting).

For more info, see my previous blog post about The Twinkie Diet.

4. Taco Bell Drive Through Diet.

The Drive Through Diet was Taco Bell’s answer to Jared’s Subway diet. Jared was the guy who lost 245 pounds during which time he ate at Subway regularly. He simply picked the lower calorie items on the menu. Jared later became a spokesperson for Subway in their nationwide advertising campaigns which became known as the Subway Diet. During that campaign, Subway sales doubled to 8.2 billion.

With its own dedicated website and advertising campaign, the drive through diet flaunted their own version of Jared: Christine! The restaurant chain was very conservative with their claims. They say Christine’s results aren’t typical and she lost the weight (54 lbs) over 2 years by reducing her calories to 1250 a day>

Christine claimed part of her success was simply from choosing Taco Bell’s new lower calorie “Fresco” items. These include “7 diet items with 150 to 240 calories and under 9 grams of fat.” For example, there’s a chicken soft taco with only 170 calories, 4 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein.

Like the Twinkie diet, this is another low calorie junk food diet. Is it a good thing that fast food restaurants are offering low calorie alternatives? Absolutely. What miffs me is that these fast food joints advertise low calorie fast food with a weight loss hook (complete with before and after photos) and market it as “healthy” instead of just lower in calories. Read more in this post:

The Double Edged Sword of Healthy Fast Food.

3. Butt-Toning Fat-Burning Shoes.

2010 saw the “toning” shoes become best sellers for several footwear companies, as they promised eager buyers a tighter butt, toned thighs and even greater fat loss, all with the “power of shoes.”

Also known as “the gym in a shoe,” and promoted with provocative commercials (with camera-men zooming in on the model’s butts instead of the shoes), people believed it and bought it.

I was so irked at this one, it prompted me to write a letter to the editor at the New York Times after the paper published a review of one brand of these “miracle toning shoes.”

2. HCG Diet (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) and Homeopathic HCG.

HCG is by no means a new 2010 fad. In fact, it first appeared in the 1950’s, but the resurgence of HCG this past year has been remarkable. New books have been published – ebooks and hardcovers on Amazon – clinics opening everywhere, plus a surge of homeopathic HCG. If there’s anything on planet Earth more bogus than a homeopathic version of something already proven to be bogus, I don’t know what it could be!

The HCG protocol is a 500 calorie per day diet combined with injections of a fertility drug which is extracted from pregnant women’s urine (i kid you not). HCG has been proven in nearly a dozen controlled clinical trials to be no more effective than placebo, with some of these trials going back to the 1970’s.

True believers in HCG come out of the woodwork to defend it fiercely. To all of them, before you post a comment on my blog, please read my full article and research review on HCG which cites all the evidence that HCG is a scam. I will welcome any intelligent, evidence-based rebuttal.

The HCG diet comes with a 500 calorie per day diet. Do the math. That’s 3-7 pounds per week of weight loss depending on a person’s size, gender and energy expenditure. Pretty close to what the diet promises. Up to a pound a day is indeed possible for a very large, active man.

The weight loss comes from the starvation level calorie deficit, not the HCG. Which means… 500 calories a day plus _________________ (fill in the blank with any gimmick) will get you about the same results. (How about a 500-calorie per day diet with fat burning lip balm, made from essence of grapefruit, lemon and green tea. That oughta be a best seller eh?)

Advice to the wise: steer clear of this stuff. The HCG diet has zero scientific support and zero evidence of efficacy.

And the #1 fad of 2010 is…

1. Shake weight!

Shake weight wins by a landslide. Shake weight also wins an honorary award for “Fitness fad the most fun to make fun of.” In fact, I think the execs at Shake weight have no problem with that since shake weight has been great for laughs on every talk show (Ellen really went to town) and people have been buying these things as gag gifts. Maybe that was part of their master plan, and shake weight is laughing its way to the bank… brilliant!

I think South Park wins the award for best shake weight parody! (sorry SNL!)




Here’s to a happy new year, with a lot more diet common sense!

– Tom venuto, author of:

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle:
(Fat burning secrets of the world’s leanest physique athletes)

The Body Fat Solution:
(the mental, social and emotional side of losing fat and staying lean for life)


About Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, fitness writer and author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (e-book) and the national bestseller,The Body Fat Solution. Tom has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Oprah Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine, as well as on dozens of radio shows including Sirius Satellite Radio, ESPN-1250 and WCBS. Tom is also the founder and CEO of the premier fat loss support community, the Burn The Fat Inner Circle


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69 Responses to “The 8 Worst Diet And Fitness Fads of 2010”

  • Great List of Diets/Fads to definitely avoid but funny enough I did get some satisfaction in the Twinkie Diet that I can have those planned free meals and not feel so guilty.I prefer to eat clean most of the times but a beer or a cake is still nice to fit in.Raymond

  • OMG, that tapeworm thing has basically creeped me out for life. Who, in their RIGHT MIND would do such a thing?and I LOVE the ShakeWeight parody… that IS the best one!! LOLthanks Tom, as always you rule!

  • Ms. M

    Great post! How ridiculously funny that these fads get so big! I forgot to add my favorite “Ab Circle Pro” by Jennifer Lee. That thing looks silly!!

  • Alen Ford

    I think the HCG diet should be forbidden. Millions of pregnant women are peeing in a jar to collect their urine, thinking they are helping other women that can’t get pregnant, to get pregnant and fulfilling their deepest wish. In stead, the hormone is used to help women loose weight.… Luckily not all the HCG is misused to loose weight.

  • Raymond – I agree about allowing yourself treat meals occasionally – anything you want – and feeling confident that you can enjoy it without it setting you back, as long as you keep calories in check. Dr. Haubs experiment was illuminating in that regard – Although most people agree there could be negative repurcussions of the experiments publicty (like being taken as permission to eat a low calorie junk diet),Hi Jackie. I watched the spike clip and all 3 tyra clips and the whole thing creeped me out too. later in the show a girl was interviewed who had mesh sewn into her tongue so she couldnt swallow. People will do crazy things to lose weight. Insane.Ms M: thanks for mentioning the ab circle pro – i think at least one person mentioned the ab circle pro in last weeks surveys. maybe if we get another suggestion we can round off this post into a top 1o. thanksAlen – I agree about HCG. homeopathy is the mother of all bogusness, and real HCG injections simply have nothing to do with weight loss – there isnt even a mechanism by which it would work – total scam that smears the integrity of the medical doctors who sell this stuff. I understand that MDs are in business and want to make a buck like everyone else, but there are plenty of other medically supervised weight loss plans that physicians could dispense that are perfectly legitimate. I Id love to have an “HCG doctor” step forward and post an evidence-based rebuttal to my article. I will print it

  • The shake weight South Park thing was hilarious 😉 Oh my! AS always, good info re all the confusing info out there!Thanks and Happy New year!

