More than half of all Canadian women (55 %) and one-quarter of all Canadians (25%) tries to lose weight at least once a year, sometimes more often.

A good number of them are tempted by the miracle diets which cover page after page of popular magazines.
Here are a few tips to recognize a miracle diet:
  • it promises rapid weight loss;  
  • with little or no effort; and
  • often promotes the sale of special foods or so-called slimming products.  
Once weight loss reaches 10 to 12% of body weight, our bodies start to resist and become accustomed to using less energy, especially if the weight loss has been relatively rapid. The result: our metabolism at rest slows down and our bodies use less energy. If/when we begin to eat as we did previously, the calories taken in are more easily and more efficiently stored as fat. The lost weight is gradually re-gained, often with additional pounds, in the following months. This is called the yo-yo effect. 
The so-called slimming products are often laxatives, diuretics and stimulants for our nervous systems. They have the desired effect of losing weight but it is achieved by dehydrating the body rather than by getting rid of fat. These products are often meal substitutes (31%) or natural products (31%). The latter, normally not licensed by Health Canada (without an NPN number), may be dangerous for your health if you buy and consume them regularly because the efficiency and safety of these products has not been demonstrated. In this regard, INSPQ published a report[1] denouncing the absence of control over the advertising of these slimming products, the content of which is often doubtful and quite possibly categorically patently false.
In future blogs, we shall deal with ways to prevent obesity; that includes a weight-loss program which has the greatest chance of being both efficient and long-lasting.

[1] Mongeau L, Laguë J, et al, Bénéfices, risques et encadrement associés à l’utilisation des produits, services et moyens amaigrissants (PSMA), Institut national de santé publique du Québec