Ah, 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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