  • Alf

    Dear sirI have done the HCG cure and it helped to lose 30 pounds in 2 months, without hunger or cravings. I was even capable to work hard 8 hours a day. It was very cheap $75, docters consult include. I do not care that you have no scientific evidence.I have tried before to consume 1500 calories/day, but it was not possible to work on that. With HCG it was very easily.Its is for me a totally scam that you talk about something that you have never tested on your body.Regards Alf

  • James Prince

    The ballbike should be on a comedy skit! That isextremely funny!!

  • Matt

    Oh boy, those were some crazy ones. But if you look at them closely, there seem to be some truths hidden amongst the propaganda:1) Calorie reduction/restriction works. Eat less, burn more, lose weight. Of course, quality matters, but for many people out there, just reducing their caloric intake is a huge step in the healthy direction.2) Strengthening your core is important. It’s doubtful that ballbikes and ballshoes really make a difference. Strengthening one’s core is never a bad thing. Of course, spot reduction of fat via exercise is dubious at best.3) The Shakeweight is a hilarious joke. Seriously.

  • marsha

    Thanks for the newsletter! I don’t understand why it is people don’t understand eating clean and working out are the answer to losing weight. We live in a society where people Have become lazy. This reminds me of the movie “Wally”.

  • April

    AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH, the shake weight. Those were some funny videos of the shake weight. especially the spitting one…….lol…..oh my god….what a commercial. I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair.

  • tman

    I agree that the Shake Weight is easy to make fun of and rediculous to see in action, but there are plenty of exercises that work and I would not want to do them in front of people. After as much effort as I have put in the gym over the years maybe it is bad that I have to ask this question, but is the shake weight really an entirely stupid idea with no value? I guess I had been curious that if during a hectic week dealing with work and kids, whether utilizing the shake weight for a work out when getting to the gym wasn’t possible.

  • Great article. The shake weight had to be the clear winner, but I especially appreciate the info you gave on HCG. I wrote a similar peice on my website, but HCG fans defend it ruthlessly. Obviously if you only get 500 cal. per day you will lose weight with or without HCG. The thing they don’t think about is that once they increase theircalories back to normal levels, their metabolism is shot and they will just balloon right up.

  • Erica

    The ballbike was funny, but it didn’t look so bad. Same with the ab circle. Even the shake weight. I think I’m definitely with you on your plan being the best for diet, but when it comes to the exercise equipment I could be more easily ‘fooled’. Not that I go out and purchase any of these things b/c I have a perfectly good gym membership, which I use regularly, but isn’t it good to get out there and burn calories in any way that is fun for you and that you will be motivated to do? Tom, can you comment further on this question?Thanks.

  • tman wrote: I have to ask this question, but is the shake weight really an entirely stupid idea with no value? I guess I had been curious that if during a hectic week dealing with work and kids, whether utilizing the shake weight for a work out when getting to the gym wasn’t possible.the reasons shake weight gets dismissed offhand is because it is so silly, but i appreciate your question – is there ZERO value??? well there is some value to almost any kind of exercise but you MUST ask “compared to what?” exercise with shake weight compared to doing nothing – that probably has some value. But shake weight compared to a traditional resistance training workout with regular dumbbells and the traditional wins by such a landslide it makes you laugh. A shake weight is a gimmick dumbbell. Why not just get some dumbbells and make the effort to learn some good dumbell exercises – that is an investment in time and money you CANT go wrong with.On a tangent. when asking with seriousness whether there is anything to shake weight, Ive seen people cite vibration training studies. There maybe some legit benefits to vibration training but thats done with a vibrating platform not a shaking dumbbell. Its not a valid comparison, and the just what the value of vibration training really is, is still being debated

  • Lisa

    Oh God thank you for this, and for including the BALL BIKE! The Shake weight parody cannot be competed with, but the Ball Bike video gave my husband and I such a laugh this morning. I am trying to visualize the individual who:wakes up, swallows a tapeworm larvae capsuleeats a weight loss cookieInjects themselves with HCGlaces up their “gym in a shoe” shoeshops on their ball bike WHILE gripping their shake weightsfinishes, showers, and drives to TACO BELL for lunchcomes home, napshas a cookie for dinnerand a twinkie for dessert.Nice!

  • Erica wrote:but isn’t it good to get out there and burn calories in any way that is fun for you and that you will be motivated to do? Tom, can you comment further on this question?erica, very good question. Yes you can and should pick exercises that you can make fun which will keep you motivated to keep exercising. But not if those exercises are done on machines that are low quality, unsafe, and inefficientId recommend you to make a very broad comparison of all the options at your disposal and think about how many calories an exercise device can burn compared to another one. We see calories burned claims in many workout gadget infomercials without scientific substantiation to the claim. Lots of exagerrations.Consider also the quality of informercial and faddish types of machines – they are often of very low qualityconsider the safety factor – are they biomechnically safe and sound for repeated use or might they aggravate or create problems?also consider that there are a lot of workouts you can do with your body weight at home or outside with no equpment that can be a lot of fun, they burn alot of calories and best part – theyre free. Be sure to consider cost effectiveness tooIf you can find a legitimate home workout device that is safe, well constructed, cost effective it burns a lot of calories and you enjoy it, then sure, it might just be a good option if you enjoy using it. every so often, something like this comes along.Sometimes we have to be careful with generalizations, but I think with infomercial-promoted exercise equipment we’re pretty safe with the generalization that the majority of it is junk, at least in comparison with our other options.

  • HR

    I think you hit everything on the mark except for the ball bike. If you watch the model’s abs while she’s riding you’ll clearly see the work her core is doing to stay balanced while pedaling. This is akin to not holding on to the hand grips while using an elliptical or AMT machine. You are forced to balance your upper body and that is exactly what the core muscles are for!I see a side benefit to the ball bike in terms of riding comfort as I cannot sit on a stationary bike for long without getting butt pain. I think I could easily do a 40 minute stretch on the ball bike with no problem at all. It’s a clever idea and the price is not bad.

  • HR, thanks for your post. re: ball bike. I appreciate your comments, and can especially relate to bike seat discomfort.I included it because it was mentioned by a reader in my survey last week. You’ll notice i didnt spend a lot of time with any specific criticisms: I think its just flat out goofy.Id rather get cardio elsewhere and do dedicated swiss ball and proven core exercises separately… some of the best core exercise arent done on a ball by the way, they are done with free weights


    If anyone really wants a good “SHAKE”…I suggest they just use their blender but then again , why “BLEND” when you have the opportunity to “STAND” out by simply following “TOM”! (:-God Bless You and your family Tom.

