People warned about New Year diet and wellbeing scams


People looking to improve their health and wellbeing in the New Year should be aware of misleading claims and scams and stick to trusted sources of health advice.

The warning, from Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service, hopes to help keep people safe and prevent them from wasting their money on diet or weight loss products that don’t work.

Common scam products include diet pills, vitamins or herbal drinks and formulas. Many are promoted on social media, however these are often not scientifically proven to be beneficial for weight loss or health.

Furthermore, products claiming to help people lose weight quickly while reducing appetite and fatigue may have damaging side effects including diarrhoea, heart problems and even lead to unplanned pregnancies by interfering with oral contraception.

So called ‘detox’ products and ‘immunity boosting’ claims should also be avoided according to Trading Standards officers. In addition to this, super human weight loss testimonials and fad-ads should also be treated with caution.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “For many of us the new year is a time when we make promises to improve our health and wellbeing, lose weight or get fit. And to help with this we can often be tempted with special offers or trials and products offering instant results.

“This isn’t always a good idea. It’s important to remember that many of these diet and detox supplements advertised don’t work and certainly won’t help you to lose weight. Much of them are promoted through social media websites and in some cases can be harmful to your health.

“We’re simply reminding people to be careful with the products they’re buying online and not to rush in buying items that will leave them out of pocket. Anyone looking to improve their health or wellbeing should always stick to official advice from the NHS. And remember that the keys to sustainable weight loss are small, positive and permanent changes to diet and lifestyle.”

Trading Standards Officers are also reminding businesses that there are strict rules in place on the marketing and advertising of such products and It is illegal to make false claims. Further guidance on good trading practices is available from the service or online.

Anyone interested in changing their lifestyle or losing weight should visit the NHS website at The Eatwell Guide - NHS (www.nhs.uk), or Everyone Health Staffordshire at Everyone Health Weight loss service - New Virtual Groups Now Available | Staffordshire Connects.

For further information and to report businesses who are selling false or misleading dietary products, contact Citizens Advice on Citizens Advice or call 0808 223 1133

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