Summer is nipping at our heels, which brings shudders to many women. No longer can we hide under big sweaters and coats. It’s time to peel off our winter camouflage and get bikini ready! At least this is what we’re led to believe as we’re bombarded by media ads and commercials.
In 2012, Americans spent $20 billion in their weight loss quest, including diet books, diet drugs and weight loss surgeries. At any given time there are approximately 108 million dieters in the U.S., typically making four to five attempts each year. Eighty-five percent are women, so it’s no wonder the weight loss industry has created a niche targeted to women. Typical diet pill concoctions consist of thermogenic fat burners and appetite suppressants. The Bermuda triangle for me is HOW these products have been tailored to specifically work for women. SLIMQUICK® and Pro Clinical HydroxyCut™ Max are two “made for women” products that are easily recognizable on retail shelves, ready to be snatched up by eager consumers.
Men and women are different. We know this. Our physiological differences are apparent. At the root of these key differences are our hormones, dictated by the various glands of our endocrine system. There are more than 20 major hormones that course through our bloodstream to influence almost every cell, organ and function of our bodies. Males and females differ by the types and levels of hormones that run through our respective masculine and feminine veins. By diet pill manufacturers targeting women, we would assume that these magic pills work in conjunction with our cycling hormones.
The Bermuda Triangle of Weight Loss
“The active ingredients in the SLIMQUICK formula are backed by real clinical research that shows that they work to burn fat, reduce appetite and increase energy! In a clinical study, overweight women using a key ingredient in SLIMQUICK along with a 1,350-calorie diet lost an average of three times the weight compared to those who just followed the 1,350-calorie diet! That means you could get three times the weight results by using SLIMQUICK!” is SLIMQUICK’s FAQ explanation to the question “How does SLIMQUICK work?”
The website repeats usage of the term “key ingredients,” yet provides no details of what these key ingredients are. All this may satisfy the consumer hopeful for a quick fix, but for me it explains nothing and only irritates me. I went further to buy a bottle with the hopes of finding a sound scientific explanation within the packaging, but to no avail. There’s a nice mini glossy color package insert that includes a diet plan, but still lacks clinical explanation to their trademark tagline, “Designed for Women™.” A deeper dive on their webpage, Designed for Women, provides yet another ambiguous explanation of how women are genetically programmed to carry extra fat. Compared to men, we have more enzymes for fat storage and less for fat burning. There are six physiological barriers that hinder women with weight loss, but guess what? SLIMQUICK helps overcome these barriers. HOW is still the million dollar question, or should I say in the weight loss industry, the billion dollar question.
From what I can tell, caffeine seems to be the only identifiable key ingredient in SLIMQUICK. Let’s do a simple breakdown. What does caffeine do? It gives us a temporary energy boost and dehydrates us. Caffeine gives us energy to move more and we lose water. Water loss results in weight loss, but that loss is only temporary. SLIMQUICK states that each full serving (3 caplets) contains the caffeine equivalent to approximately two 8-ounce cups of regular brewed coffee. So why not just drink coffee?
Pro Clinical HydroxyCut Max does somewhat of a better explanation, if only by comparison to SLIMQUICK. The genesis of the product came about to meet the weight loss needs of competitive female fitness athletes and figure models; you know, the ones we see in health and fitness magazines in their perfectly toned bikini bodies. The website states the product, “contains an ingredient that delivers fast-acting energizing effects.
Max! Hydroxagen® contains proprietary ingredient blends that complete the formula.” Oh hey, proprietary ingredient blends sounds legit! Are you getting excited? Keep reading. “The Max! ProDefine™ Blend is composed of clinically proven key ingredients that can help you achieve powerful weight loss results.” Wow, clinically proven so it must work! Furthermore, each pill “contains an ingredient (caffeine anhydrous [1,3,7-trimethylxanthine]) that supports increased energy.” Claims include data analysis of the results from two clinical studies on the key ingredients (lady’s mantle extract, wild olive extract, komijn extract, and wild mint extract) shows statistical significance for test subjects having lost 7 times more weight versus placebo subjects. Are you ready to buy now? Not so fast. As always pay attention to the fine print. Footnotes state average weight loss and body mass index (BMI) reduction with key ingredients were achieved and that all groups followed a calorie-reduced diet. Repeat the last part of that last sentence. All groups followed a calorie-reduced diet. There is your scientifically proven formula. Weight loss happens when calorie burn is more than calorie intake.
One ugly truth about an industry that caters to aesthetics is they actually want you to fail. They want to hook you in for a temporary fix, with the hopes of keeping you hooked. Circle back to the 2012 statistics of approximately 108 million dieters in the U.S., typically making four to five attempts annually to lose weight. Each repeated attempt is the fail ratio the weight loss industry counts on to stay successful.
Why am I so passionate about the topic? I was the kid who could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. A can of corn with a stick of butter (yes, a whole stick of butter) melted in the microwave was a snack for me. Then one day as an impressionable teen, I was weighed with my dance team. Weight scales were a non-factor for me until then. The scale hit 109 lbs. Somehow my brain blitzed and I didn’t want to be a 3-digit weight girl. I wanted to be only 2-digits! Never mind the fact I stand 5’3” and 109 lbs was a reasonable weight. I needed to be 2-digits, so I put myself on this blind asinine “diet” based on Slim-Fast commercials. I had two shakes a day, yet still ate Burger King Whoppers. In my young utterly clueless mind, I thought this diet shake was the magic bullet to weight loss. Why? Because I believed the commercials. Two shakes for breakfast and lunch, with a sensible dinner. Did I lose weight? Yes. The weight loss also triggered an unhealthy need to keep losing weight for the magic goal of 90 lbs.
Through age and life experiences, we become smarter human beings. We are logical. We know and understand facts, but as humans we are also driven by emotions; lured into quick fix pills and the weight loss industry preys on that. Revenue is based on moving product. SLIMQUICK claims to be the #1 leading weight loss brand for women since 2005. I give them credit for their business savvy. They certainly move a lot of product for not explaining a whole lot. They even offer a free trial if you pay $4.95 only shipping and handling. Hook, line and sinker.
At the end of this article, I still have no idea what is it about the diet pills that make them work for only women, and frankly I don’t care to find out because ultimately they’re not good for our health. Thankfully after cycling through various diet kicks, I have landed on a healthy lifestyle. I stay active and eat well. No food is off limits. If you want it, enjoy it in moderation. Deprivation leads to obsession. Just say no to magic beans that will lead you to no place better than Jack and his beanstalk. We all fluctuate from time to time in our health. When it comes time to “get healthier,” do what you already know.