  • alf, you have confirmed exactly what I wrote above: (a) HCG true believers come out of the woodwork supporting this HCG (b) they can provide ZERO scientific proof that it works and can provide only a personal testimonial, (c) they have no proof that their weight loss was not purely the result of a calorie deficit or they deny it or dodge the isue altogether.. and let me add, (d) they often resort to personal attacks and insults and their argument usually ends with “you dont know what youre talking about because you havent tried it.”That you experienced no hunger, allowing you to tolerate a starvation diet, is interesting and i have heard that from others as well. However, again I;d like to see the real evidence that HCG is an effective appetite suppressant, the research says its not. Its likely a placebo effect or appetite may decrease in extreme starvation diets like this; doesnt mean its healthy – you simply canot provide optimal nutrition via 500 calories – a multi vitamin cant make up for it because you cant even get adequate protein and macros in 500 cals a day. This doesnt teach you how to eat or make positive lifestyle changes. Your odds for successful long term maintenance are no better than if you used any other crash weight loss method

  • Alf

    Dear sirIt was for me not doeable to life on 1500 calories a day. Thus 500 calorien a day would be not possible. I felt great on 500 calorie /day. Till this days (more then 20 years later) I have still not balloon up.More then 20 years with one cure and the guidelines they give with. Of course it is a result of the calorie reduction, that is the whole point of the cure. I agree with, but it was for me not possible to stay on 500 calorie/day without HCG. I’am in very good shape, now that I’am 54 years young.A personal testimonial is for me enough. The research does not have an answer jet and thus they say it works not.You wrote:”That you experienced no hunger, allowing you to tolerate a starvation diet, is interesting and i have heard that from others as well”.Because there is no scientific evidence, that does not mean it does not work. Personal attack? Have you tried it?What is written below is completely untrue. One who stays by the guidelines stay on theire weight.Tman: ” The thing they don’t think about is that once they increase theircalories back to normal levels, their metabolism is shot and they will just balloon right up”.For the moment I take plus minus 2000 calories dailly and I’ am lean. I take 400% more calorien a day, thus my calorie intake is increased to normal levels, but my weight is not gone up.Regards AlfonsPs: It was not my intention to a personal attack. It seems to be, therefore I appolies .

  • tom

    alf, thanks for your reply.first congratulations on your weight loss. If youve kept it off for for more than a year and especially more than 3 years, then double congratulations because losing it and keeping it off are two separate achievements. is not easy to do,particularly after very low calorie diets.From your perspective the weight loss is what matters. Its your explanation of how the weight loss occured that I take issue with and there is one point in your reply that is incorrectyou wrote:The research does not have an answer yet and thus they say it works notthat is incorrect. The research DOES have an answer! The research spans decades, the research is extensive and it is definitive in its conclusion, that is why i posted my article which listed all the studies: a single HCG user or HCG doctor has ever been able to post an evidence-based rebuttal to my articleThe article summarizes the research which says conclusively HCG is ineffective for weight loss, it DOESNT say you wont lose weight on the HCG diet. It explains that the reason why you lose weight is (a) 500 calories a day produces a large deficit for anyone even small people and a massive deficit for very big and heavy people and that is the reason for the weight loss (b)in starvation, appetite may actually become blunted (c) placebo effect. injections are a more powerful placebo even than pills especially coming from a doctor.Our debate would end if the HCG users would simply say, “ok then, I lost weight because of the calorie deficit but i felt no hunger and I felt energetic while i was on HCG… if appetite gets turned off by starvation level energy intake after a few days, or if the appetite suppression, energy or some of the weight loss was placebo effect, Im fine with that because in the end i lost weight anyway.”its pretty rare though that a discussion with an HCG user ends that way. I sometimes wonder if they dont understand what a placebo really is. maybe they think placebo means “it doesnt work”. Placebo means it does work, but through placebo effect not through the substance injected, injested or the procedure /program used. an inert substance or sugar pill can be a powerful placebo. In my book the body fat solution, i cited a case where placebo surgery cured a man who had crippling knee osteoarthritis. It was a real cure – years after the placebo surgery, he still walks without a cane and plays basketball with his grandchildren. But the cure was the placebo effect – the surgery was a sham.If you were to acknowledge this, i still might not agree with your choice of method for weight loss, but you would get no further arguments from me, especially if you;ve kept the weight off a long time. but that would bring us full circle to HCG having no weight loss benefits of its own.

  • scott

    I’m “ashamed” to admit this but my father is one of those people who is susceptible to making these kinds of impetuous purchases. He has a big screen television in his basement and will be working out with weights, when all of a sudden one of these infomercials will come in and my father will stop what he’s doing and take heed of it. Two weeks later this gadget will miraculously appear in my parents’ basement. It’s like clockwork LOL.It happened with the Ab Roller, which does work, the Ab Circle, the Shake Weight, the Perfect Pushup, resistance bands and I’m sure there are others that I have failed to mention. Point is he is easily influenced by this type of advertising.Yet he works out more than anybody I know! My father’s in his early fifties and works out an hour every day with weights. He does minimal cardio and eats sparingly, but is as dedicated to weight training as anybody I have ever met!Problem is his weight training has become stagnant after all these years and I think he’s looking for something to give him that “edge.” I try to help him in this regard but it’s hard to teach an “old” dog new tricks LOL. He’s one of those guys who’s reluctant to change unless necessitated by circumstance.Oh well. As long as he remains healthy, that’s what matters most. He has plenty of money to spend on these new fangled gadgets and is the perfect candidate to make these types of purchases.

  • big db

    I did the homeopathic HCG diet this year. I could write a whole book on my experience. It is simply a starvation diet. They put a little alcohol in it so you think that there is something actually there other than water. My bottle said “Concentrated Drops” which is a laugh. They put a drop of HCG in a swimming pool, mix it around and sell it for $80.00 per bottle.

  • R A Williams

    To round the list out to an even 10 by including the ab circle pro, may I humbly suggest the “Wii Fit” video game that is marketed to people as a substitute for real exercise? Sure, it gets people off the couch bouncing and jiggling a bit, but this is not a substitute for actual calisthenics, cardio exercise, or resistance training.

  • Kristina

    I also have lost weight on HCG when nothing else worked. I was incredibly skeptical at first and tried every other approach first, from low-carb to no-fat, to carb cycling, etc. I was up to working out 2 hours a day and eating 1,200 calories, that didn’t work either. My metabolism was/is shot due to a thyroid issue and I’m petite, so the only way I can lose weight is to create a severe deficit of under 1,000 calories. I tried at least a dozen brands of hoodia and other appetite supressants and none worked for me. No placebo affect with those, I could never keep my calories down low enough to lose weight.With HCG, I had lots of energy and felt no hunger, so I could maintain an appropriate deficit to lose the weight I wanted. And, it was all fat, as I measured with a handheld fat monitor throughout the process. I ate about 700 calories a day and took a multivitamin and extra calcium. I lost a bit too much and regained a few pounds back, but I’ve maintained the bulk of the weight loss for a year now. So I’m a believer.Sure, it’s the deficit that created the weight loss, but the fact that it was relatively painless to eat so few calories was a miracle for me. Placebo or not…it worked when nothing else did! They key is maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine after the diet ends. You don’t just jump from 500 calories to stuffing yourself with pizza once the diet ends. There’s a transition phase for a few weeks coming off the low-calorie phase.I challenge you to try it yourself and see!

