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Results Not Typical: Celebrity Secrets Behind the Advertised Weight Loss

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The Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing new guidelines for product endorsements. Their major beef? Advertisements that show "extreme" benefits of a product with a tiny, fine-print disclaimer. The new rules will force advertisers to show the typical or average results consumers can expect after using their product. And many companies are already sweating over the impact this may have on sales. As one rep put it, "Someone who can't fit in an airline seat is not going to pick up the phone for a 10-pound weight change."

Some of the celebrity spokespersons who might find their contracts affected by the new rules include:

Jillian Barberi's "Before" Shots

Nutrisystem spokesmodel Jillian Barberi boasts of losing 41 lbs. on the plan. What the fine print fails to mention is that in her "before" photos, Jillian is pregnant. Alert viewers in the Los Angeles area spotted her wearing the same dress (in the same physical shape) on a local morning TV show while gushing about her expected baby. Once baby Ruby was born, Barberi not only went on the Nutrisystem plan, she also hired a personal trainer (according to an interview in People) to get herself back in shape.

The Osmond Way

Picture 42.pngMarie Osmond also shills for Nutrisystem. What the TV testimonials don't mention, however, is that at about the same time Marie signed up for Nutrisystem, she also joined the Choose to Move program. And then she landed a spot on Dancing with the Stars, which she admitted required six hour per day workouts for several months that left her breathless and dripping with perspiration. While the  Nutrisystem foods must have helped, the relentless exercise also contributed to her losing an amazing 40 lbs. in five months.

Jared's Subway Secret

Picture 35.pngYou know Jared Fogle from the Subway commercials. Fogle lost 245 lbs. by eating Subway sandwiches. But it wasn't just the subs that did the trick; at age 20 Jared was consuming approximately 10,000 calories per day, and his physician father warned him that he was headed for an early grave if he didn't change his lifestyle. Jared saw an ad for Subway's "7 under 6" campaign and tried a turkey sub. He liked the sandwich and continued to use Subway as a daily source of low-fat meals, but he also incorporated exercise into his daily routine. Instead of using public transportation, he walked to Subway, and he used the stairs rather than the elevator whenever possible. After he lost some initial weight he found that his energy level had increased, and he began walking an additional mile or more per day.

No Ordinary Quacks

The new regulations will also require medical professionals who endorse products (often just referred to onscreen as "Dr.  ----", with no specialty or credentials listed) to be a specialist in said field; that is, an ophthalmologist could not legally give expert advice regarding a colon cleansing product. It will also be required that celebrities who endorse a product must reveal whether or not they are getting paid for the promotion and if they have an ownership interest in said product.

Which ads will you be glad to see struck down by the new rules? Those "work at home" schemes which prey on the elderly and the unemployed? Or maybe the myriad of skin rejuvenation products that subtly suggest women will certainly be dumped for a younger model if they let their face go to seed? Of course, men are also targets of insecurity, with all those "enhancement" products being pitched"¦.   Don't be shy, voice your outrage!

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The Surprising Reason Why Wendy's Serves Fast Food's Only Baked Potato
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iStock

For an industry that prides itself on convenience and indulgence, a fiber-rich pseudo-vegetable that’s hard to eat on the go and isn’t deep-fried seems like a curious addition to a fast food menu. Yet Wendy’s has been selling baked potatoes for nearly three decades—11-and-a-half ounces of pure, unpeeled spud, drowned in your choice of toppings.

According to Thrillist writer Wil Fulton, who spoke with Wendy’s vice president of culinary innovation Lori Estrada, the chain first got turned on to the foil-wrapped food in the 1980s, when nutrition experts were (erroneously) touting low-fat diets for weight loss. Eager to embrace the trend, Wendy's viewed a plain potato as a popular alternative to sliced, oil-slicked fries.

The hysteria over fat may have disappeared, but the collective consumer appetite for the potato did not. Estrada says she believes many of them consider the 270-to-480 calorie (depending on toppings) carb dump a meal unto itself, and that some enjoy piling on cheese, bacon, and other burger trimmings for a tasty and inexpensive dinner.

So why don’t you see baked potatoes at other franchises? Estrada speculates that the logistical issues are a turnoff. The potatoes are cooked from a raw state in convection ovens, which could necessitate new equipment and ample prep time. With fries still the king of sides, franchisees may not think it’s worth the hassle.

Wendy’s is undoubtedly happy to have the market to themselves: The chain sells 1 million tubers a week.

[h/t Thrillist]

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LaCroix
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The Secret Ingredient That Makes LaCroix Water So Irresistible
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LaCroix

The distinctive Technicolor cans of LaCroix sparkling water are an increasingly popular sight in stores and on kitchen tables around the country. (If you're old enough to remember the Snapple phenomenon of the 1990s, this is like that—just bubbly.) But as The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, few of the beverage's loyal fans have any idea what it is they're drinking.

LaCroix comes in a variety of flavors, from tangerine to coconut. The can label, however, is cryptic, listing "natural flavors" as part of the ingredients. Their website discloses only that "natural essence oils" are involved, which sounds like LaCroix should be applied to your hair and then rinsed off.

A look at the nutritional information for LaCroix water
LaCroix

As it turns out, that's not too far off. According to The Wall Street Journal, these "essences" are naturally produced chemicals that are manufactured by heating up fruit or vegetable remnants until they make a vapor, then condensing them into a clear concentrate. They're used in a variety of consumer products, from shampoos to ice pops.

LaCroix was unwilling to confirm the Journal's claim, protecting their manufacturing process in a manner similar to Coca-Cola's famously secretive treatment of their recipe. They do state that no sugars are added, but that may not be enough to protect your teeth: Carbonated water and citric acids can combine to create a lower pH, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Like most everything that tastes good, these flavored waters are best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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