Weight loss “miracles” drown out the reality of how to achieve a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise, and the green coffee extract myth is another false hope. The maker of the green coffee extract, Applied Food Sciences (AFS), has to pay a fine of $3.5 million and will no longer be allowed to make weight loss claims about its products in the future unless their studies improve.

The unsubstantiated scientific claims about the supplement’s claim to fame has won the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which did not hesitate to act when it saw falsified and misleading claims portrayed to the public as miracle weight loss supplements. "Applied Food Sciences knew or should have known that this botched study didn't prove anything," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "In publicizing the results, it helped fuel the green coffee phenomenon."

The FTC found the principal researcher of the company’s studies altered the weights, measurements of the participants, length of the trial, mixed up the controls with the test subjects, ultimately losing track of who took the green coffee extra and who took the placebos, including other egregious errors. Knowing this, AFS still purported to the public that their product was supported scientifically and proven to cause a person to lose 10 percent of their body weight without changing their diet or exercise. Anyone who is trying to lose weight and hears there’s a natural pill that effortlessly causes weight loss would want to try it, and AFS was acutely aware of the number their study needed to produce in order to grant them that wish, no matter how falsified.

“When the principal investigator failed to find a publisher for his summary of the purported trial, AFS hired ghost-writers, who — like AFS — themselves received numerous, conflicting data sets from the principal investigator, but accepted the final version as correct,” reads the complaint. “The published study does not refer to these inconsistencies. Moreover, the published study fails to explain why most of the reported weight loss occurred when subjects were taking neither GCA nor a placebo; and fails to disclose that subjects were exercising and/or dieting during portions of the trial.”

The Dr. Oz Show bragged of the amazing weight loss powers of the green coffee extra as the host stood in front of an audience, a domesticated parrot in scrubs repeating the same claims AFS made in their infomercials. This isn’t the first time TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz has been accused for touting miracle supplements and treatments as if they were truth. However, he claims he receives no kickbacks from companies for featuring their products on his show.

“My job is to be a cheerleader for the audience, when they don’t think they have hope,” Oz told lawmakers when he was confronted. “I have things I think work for people. I want them to try them so that they feel better, so that they can do the things we talk about every day on the show [such as diet and exercise]."

Diet and exercise are truly the best and safest ways on the road to weight loss and health if executed correctly. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of claims from various companies of weight loss “miracles” and quick fix solutions. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for these key phrases and resist pulling out your wallet:

  • “Lose weight without changing your diet!”
  • “Lose weight permanently. Never diet again!”
  • “Just take a pill!”
  • “Just put on this patch!”
  • “Just rub on this cream!”
  • “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”

It’s overwhelming isn’t it? All of these exclamation marks distract sad hopefuls from the glaring truth that weight loss and health don’t lie within the power of one single pill, no matter how much we’d like to believe the key to their goals is in an infomercial, shipment of pill bottles, patches, creams, or capsules. The companies have a huge market of more than one-third of obese American adults to prey upon, adding up to 78.6 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The sought-after magicians turn out to be more like illusionists who give you what you want to see but come up short when they pull weight loss results out of their black hats.

Take the slimming body wrap weight loss route, which involves lying very still for 60 minutes while being wrapped in what feels like a burrito diaper. The key here is it also says to eat light before using the wrap, which is invariably just a way to trick you into believing it’s the wrap you’ve purchased that’s causing the weight loss and not the healthy eating. If that myth doesn’t do it for you, check out the Dr. Oz endorsed over-priced raspberry ketone supplements that claim to be a “miracle in a bottle.”

Until recently, the chemical compound that gives berries their sweet scent has been used primarily by perfume and manufacturing food industries, but now companies claim it’s another weight loss miracle. The Food and Drug Administration haven’t done any testing on the product, which is always a red flag because that means it hasn’t gone through rigorous testing that can prove its powers to the people.

Try the cabbage soup diet, the Hollywood shake diet, the 7-day juice diet, this herb pill, that herb pill, or the carb-less, meatless, sugarless diets that all the celebrities, athletes, and models swear by. The lists are endless, and so are the disappointments. Health is based on a three pillared foundation of diet, exercise, and sleep. If you build your hopes on anything else, it’s likely to crumble down with your hopes and bury your perseverance beneath the rubble.

Our bodies convert molecules into fat cells when it has extra forms of energy, known as calories. That’s why cutting your caloric intake is an important part of diet and weight loss. Calories measure the potential energy in the food you eat that come in the form of macromolecules of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. When the body digests food it uses energy and anything left over is either used up through exercise or everyday activities, or converted into fat for storage.

To lose weight, exercise and eating healthily for your body to efficiently burn more calories or energy than you consume for your fuel reserve. Pills can’t mimic this metabolic process. Only consistent regimens can lead the body to a healthier, smaller jean size.