  • Greg Bohrn

    A quick note on low calorie diets (HCG and otherwise). I do not recommend anyone do this as it is unhealthy.I once did an experiment on myself many years ago. I lost over 25 lbs in less than 2 weeks. How. I stopped eating, literally. I was in a bad point in life and stopped eating because of depression. After about 2-3 days, I was not hungry anymore. as a scientist by nature, I found this interesting, so I continued after getting through most of my depression (the first 3 days). I went for over 2 weeks without food. I drank plenty of water, ran 2 miles a day and lifted 3 times a week. I was a big guy (was in the Army at the time), so I went from 250 to around 225lbs during this time. I experienced some fatigue, but otherwise nothing terrible during the first week and a half. Towards the end of the second week, I could literally feel my body eating itself. Not a sensation I recommend. After the experiment, I moved back into eating slowly and within a week was back to normal eating. I had put 10 lbs back on (water weight and internal partially processed food I imagine).So, yes, low calorie diets work. Are they health, no. Current testimonial, by the beginning of 2010, I had bloated to 315lbs. I started following what Tom suggests in BFFM (with some of my own tweaks). Within 5 months I had got down to 265lbs and had added significant strength. I went on a 5 month hiatus (working 80+hr weeks, preparing for the birth of my twins, etc), and fell back into many of my old habits and ballooned back up to 299lbs. By the middle of October, I started putting myself back together again slowly, but also adding more wt training. So far, I am back down to 289lbs, but have increased weights in these categories (these are working out 3 sets of 8ish)Bench press: 185 to 245 lbsBicep curls: 65 to 115 lbsIncline sled: 400 to 500 lbsand the list goes on. tom know what he is talking about. Fad diets are for lazy people. I only spend 4-6 hours a week working out to attain where I am now and will continue weight loss and strength and size gains into 2011. My goal: 240 lbs with 8% body fat. Funny thing is, I am self employed and carry my own health insurance. It is hard as the morons in the insurance business use BMI as the primary metric, which is stupid for large folks like me (complaint of the day).So, I’m sorry, but if you want to shoot yourself up with HCG, because you are thinking it is working. think again. Also, think about what you are putting in your body. Geez.

  • Joe

    Tom,Thank-you for posting this. I’m an open minded person that has tried a lot of diets..fad or not. I like to think that in each experience, I’ve been retrained what foods are good for MY body and what foods cause ME to gain weight.I have to jump on this TAPEWORM…THING. I didn’t even know about this! Have we as a society gotten to a point that we are soooo LAZY that we would ingest a ANIMAL in OUR BODIES….TO EAT FOOD FOR US?!!! We used to say jokingly “Hey Bruh, how do you eat so much and stay so skinny? You must have a tapeworm…HA HA!” NOW IT’S A DIET ?!Come on people…Get on the floor…do some push ups and some crunches. Lower your caloric intake…reasonably of course (i.e. HCG example…I’m not trying to start an argument). Hell…become a Vegan! I know I probably will stay a VEGAN after watching TYRA’S show. How about taking more walks…not necessarily trudging on a treadmill or elliptical. But no WORM ingestion…PLEASE!

  • Bridgett

    I like your idea of fat loss lip balm. Very funny; it would probably sell too. Luckily, thankfully, you have too much integrity and honor to do that. But just imagine…..

  • Alf

    TomThese days, placebo pills are used in clinical trials to measure the true effect of a drug or supplement. They are thought to be made of inert substances designed to have no effect. But consider this: there’s no such thing really as an inert substanceThe fact is, drug companies make their own placebo pills for research purposes, and for each individual study they create a unique placebo formula – sometimes including ingredients that match ingredients in the drugs being tested. But the contents of placebos are never revealed.Does that sound “inert” or “inactive” to you? Suddenly the idea of a “sugar pill” doesn’t seem so innocent anymore.resource: used I suppose also sugar as placebo in the studies for HCG?Therefore I said that the science have no scientific answer jet.If there was a definitive conclusion the progress of the science would stop.Placebo is no prove, just like a testimonial.If the placebo effect form the “HCG program” is so powerfull, why not use it for deadly diseases?I agree that it was the calorie reduction that caused the weight lose.Greg: After two weeks you stopped because you feel eating your body itself. Therefore there is no comparison possible with the HCG cure. I could do it easily 2 months and I felt great.Regards Alfons

  • Fenella

    Maria Callas was reputed to have swallowed a tapeworm egg to lose weight, 40-odd years ago. I haven’t seen the TV program with the tapeworm in a jar, but I put ‘taenia worm’ into google & found a video of a woman having a tapeworm several meters long, pulled out of her rectum. Gross or what?HCG diets got a terrible reputation as they were promoted by Kevin Trudeau (he has convictions for fraud). They do work for some people because calorie deprivation does not cause metabolism to shut down; the HCG allows stored fat to be used for energy.

  • yes, i heard that about maria callas as hcg you wrotethe HCG allows stored fat to be used for energy.that is not correct, HCG has no action on fat loss. If it does please cite the source which proves it..As my blog post and subsequent comments have explained, the “HCG diet” works because of (1) huge caloric deficit (2) during starvation level caloric intakes, hunger may actually shut down after a short period of time (3) placebo effect.

  • Ian Wilkinson

    Tom,I have followed your site and read every article you’ve written for the last two years. I have never been “fat” or even over weight but I have been able to put on lots of muscle and tone my buddy following your information. My sister and bro in law are both doing the HCG diet and have lost tons of weight. I tried explaining to them that it wasn’t a healthy way to lose weight and that they were only losing because of the calorie deficit they put their bodies into. Bottom line… they don’t get it! I forwarded this article to them and now not only do they hate me, but they hate you as well. Just thought I would warn you beforehand in the event of mean emails coming your way.Defending you to the death!!Ian Wilkinson

  • alf, i recommend you read a couple books about placebo; its fascinating: there are many, but check out the one by Anne Harrington and Dylan Evans

  • Ian, thanks for the warning, but no worries, I get hate mail all the time… goes with the territory, LOL!People often lose weight successfully, even keep it off – with a huge variety of methods, but as I mentioned in my book the body fat solution, many of them dont trace the effect (weight loss) back to the real cause, so they give credit to the wrong thing.

