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The Big Fat Money Pit of Weight Loss Revealed on 20/20

The literal business of weight loss is a very lucrative industry. Tonight’s edition of ABC’s 20/20 will break down the numbers and many will be shocked by the story of, “Losing It: The Big Fat Money Pit.”

John LaRosa is the president of Marketdata, where he has been an analyst of the U.S. weight loss market for 23 years. He gave an interview to 20/20 along with other experts, about the impact the actual “industry” of weight loss has on our country. The interviews evaluate the use of celebrity endorsements for diet companies, weight loss scams, the popularity of diet pills and meal replacements, and much more.

The subject of weight and weight loss deals heavily with numbers. Some of the most interesting numbers are those of dollars spent. Here are just a few staggering statistics that will be covered in tonight’s show, airing at 10 PM E.T.

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5 Places People Waste the Most Money on Their Health

David Bakke writes about tips for improving health and saving money on Money Crashers Personal Finance.

In 2009, Americans spent almost $2.5 trillion on health care, and that number is expected to almost double by the year 2019. As these costs escalate, it’s obvious that a healthy lifestyle can save you money. But the question is, how much money should you spend to live healthy? Fortunately, there are many ways to cut back on health expenses without cutting back on health benefits.

1. Gym Membership

Unless your monthly gym bill serves as your only motivation to exercise, a gym membership is usually not worth the expense. You can walk or jog in your neighborhood, bike at a local park, and swim in public pools. You can also pick up a cheap set of dumbbells for strength building. In fact, skipping the gym can easily save $500 annually.

2. Organic Food

Organic foods cost roughly 30% more than their traditional counterparts. So if you’re spending the money on organic, make sure it’s worth it and research which are safe to buy conventionally grown instead. For example, some conventionally grown fruits don’t contain as many pesticide residues as others. Whereas conventionally grown apples repeatedly test as some of the “dirtiest” fruits on the market. Avocados, onions, cantaloupes, asparagus, and eggplants should be safe to buy non-organic.
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Body By Vi Diet vs. Medifast Diet

When it comes to diets, many people look for a program that does most of the work for them. When it comes to weight loss, nutrition is key, and programs that can plan out your meals, tell you what to eat and when came make the whole process a lot easier. Two popular meal services are the Body by Vi program and Medifast. Both provide you with meal options, Body by Vi with meals replacement shakes, and Medifast that delivers full meals to your door. We’ve weighed the pros and cons for each so you can make the decision that is right for you.

Body by Vi allows you to purchase kits filled with meal replacement shakes to take the place of one or two meals a day, depending on your goals. Each kit that is available will come with a set amount of meal replacement shakes and range in price.

Medifast is a meal delivery service that sends high protein meals directly to your door step and was named #7 on the list of the Best Commercial Diets by US News in 2011. By controlling portions and calories, Medifast claims users can expect to lose up to 20 pounds in their first month on the program. Medifast’s success has been proven in multiple clinical studies. A Johns Hopkins study found Medifast helps dieters lose weight quickly and safely. The study also found Medifast helped type 2 diabetics lose 2 times the weight of those following the American Diabetes Association’s dietary recommendations. Medifast also shows positive results in those with hypertension and high cholesterol.


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Dr. Oz Puts Three Women on an Extreme 48 Hour Diet

Tune in Friday, October 28, 2011 to see Dr. Oz’s most extreme diet challenge ever.

Three typical women who are overweight, have high blood pressure, and high cholesterol will be put through an extreme 48 hour diet. The women will be locked up with nothing more than the food Dr. Oz has provided for two days. The women will be unable to give in to temptation and their bodies will go under a significant change in just the few hours. The results are promised to be unbelievable. Be certain to catch this episode as we see just how impactful a healthy diet is on the body.



Are Yo-Yo-ing Celebs More Relatable for Diet Ads?

Celebrities are real people. They go to the grocery store (unless their assistant goes for them), drive cars (if their driver has the day off), and their weight fluctuates.

Diet companies have a recent history of corralling celebrities into being their spokespeople, but is this the best marketing strategy? People who see a celebrity as a diet spokesperson believe that they “know” the person who is losing weight right in front of them. So what happens when this known person gains the weight back?

We all remember Kirstie Alley‘s shining moment on Oprah as she danced around in her bathing suit after her weight loss on Jenny Craig. Jenny Craig gave her the boot when she gained her weight back and she was back on Oprah, this time with conservative dress and a solemn look on her face.

Notorious yo-yo dieter Carnie Wilson was the spokesdieter for The Fresh Diet and had a successful start with a 20 pound weight-loss.

“She dropped, like, 20 pounds in the first three months. Then she, I mean, she had to go off of it. There’s no question. She might have eaten the meals, but she ate the meals with a lot of other stuff. She started a cheesecake company.” Zalmi Duchman, chief executive for Fresh Diets, said.


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