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"Get a gym body without gym workouts."

"Slim your buttocks, thighs, and arms with our cocoa butter-scented oil."

"Lose five pounds with just five drops under the tongue."

Sometimes, it can feel like the nutrition and fitness fields attract frauds and extremists at the same rate as pyramid schemes. To help you avoid confusion, disappointment, misinformation, and playing lab rat to every new fitness fad and product, look for these big red flags that indicate a wellness trend isn't up to snuff.

It is Too Good to be True

Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Resolutions to cut weight are easy to make but hard to keep. The chances of successfully losing weight just by sprinkling something on your meal, rubbing oil on your skin, or taking a supplement with no other changes are slim to none. The science just isn't there. If it were, the fitness industry would probably not exist.

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It Promises Instant Results

If a fitness trend promises results with little to no work on your part, it is most likely a fraud. The truth is, those extra pounds took time to pile up, and they will take time — and effort — to get rid of.

Not to mention, losing 15 pounds in two weeks might sound great, but losing weight too fast has been proven to contribute to health issues. While the first pounds may melt away if a person has a major weight-loss goal, if they keep dropping fast, that person faces

  • losing muscle or water instead of fat
  • dietary deficiencies
  • gallstones
  • low energy
  • gaining that weight back quickly
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It Claims that One Size Fits all

Every single body is unique. Effectively, fitness and nutrition regimes should be customized to meet each body's special requirements. As such, if a product or approach claims to be the best and only way to achieve a "new you," think twice and seek more information before buying or partaking in it.

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It Contains No Health Warnings

Many fitness fads hardly warn of potentially dangerous interactions or side effects. This should never be the case, because even FDA-approved medication comes with these warnings. Green tea extract, for instance, has widely been used in weight loss supplements, yet it has been associated with liver damage if taken excessively.

Green Tea capsules Eugeniusz Dudzinski / Getty Images
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It Claims to Reduce Fat in One Area

Research shows spot reducing fat does not work. It all boils down to that stubborn layer of fat covering your muscles. As more reliable pros will tell you, no particular muscle or body part "owns" the fat in that spot. Doing situps will strengthen your abs, but it won't specifically "burn" abdominal fat.

To lose weight at a healthy rate, you need to use more calories than you consume. This doesn't mean working out for hours a day — it usually means eating healthy, filling foods that give you enough calories but not an excess, and combining strength and cardio fitness to increase how many calories your body burns at work and at rest.

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It Promises Permanent Weight Loss

Beware of any fitness fad claiming that you can binge on all high-calorie drinks and snacks you want and maintain low weight. Losing weight goes hand in hand with sensible and healthy food choices. Eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts can make losing weight easier than unhealthy beverages, sweets, and snacks.

Girl Drinking Sugary Fizzy Soda From Glass With Straw Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images
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It Requires You to Take a Magic Pill

Doctors, nutritionists, and other experts agree that there's no magic to losing weight. This includes FDA-approved pills that block fat absorption or reduce your appetite. Whatever the seller claims, these pills still require eating the right amount of healthful food and regular exercise to work.

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It is Meant for Men Only or Women Only

Though male and female bodies are very different, the sexes don't need their own specific workouts. As we've already noted, eating well and working out will benefit your body, whatever your sex. The biggest problem with gender-specific claims is that they often target the average person of that sex's insecurity, such as a flat stomach and "pre-birth weight" for females and "bulking up" for males.

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It States that Research is Currently Underway

If you take part in a fitness fad with no research to back it, you risk playing guinea pig on a trial and error product or approach. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell whether the consequences will be positive or negative. It is better to hold off until research confirms that the regimen works and is safe.

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Find Out!

Before embracing any fitness or nutrition fad, do a little sleuthing. Ask who is making the claim What's their agenda? Is there any professional research behind it, and if so, who sponsored the research? What do other professionals say?

A quick and thorough Google search can help you track down the answers to most of these questions. If you have any concerns, talk to a health professional before you commit to any fitness fad or start any weight loss or exercise program.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.