  • Alf

    TomI have already read about placebo and understand the effect, but the fact that it require no effort at all to stay on a HCG cure and that so many different people have enormous results so easily tells me that there is something phsycal in. HCG is not an inert compound in the body, nothing that enters in the body is inert, it will have an effect on the metabolisme.Thousands of articles have been published about the effect of hCG on gonads (testicles or ovaries).Regards Alfons

  • Thousands of articles have been published about the effect of hCG on gonads (testicles or ovaries).sure theres lots of research on HCG in relation to “gonads” – its prescribed in that context: for females to induce ovulation. For males to stimulate testes to produce testosterone. What does that have to do with weight loss. Cite the relevant research papers showing that HCG is effective for weight loss. oh wait.. dont bother, i cited all the relevant papers already and they all say the same thing: HCG is worthless for weight loss. What part of 500 calorie diet makes you lose a ton of weight do you not get?z

  • Brian

    Alf -In the past I have tried various diets from cabbage soup to Atkins to fasting. Your experience is not unique. I found that I was WAY WAY WAY more hungry eating 1500 cals a day than I was on a near fast of 500 or less cals. My body didn’t get as hungry on the fasting diet as it did on a more moderate calorie deficit.I am just pointing this out so that you might consider the lack of hunger could be attributed to the low cals rather than the HCG. Like you said, you were far more hungry on 1500 cals than 500 cals.So, why not just starve? If weight loss is the only goal, then maybe that is the fastest way. You can do it very cheaply. No food cost, no HCG cost, nothing. Absolutely free… until the health problems start.If what you really want is to burn fat and keep or grow muscle, then starvation isnt the answer no matter what “diet combo” is used to market it (grapefruit + starvation, or cabbage soup + starvation, or HCG + starvation, or just starvation + starvation). It all equals an unhealthy way to lose weight.

  • Sarah

    Absolutely BRILLIANT – thanks for all your wisdom Tom.

  • Great blog. Some of these diet fads and gadgets I forgot about. Yes, hands down, the Shake Weight wins the prize and yes, Tom, I have to agree that the makers of Shake Weight are laughing all the way to the bank. No doubt it was probably one of the most viral products on Facebook this year.Don’t even get me started with some of the diets. LOL!Wishing you all the best in the New Year 🙂

  • Reka

    it is so sad that people would pick without any thinking anything which has no scientific proof, and they dont even think twice… none of my friends went to these extremities but some of them are unfortunately hooked up on those liquid diets in which they are not allowed to eat solid food just some stupid liquid sugar, and the other favourite is the “leg magic” type stuff… i always try to point out some obvious things to help them discover much more effective and fun, healthy methods but sadly, they seem to deliberately avoid the logical approach… and yes, some of your examples are really funny

  • Jac

    It is interesting that Alf is on this site is HCG is working so effectively for him. Losing weight is a relatively easy formula consume less than you burn, losing weight and maintaining an effective balance between fat loss and muscle gain takes control, effort and determination. It’s not as simple as the invasive techniques that people resort to.Just because it’s ‘approved’ doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Have there been any longitudinal studies conducted to examine the effects that injecting HCG can have on your body? There are numerous examples around the world of people, smart and stupid, taking things that are approved at the time only to suffer in the long term when research creeps out showing the harmful effects. Come on people be more conscious of your choices instead of defaulting to criteria set by the government and pharmaceutical companies.As for the ballbike any exercise physiologist or physiotherapist would scream if they watched that video. If you are working the core effectively then why is the ball hitting the sides uncontrolled? Also look at the way her lower back is being strained and her posture being compromised.Whether you are doing resistance training, swimming, running or riding a bike the emphasis is always on correct form. It takes work and effort because sometimes it’s tedious and needs intelligence not just grunt.Jac

  • Marcey

    Sorry, I disagree with you and all your voters on the HCG. I have tried EVERY plan in the book known to man. My last plan was healthy eating and exercise (mostly jogging) until it jacked up my knees to the point I could barely walk and ended up in physical therapy and was told my body frame was not exactly built for running. Guess what? All, plus more weight came right back on as soon as I was done killing myself daily in the gym. I finally bumped into HCG and thank god I did. I personally did the HCG plan according to Dr. Simeone’s Protocol from the 1950’s and yes its effects on weightloss have been studied….by Dr. Simeone of which no one wants to give the credit to. I went from 213 lbs to 153 lbs. Yes, I ate 500 calories a day for 2 periods of 43 days straight WITH NO CHEATING….you see that is just it. You talk about how people are starving themselves and the only reason they are losing the weight is because they are starving themselves on just 500 calories and any diet of that small calorie diet will allow one to lose weight. But stop for a minute and think about that. How would a 213 lb woman who has been stuffing her face with fried chicken, french fries, McDonald’s burgers, ice cream, candy, Starbucks, donuts, sweets, and basically anything else she wants be able to go 43 days on 500 calories a day WITHOUT CHEATING?????? I have to say a big DUH????? on that one!!! Sorry, the only way she can do that is because the HCG is WORKING! The HCG is forcing the abnormal fat (2000 calories worth) into your veins on a daily basis because your body believes you are pregnant and is sending it to the “baby” which your body thinks needs nutrients which is not actually there! Do your research. The people that are voting against it are the people who think the only way you can do it is to pay a grand at a clinic to do it but they know they cant afford it so they just bad mouth it. In reality, if people would do their homework, I did the plan myself by reading a book and buying my supplies online. Cost me a mere $100 and I am a healthy 165 lbs today. Shame on people for not doing their research.

  • I love this piece, so many times people get sucked into the idea that they can lose weight with little or no effort or by not having to change the lifestyle that created their health issues to begin with.The South Park parody, hilarious, I actually had someone tell me their relative used the shake weight and was seriously into it. I would imagine that same person had the, giggle, ball bike.The odd diet weight loss systems, extreme calorie reductions may cause initial weight loss but as we all know that is very short lived. Most participants regain all lost weight plus more when they go back to their normal eating patterns, unfortunately they only regain lost fat but never the lost muscle.I saw the episode where they talked about the tape worm diet, I couldn’t even imagine wanting to do anything that involved ingesting a parasite..I have seen people go nuts defending the HCG diet, but then when the brain is starved for fuel you wouldn’t expect it to be able to function properly.. yikes..

