Are diets just placebos?

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Posted 14 July 2017

A question that is often asked: why do some people (few) lose weight even if the weight-loss product is a scam?

For example, if we claim that Herbex products have no evidence to back up their claim to be effective in weight-loss, and indeed, as we argue, there is no proof the ingredients contribute to weight-loss and particularly at the dose being used.

We have attributed this to the placebo effect, i.e., someone taking a pill psychologically changes the way he/she eats. There are many studies demonstrating how people have lost weight, even large amounts, even though they were getting an inert substance.

In an article in Slate, the science writer Erik Vance, asks the question: Are diets just placebos?

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