Trousers straining at the seams? Determined to shed a few centimeters from your waistline? Worried that your middle-aged spread might be a harbinger of the dreaded "metabolic syndrome?" J-Cast (July 20) online news has some bad news for those seeking to slim down through the use of dietary supplements and/or mail-order goods such as power belts, exercise books, workout DVDs, exercise devices and the like.
A survey released on July 13 evaluated and compiled 18,583 comments the users of 727 diet-related products had posted on a popular site called "Diet Cafe." The results showed that 69.2% saw "little or no benefits from their use."
"I bought it because the price was affordable," grumbled one poster. "Even after drinking twice the recommended daily amount, I felt no changes at all."
Another wrote, "When I began taking it, at first I felt perked up, so thinking it was having some effect, I continued drinking it, but it didn't help enough to result in any weight loss."
The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan frequently receives claims regarding supplements and other weight-loss preparations. During testing of one product, the center discovered that while it might not contribute to weight loss, it certainly remedied constipation -- its active ingredients included a laxative in higher quantities than that used in prescription medications.
Shoichi Fukuzaki, chairman of the Shinjuku-based Nihon Diet Academy, Inc -- the organization entrusted with certifying people as "Diet Master" -- puts it like this: "Many mail-order goods make exaggerated claims. If you think buying one is going make it any easier to lose weight, you've got the wrong idea."
Take food supplements, says Fukuzaki. Some aren't even good for you to begin with. There was that amazing tea from China that claimed to help people lose weight merely by drinking it. (Which quickly disappeared after several users died.) Likewise dietary regimens that call for taking two of the day's three meals in the form of ultra-low calorie servings -- the so-called substitution diet -- might work in the short term; but as soon as you quit, the pounds inevitably rebound.
"If you don't get the required amount of calories needed for your activities, the percentage of muscle tissue drops," explains Fukuzaki. "When the weight returns, it mostly comes back as body fat, so the result is less muscle, more flab.
"The thing to do before starting a diet program is to learn why your body is fat or thin in the first place, and then proceed from there," he says.
Jinichi Asano, chairman of the Society for the Study of Diet and Obesity, has little good to say about the exercise DVDs or exercise gadgets.
"To burn off one kilogram of fat, it's said a person needs to run the equivalent of three and a half full-length marathons," Asano points out. "Your weight might show a drop if you measure it immediately after exercising, but that's only due to depletion of water through perspiration, and has no bearing on fatty tissue. Over the long run, you're better off paying attention to what you eat and doing water walking exercises in the pool to strengthen your muscles."
Asano nonetheless concedes that watching DVDs may have the effect of raising dieters' motivation.© Japan Today