  • Hazel

    Tom, this list is beyond hilarious. I had to google the ballbike ads and it made my whole day. Its hard to believe that in this day and age, there are still a ton of people who buy into all these fads.Thanks for the newsletter Tom. You’re my hero! :D-Hazel

  • Stacerella

    This HCG diet scares me. As a woman. A woman with jacked hormones. One who isn’t alone with her jacked hormones. This freaks me out because I have been told I’m barred from taking diet pills ever (not that I ever have anyway) because of my thyroid meds, so the idea of a pregnant woman’s urine being injected into me would probably send my Endo over the edge. As it would me. I can barely have a “clean” hormone day on my own, doing what my DOCTORS tell me is best for my body, so why would I mess with that just to lose weight? I’d rather be “fluffy” and plateau at my current weight forever than to ride that beast of a rollercoaster again. And that’s just what would happen to me. Imagine women who don’t have thryoid issues suddenly cropping up all over the place after this particular diet fad? Doctors will be working overtime to help their patients turn back the hands of time and prescribe large doses (at first) to get their patients back to normal levels. This is a huge red flag for me. You just don’t mess with a woman’s body like this unless she’s actually pregnant!!And I don’t give a shit if Alf is a man who doesn’t have to worry. Clearly Alf has never heard of men who suffer from Graves disease. My bff’s BIL was a huge beer drinker with a gut from here to NJ with not a care in the world one day, and the next he couldn’t wake up and started dropping pounds by the truckload seemingly overnight without trying. If he hadn’t been driven to the doctor by his wife, he would never have been medically treated immediately and he would have died. He only went, as I stated, because he couldn’t argue with his wife insisting she drive him to the e.r. after the first week of his illness and the amount he lost while he couldn’t move. His hormones were so out of whack, it took him a full two years to get his body under control with diet, exercise and meds. To his credit, he listened to the wise doctor, followed her instructions to the letter and has maintained his current lean weight for the last 12 yrs. Alf, this could be you some day. Pay close attention. You don’t f*ck with hormones – yours or anyone else’s, ok? Yours can, and might, turn on you one day without any pee injections, but then again, they might not. All I know is injecting a pregnant woman’s hormones into your body just to lose weight ISN’T the best idea ever thought up. Oh, and by the way, all of this is documented and verified with SCIENCE.Tom…I wanted another way to do cardio other than my bike strapped to a trainer, but my knees suffer from arthritis so I was thinking a small home grade trampoline. I worry about the distance from my head to the ceiling, though. 🙂 I have a popcorn ceiling and curly hair, so this might not end well… LOL But, what are your thoughts on using a small trampoline at home (even while outside in my backyard)? Thanks for your thoughts in advance.@Stacerella

  • Eve

    LOL!! The shake video was HILARIOUS!! Thank you for posting that. I can’t believe how many people will defend their version of weight loss no matter how unhealthy and silly it really is. Kudos to you Tom for trying to educate as many as you can :-)I have followed your BFFM and believe people are too LAZY to try it for fear of failing. It seems everyone wants an easy way out i.e…HCG, shake weights and OMG the TAPEWORM yukky, yuk, yuk!

  • The ball bike actually looks okay. I mean, I own an upright bike and the seat is really hard after a while. Maybe its silly, but if you’re someone who wants low impact cardio because of ankle probs (like me), its not an option I’d rule out (if it was in Aust). I guess it’s not aimed at real fitness ‘afficienados’, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

  • Paul

    OK, I admit that Shake Weight Video was hilarious. I laughed a whole minute after it was over. I also admit that I bought one too. ha ha. Now it is kinda ridiculous shaking that thing, but when you do it vigorously for 30 seconds, it does provide a pretty good burn. Of course I wouldn’t use that as an only source of weight exercise, but it would be a good addition to an upper body program which would include more traditional weight training exercises such as bench presses, barbell curls, etc. It would be a good pre-gym warm up exercise for instance, or something to get a burn from while you’re sitting there watching some TV in between weight lifting days. I keep mine next to my couch and frequently use it during commercials.

  • violet

    I found your info on the different weight loss (truth or fads?) to be quite interesting and informative. I know of 2 people who tried the Kevin Trudeau weight loss cure. One lost weight but did feel hungary & the other became very irritable & not acting right & was hungary all the time. The one who lost weight, lost 20 something pounds but her arms looked flabby. I don’t think she exercised. I would be afraid if it’s a harmone being injected & what changed it could produce in your body chemistry & if it would mess with the brain chemistry. May- that sounds crazy. Just a thought.

  • paul wroteOK, I admit that Shake Weight Video was hilarious. I laughed a whole minute after it was over. I also admit that I bought one too. ha ha. Now it is kinda ridiculous shaking that thing, but when you do it vigorously for 30 seconds, it does provide a pretty good burn. putting your hand on the stove for 30 seconds gives you apretty good burn too

  • Tracy

    I have heard that the so called shape up shoes are really bad for you. They will change the way you walk and change your gait. They can mess up your hips, knees, ankles etc… They don’t allow you to walk naturally, the way your suppose to walk. I just have to shake my head when I see those commercials. I guess the shoe companies are laughing too, all the way to the bank.Tracy

  • That Shake weight commercial made my jaw drop. Not only was the idea strange but convincing looking (reminds me of that thing you stand on that shakes you) but the commercial itself was strangely ponographic.I wrote a piece on the HCG diet for no other reason than the “Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know About” book made my mom tell me it sounded like good science and looking into it made it sound like torture.And finally on the other side Spinning, have you ever tried one of these spinning classes. They are fun, diverse, and great lower body exercise and they made my wife love the gym again. That for our house was the trend that has to stick.Have a great 2011 Tom

  • Tom

    Hey Bill – thanks for your post – i know what you mean – ALL the shake weight parodys and jokes are spoofing the porno-esque-ness of the shakeweight — look up saturday night lives you tube vid and go to the free online south park episodes and watch the shake weight episode season 14 episode 14: “creme Fraiche” (absolutely adults only… but if youre not easily offended, it will have you ROTFLYAO!)re HCG: lots of fads are like that – they are promoted as scientific, but nothing could be further from the truth – that would make a great blog post — how people fool you with psueedo-science, cherry picking reserarch, animal research, etc etc etc. Deep bag of tricksre spinning – i would never put that on a fads list – ive heard various criticisms, but thats legit and has been going strong for yearsYou have a happy new year too!

