How the Weight Loss Industry is Ripping you Off

Pardon my language, but this is the kind of thing that really P*SSES US OFF at ACLAÍ Health and Performance. You see, we are an ethical company, our coaches are highly qualified professionals, we know about human health, and most of all we care about our clients. I see it every time I drive to work, or go shopping. So-called ‘health food’ companies who are taking advantage of you with their claims, and ‘fitness experts’ who are making claims of spectacular weight-loss in just a matter of weeks  that are both unfounded and unhealthy. Please read on and listen to the truth about weight loss and how you are being robbed blind by those who are selling you the promise of 'weight-loss' in the short term but really all they're selling you is the promise of taking you further along a weight-gain spiral.

"Lose Weight ..FAST!" Sound familiar?? These are Unrealistic and Dangerous Claims!

First of all, let's discuss the issue of how much weight you should actually lose over a given time period within healthy parameters. One Cork-based training facility is currently advertising a program promising up to 3.4kg in 12 days. That’s 0.28 kg per day or close to 2 kg per week. Now, let's just presume you are solely burning fat, and not building any muscle at all (which is a ridiculous way to lose weight), then this rate of fat loss is both unrealistic (virtually impossible), and damaging to your health. What’s happening here can be explained in two ways:

  1. You are totally dehydrating yourself, and the weight your are losing is simply water that will put on again as soon as you discover you are being conned, and finally drink some water. This can lead to SERIOUS and IRREVERSIBLE health damage. (1, 2). You need to drink 2-3 litres of water per day to stay healthy, and even more so if you are training hard. Losing water is not only bad for your health, but you are only fooling yourself if you think you are making progress because in fact all you are losing is water weight through sweat.
  2. You are on an extreme diet, which will leave you malnourished, and suppress your immune system (4). To achieve your dream body is a process that will take time. You got yourself where you are with poor exercise and nutrition habits that took years to build up and reinforce. You will get yourself out of it with positive nutrition and exercise habits, but you need to be fair to yourself and be willing to work on them. Undertaking an extreme diet will allow you to lose weight fast, but you wont establish any positive habits, and your body will eventually be crying our for a massive binge. When you think about it, the body is just right to ask you for a week long feast, you have been starving it for weeks. It thinks it is in a famine and needs food for survival. Unfortunately for you, this means you will undo any weight loss that you achieved during your soup and apples diet, or whatever it was you were doing.

Does that 'cheap' as chips price-tag seem so cheap now? Considering you're forking out on a program that in the end will get you right back to where you started or worse off as soon as you stop the program? Please understand programs are 'cheap' when there is minimal commitment on their part. Weight-loss has become an industry filled with businesses! Wise-up to this! In the meantime accept that a healthy rate of 'weight loss' should be no more than 0.5 - 1 kg (1-2lbs) per week.. anything more and you're on an unsustainable and frankly dangerous path.

Building positive nutrition and exercise habits over time will not only get you healthy, but it will filter down to your friends and family. Adopting healthy eating habits with real food will set a good example for those around you, and encourage them to eat healthy. This could potentially add decades onto the lives of your children or significant others! There’s no shortcut, you just need to do it.

‘Supplements’ and ‘Health Foods’

Many weight-loss companies make you buy their ‘Supplements’, ready-made meals and ‘Health Foods’. They say you wont get results unless you buy them and take / eat them.  A picture speaks a thousand words. Here is a snap of a food label from a popular weight-loss company that wants to Watch your Weight. Remember, labelling laws require that the most abundant ingredient is named at the start of the ingredients list followed by the next most abundant ingredient and so on. 

It’s easy guys and girls. Eat meat, vegetable, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Buy things that don’t come with exhaustive ingredient lists. If you can't pronounce an ingredient then it's not a good sign! Buy foods that grow in the locality within season if you can. This is how we are built to live and eat. Eatingready meals, and man-made ‘foods’ is what got us into this mess in the first place. Don’t be conned!

It is time for change. The Nutritional Journal published a review in 2010 stating that conventional weight management has an extremely high failure rate (3). This should be enough for anyone who wants to lose weight to take extra care when choosing a method of reaching a healthy weight. Remember, sustainability, accountability, consistency, and expert guidance are the keys to achieving your goals. If something is 'cheap' and promising you the world the look past the price tag and have a long think about what you are really being sold.. money down the drain comes to mind.

This short article is only scratching the surface of the farce that is the 'weight loss' industry, but it should open your eyes to what is around you!

But what now? Well first of all you can read the following articles:

The Scientific Truth that Most Gyms don’t Want Women to Know

A Few Facts About Weight Loss that You Don’t Want to Hear

Eating for Fat Loss and Athletic Performance

Then, if you are ready to get real about your journey to long-term healthy weight-loss, then get in touch with us to book a consultation with one of our experts, and start out on the road to real and healthy weight loss.


  1. Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men
  2. Water, Hydration, and Health
  3. Validity of claims made in weight management research: a narrative review of dietetic articles
  4. Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction.

This Article is By Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS