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Slim pickings with dodgy diet advice

CHOICE says the latest social media marketing scheme is bad news for your diet and your wallet

29 January 2015

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is warning Australians not to fall for the hype of a popular diet detox program being marketed through social media platforms such as Facebook.

A CHOICE investigation found the US-based company, Isagenix, uses multi-level marketing (MLM) to incentivise participants to not only buy but sell expensive proprietary supplements to vulnerable consumers. The program, which has been endorsed by local sports celebrity Jana Pittman, promises to give consumers more energy, weight loss and the chance to make thousands of dollars a month.

"It is concerning to think unqualified operatives for the company are pushing diet advice to their followers on social media. If you are trying to lose weight you are far better off consulting a health professional and not a de facto sales rep for a United States based products business," says CHOICE journalist Kate Browne.   

"If you have been approached by someone on social media pushing Isagenix's products you need to be aware these self-proclaimed 'wellness experts' do not have health or nutritional qualifications – their goal is simply to sell expensive supplements.

"While the promise of losing weight and making money is pretty appealing, it's important to know that Isagenix pays commissions based on sales by the participants seeking to capitalise on the power of social media platforms to gain new customers.

"Your health is not their priority, and if you experience any side effects or problems while on the diet, your first point of contact should be a GP or health professional," says Ms Browne.

Pushing a variety of products from whey protein shakes to bars and herbal supplements, Isagenix was launched in Australia in 2007 and is a very low calorie diet (VLCD) based on meal replacement.   

"These types of diets may work in the short-term for weight loss as they force you to eat less, but they are completely unsustainable in the long-term. And it only works while you keep paying," says Ms Browne.

The Isagenix lifestyle is not a cheap way of achieving weight loss goals. A 30-day cleanse will cost you $490, while the same amount of money can get you six to seven one-hour personal training sessions or six to eight consultations with an accredited practising dietician.

Despite the promises of weight loss and huge incomes, the CHOICE report discovered that the average weight loss of a participant is about three kilos and those selling the product as a business made just a few thousand dollars a year.

"If one of your resolutions is to lose weight and get healthy this year, consider consulting a health professional before getting pulled into the Isagenix hype," says Ms Browne.

You can read the full Isagenix review here

Big weight loss? Big bucks? Fat chance 

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