  • Tom Pentzer

    I find the HCG adherents to be great examples of the power of human conviction. Right up there with suicide bombers. Really…Hello placebo! You’re not arguing that a hormone is effective, you’re arguing that the “molecular vibration” left over from some long-ago elbow rubbing with a real HCG molecule is actually doing some good. By the same thinking, we could be giving people homeopathic opioid derivatives for pain relief, instead of milligrams of conventional opioid meds like Dilaudid, morphine, etc.Read up on the actual levels of dilution involved with homeopathy. Common remedies like Zicam are diluted to the point that THERE IS NO ACTIVE INGREDIENT (effective or otherwise) PRESENT.If they still work without being present, why not just *imagine* that the remedy is now in your system, and thanks to imagining the magical energy of said, measurable results will be produced without actually having to give anyone your money for a bottle of diluted goose heart (yes, goose heart is a common homeopathic remedy)Or even better, since water has been in contact with almost everything ever present on the planet, it ought to be adequately prepared to treat all ailments.REAL honest to goodness HCG was isolated in urine from pregnant females (later, pregnant horses) and used to treat obese, hypogonadic teenage males. THe hypogonadism part is important to note here, as it was probably the source of the obesity in the first place. Real HCG is still used to kickstart the testes after steroids have been used, either for bodybuilding purposes, or as part of a treatment plan for suppression of the Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. This is heavy stuff! It’s not the sort of thing that can be bought over the counter. It can mess you up if not managed correctly.What marketers have done is played upon the credibility of a real hormone with valid medical uses that was used once upon a time in *injection* or *retention enema* form for an isolated case of obesity and specific medical problems. The supposed credibility is then piggybacked with the non-credible homeopathic medical philosophy, which, post hoc propter hoc, must mean that it’s actually worth something.Additionally, if you look at common homoepathic remedies, they are not usually homeopathic dilutions of tylenol or other substances with demonstrable pharmacokinetics. Rather, it’s odd crap, like goose heart or liver, THe fact that all of a sudden homeopathic dilution has been applied to something “normal” raises a lot of red flags, as it does not seem in keeping with homeopathic philosophies.Homeopathic delivery of a any hormone will not, I repeat NOT produce actual physiologic results. If it did, we’d have been using it ages ago, and you could find homeopathic preparations of testosterone, winstrol, and other anabolic steriods for muscle building “without the side effects and injections” of dangerous (and real) drugs.Brad Pilon, in his controversial “Eat Stop Eat” book on intermittent fasting, states that catecholamines that blunt hunger and even produce a mild euphoria are released after a day of fasting or so, thus once you get over the “hump”, your body turns off the hunger signal. So there’s your answer to “I swear I wasn’t hungry and if you dare question the my stupid purchase, I’ll throw a fit”So for the LOVE OF GOD, stop defending this crap. If you insist on wasting your money, go for it, just stop getting others to waste theirs. Seriously, if you want to flush some cash down a magic toilet because the toilet rays alleviate hunger, and that keeps you from being obese, fine. I applaud everyone that has lost weight and kept it off, since it’s a hard task. Just please acknowledge the huge psychological crutch that is Homeo-HCG, like other fat-loss pills and aides. And don’t confuse the effectiveness of other lifestyle changes like a 500 calorie/day diet with the effectiveness of poorly researched and supported items that are sold for profit.Just for kicks, please read the article below. ALL OF IT. Especially the part of just how certain advertised homeopathic dilutions are physically impossible, and the part on mainstream explanations of homeopathy’s effects.

  • Kristina

    Regarding the homeopathic hcg, I agree with the previous poster. I used REAL hcg to lose weight after I simply could not get my caloric deficit low enough to lose weight and continue working out without terrible hunger/weakness/headaches, etc. If you are looking for studies, check out Dr. Bellascio in South America, he has done some double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on REAL hcg.HCG isn’t a quick-fix or lazy-person’s “easy way out.” The diet is based on lean meats, vegetables and fruit with no sugar or processed crap. It’s mot a twinkie diet. Exercise and healthy eating are essential to maintain a healthy weight, no matter what diet or approach you follow to get to your goal.Heck, there are some researchers that say exercise won’t help you lose weight either. If a person has tried and failed in the past many times with virtually every other approach they can find, and finally finds a solution that works, well then…more power to them!

  • Rhonda

    I’ve read a few of the comments already posted. Yes, agreed, the Tapeworm diet has got to be the grossest, stupidest…who indeed in their right mind would do this??? I have “friends” that tout the benefits of the HCG diet (an illegal substance in the federation i compete with) but I can’t tell by looking at them! And yeah, let’s eat 500 calories of candy a day! OMG!!! I am so glad I have been buried in some hole somewhere and unaware of these unhealthy fads (i say as my 9 y/o son brings me 2 handfuls of candy he wants for breakfast!).I will say that I have to thank Weight Watchers as an initial teaching tool on portion control. BFFM has taught me other healthy ways of living as well. Thank you Tom for all you’ve done!!!

  • Kristina wrote: If you are looking for studies, check out Dr. Bellascio in South America, he has done some double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on REAL hcg. If its legitimate published research and its relevant to HCG and weight loss, please cite the study name, date, journal and or post the pub med linkHCG isn’t a quick-fix or lazy-person’s “easy way out.” The diet is based on lean meats, vegetables and fruit with no sugar or processed crap. It’s mot a twinkie diet. 500 calories a day is by nature, inherently nutritionally inadequate. inadequate to fuel any serious training, inadequate to provide micronutrient needs without supplementation, inadequate to provide macronutrient needs due to insufficient total energy intakeHeck, there are some researchers that say exercise won’t help you lose weight either. Indeed there are and when you break down their research you see that there is an explanation: their studies did not control for food intake or only used self-reported food intake which is notoriously innacurate. Thus compensation on the energy intake side cancelled out the increased exercise. I have written about this extensively before and can send you the most relevant studies if you have any interestIf a person has tried and failed in the past many times with virtually every other approach they can find, and finally finds a solution that works, well then…more power to them!Fair enough, but dont run around telling people that HCG is the reason for the weight loss., HCG has no effect on weight loss outside of placebo, the 500 calorie per day diet produces the weight loss and probably the appetite suppression too as several comments have discussed above. starvation diets can make you lose weight, but starvation diets are the worst way to lose weight, they probably increase chances of relapse or at best are no better than other weight loss methods wrt maintenance and are not beneficial for improving body composition or improving (resistance + cardio) combined with proper nutrition to support it makes you stronger, fitter and improves body composition. starvation diets may get you into a smaller pair of jeans, but they also make you a weak skinny-fat person. No diet can make you stronger or fitter by itself. Only training can do that.

  • C. Sterling

    Twinkle diet? I imagine the sugar high probably has something to do with the weight-loss; Gotta burn off that energy doing something!As for the toning shoes…I have a pair and all I can say is, when I was training for a 1/2 marathon, I could not wear them all day at work then go for a run….my legs were too tired. But I would in no way expect them to be any replacement for the gym!Oh, and the tapeworm diet is actually mentioned in a futuristic story collection “Super-toys last all summer long” written in 1969. Weird…and scary!

  • shalura

    Marcey, 165 pounds is not healthy for a woman unless you are 6′ 5″. So let’s not pretend otherwise.People who say.they.have tried everyhing are liars and greatly inconsistent. People who claim that thy weren’t losing weight on 1500 calories a day are just guessing how many.the are eating. They are also leaving out liquid calories to be sure. I find it amusing how many biological anomalies seem to be walking around. People that want us believe that they defy all documented metabolic processes. Standing there with a up of cream and sugar in their 3rd coffe of the day complaining how they ant lose weight. How exaclty do you think you got fat in the first place? It was not.magic. 200+ lbs for a woman HUGE and requires a ton of calories over the long term (exempting pregnancy obviously).The bottom line is that people who don’t get results on programs that work ARE NOT DOING THE PROGRAM. End of story. People have poor memories and selective recall when it comes to judging themselves.

