Finally a Weight Loss Scammer Gets Some Consequences

Diet Ad BingoAh, Kevin Trudeau.  He came to the diet book world like so many others – as a con man (*cough* Steve Siebold *cough*).  He originally found himself on the Federal Trade Commission’s radar for schilling a cure for severe pain, and then a cure for cancer.  As part of a settlement he promised to, you know, stop lying about stuff for money.

So he wrote a diet book!  I imagine he looked around, saw the world of weight loss and said “hey, this is an industry where not only does absolutely everyone lie about how well their stuff works, but everyone, including the customers, blames the customers for failing! Hot damn why didn’t I start with this?”

His book was called “The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.” Ooooh, tell me more! Apparently what “they” don’t want you to know, is that if you sell a book claiming “easy” weight loss with “no exercise”, but your book actually says that people must exercise an hour a day, eat only 500 calories a day, and get injections made from the urine of pregnant women, the shit will hit the fan. Kevin got 10 years in prison and now it looks like he has to give refunds to the people he conned.

While this is good news, I think it’s important to note that, based on the research, there isn’t any company, program, or book selling weight loss that is any more honest about their success rate (or any more successful) than Kevin. People try to act like there’s a difference between “fad diets” like Kevin’s and “lifestyle change” programs like Weight Watchers, but the fact is that the only difference is that Weight Watchers has been getting away with this longer. (though the FTC did get involved, which is why companies like Weight Watchers have to put up a disclaimer that says that their product doesn’t really work every time they advertise it. Though I would prefer that they be forced to have realistic slogans.)

The truth is that whether they are selling us pills that come with a warning to carry extra pants, suggesting that drinking 5 reconstituted soy protein shakes a day is the path to health, or trying to get us to take pills that might kill us, nobody selling weight loss has any research to suggest that more than a tiny fraction of people will succeed long-term.  So here’s hoping that what’s happened to Kevin is the start of a trend.

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Published in: on July 25, 2015 at 9:11 am  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Bye Felicia! Kevin Trudeau is a grade-A sleaze and I hope his time in the slammer is hard enough to make him re-consider his life choices.

  2. The cynic in me says that the reason he was charged with fraud wasn’t that he was shilling for a weight loss program that won’t work long term, but that he lied about the “no exercise” part. That’s straight-up fraud that even a fat-hater would be forced to admit.

  3. I think he has a large profile on QuackWatch. There was a link somewhere to the key piece of evidence in his trial, which amounted to about half of his book, so the comment was not to buy the book but to read the evidence ticket number instead, since it’s free online.

  4. Ugh. It’s hard to believe the BS people will try to shill – and even crazier that there are people who will buy it! I was just trying to talk to my highly educated father about this yesterday, and he kept going on and on about all the diets he’s tried and how (shockingly!!) none of them worked. *sigh*


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