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Consumers urged to be wary of New Year's diet and wellbeing scams

With many people hoping to improve their health or lose weight in the New Year, some may be tempted to turn to fad diets, bogus health foods or non-prescribed slimming pills.

Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service wants consumers to make informed decisions about food and diet and to get reliable advice and support, such as that from the NHS.

Officers are also keen to warn people about bogus or misleading claims for food supplements and products. This area of law is tightly regulated to protect consumers. Claims about the rate of weight loss are not allowed, as are claims suggesting boosted immunity, fat-burning properties and detoxification.

Non-prescribed slimming pills can contain harmful chemicals and people should be cautious. These, along with other similar non-prescription items are also a common target of subscription traps. This is where consumers find themselves unwittingly signing up to continuous payment authority to scammers. People should always check the small print and contact their bank immediately if they believe they have been signed up without their permission.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: "In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of scams relating to health, wellbeing and dietary supplements.

“New Year is a time when many people resolve to become healthier, and scammers exploit this. Social media is great for sharing your get-fit journey, but it can be an unreliable source of health advice. People should always get that from dependable sources such as the NHS.

“The NHS website provides a wealth of support and information, and they have a free 12-week smartphone weight loss plan to help set goals, plan meals and measure progress.”

The county council also work with Everyone Health Staffordshire who provide a free 12-week weight management service for eligible residents. People can check if they are eligible for support at Everyone Health Staffordshire website or visit Start your journey to better health - Staffordshire County Council for hints and tips on healthy eating and keeping active.

For more information about what to do if caught up in a subscription trap, or to report bogus health claims or scams, visit Citizens Advice at or call 0345 4040506.


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