  • Good post Tom – all of these fads or trends or whatever will come and go. The basics still always apply – if you want to lose weight, eat less food. No matter what diet or technique comes along, at the end of the day when people want to lose fat then creating a deficit is really what matters most. Sure, you want to do it in a healthy way, but even that can be debatable as many people’s definition of healthy can vary greatly.

  • Steve Thomas

    On HCG. If you believe that the supposed clinical trials were actually trials (as opposed to hucksters paid to give a predermined report) then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. Look into who paid for the trials and where they were done. Fewer than 5% of the clinical trials on prescription drugs are now done in the USA.If you want proof, I can forward my pictures.

  • SteveIndustry funding in nutrition and weight loss trials can bias the outcome of the study. That doesn;’t mean all the studies on a particular aspect of nutrition or weight loss are invalid. It means you must indeed look at the funding source and then if a study is industry funded then you must “put an asterisk” next to it” until you carefully assess the study design.Personally, particualrly when it comes to things like supplements, i wouldnt take ONE indsutry funded study with a positive results as reason to believe a product is effective. Id like to see the study replicated by an independent research group with no conflicts of interestA 2008 paper in the international journal of obesity looked at this subject and suggested these criteria for study design , execution and publishing1) selection of relevant questions2) design of research suitable to address those questions3) rigorous execution of the design4) faithful recording of the data5) appropriate statistical analysis of the data6) a decision to publish a report of the study7) clear, accurate and thorough reporting of the study8) reasonable, second-level dissemination and interpretation of the findings in press releases, mass media coverage, scholarly reviews, expert testimony, blue ribbon panels and other venues.contrary to your assertion however, consider the following facts:Previous studies and analyses of industry-funded vs non-funded studies (such as trhe 2005 JAMA report) showed more favorable (towards sponsor) results in industry funded studies. However, a 2008 analysis by the int journal of obesity did not replicate those findings, and in fact found higher quality of reporting in the industry funded studies examined.What’s the reason for this? Perhaps its because industry-funded studies ARE being scrutinized more closely and therefore the quality is increasing rather than decreasingFurthermore, I dont have any stats on location of study and # that are industryfunded, but if the criteria list above is followed in design, the location of the study should not matter. If you’re asserting that only 5% of studies are unbiased that is incorrect, if you are referring to nutrition and weight loss studies. a paper published in PLOS med analyzing food studies looked at the relationship between sponsorship and conclusions. 206 articles were included in the study, of which 111 declared financial sponsorship. Of these, 22% had all industry funding, 47% had no industry funding, and 32% had mixed fundingindeed a relationship was found between funding source and bias, but not all studies are industry funded and the trend today is toward industry funded studies being more carefully scrutinized by peer review.You are simply spitting out the party line from your ilk when you dont like the what body of research says. If the studies said HCG worked you’d probably be citing them as proof and would make no mention of the funding source, but since the studies prove HCG doesnt work, HCG users attack the studies.. or science itself. reminds me of study sample size. When the results dont go your way, somehow the sample size is always too small.Your sample size = 1 testmonial is duly noted, but you’ve done nothing to provide any evidence that HCG was responsible for your weight loss, youve only shown that you dont understand how research works and how science and knowledge advance as research accumulates over the yearslast but not least, you have it all backwards. Industry funded research bias is generally cited when a positive results is found.. ie, a supplement company for example, funds a study and hopes to influence a positive outcome, or even suppress publication of negative findings. Here on the the other hand, we have the publication of numerous studies showing negative findings not positive. Are you claiming conspiracy theory ie someone paid researchers to get a negative result to suppress an effective drug – HCG? (its the weight loss cure “THEY” dont want you to know about? ) Bold claim and history/public record tells us that one marketeer was sued by the FTC and banned from infomercials after he made this very claim. Wheres your specific proof?

  • Lisa

    I don’t like the HCG diet. I agree that it is a starvation diet. A lady at work wants me to do it with her saying that it is the same as my “diabetic” diet. Well, it’s not. I am not on a diet, first of all and it is a life-style change. I won’t go on it because I am allowed ALL foods in moderation and this has helped me loose 32 pounds so far. I will need to eat like this for the rest of my life. I’ve cut out most of the sugars and watch what I eat and how much I eat because I am insulin-resistant. Sorry, no HCG for me unless I want to get pregnant!

  • Pressley

    Congratulations Shalura! Your post is the only post ever that has made me so angry that I could not let your rantings go without a response. 165lbs is “not healthy” for a woman unless you’re 6’5″??? Wow! that’s amazing! What health pre neanderthal growth charts are you using to spew such nonsense? Depending on body fat, body composition, muscle mass, and numerous other factors, a 165lb female (under 6’5″) can put a 115lb 5’6′ female to shame. It took me such a long time to realize that the scale is not as important as the other factors that I mentioned. You must be an endomorph (did I get that right Tom?). One of those rare individuals who is naturally skinny with a high metabolism? Why are you so critical and cynical regarding some peoples struggles with getting their bodies healthy and looking good? Plateaus DO occur. You might think you’re following programs correctly and to the “T”, but actually you are not. What works for some, might NOT work for others. That’s actually how and why I found Tom real and credible without asking for anything in return. Let me just shout out to you Tom for your wonderful wisdom, inspirations and praise. That being said your 2010 list was quite funny. I feel empathy and ridiculous at the same time because I am one of those desperate “suckers” who tried anything that had even the slightest chance of working. It’s been a long, long journey to finally realize that fitness and weight loss is NOT easy, NOT achieved quickly if you’re doing it properly, and MUST include calorie deficits, cardio and strength training. Most importantly, it has to be your everyday way of life, not a temporary short term fix for your wedding or high school reunion. It’s okay to have pizza or Ben & Jerrys occasionally, just remember, everything in moderation.Thanks Tom for all you do, have done, and will continue to do. Just a quick word on the HCG debacle; my brother, a diehard gym rat went on this crazy 600 calories a day “diet” two months ago. He lost mad mad weight. True he also praised the appetite suppressant effect. His was not that cheap however. Well anyway, to make a long long story kind of short, he has already gained back @25lbs of the 42lbs he lost even though he’s kept up his same daily rigourous workout regime and started eating like a normal person. Go figure! With 42lbs lost, super lean, and totally ripped, it won’t be long before he goes back for those injections again!

  • Dave

    These info commercials are a joke, I have been looking for a power rack & found a site comparing a power rack to something called the flex belt. Take a look, its got to be a joke.

  • Tape worm diet – who thinks up this stuff? That is incredibly gross.

    i thought that would top it, but each entry just kept me thinking that people really bought into these fads. Just insane.

    Great list.

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