Stick-on weight-loss patches infused with Japanese mint are the newest “get thin quick” gimmick buzzing around the internet. The ads make them seem irresistible— “Have you tried to lose weight? This is a dream solution for you!” But are these a true scientific breakthrough or another way to simply separate you from $7.99 plus tax and shipping?
According to some dubious-looking sites, these patches were supposedly developed by a Japanese doctor (different web sites give different names for this mysterious genius, but none provide any links to any research, nor do they even give a first name so you can look up the doctor’s credentials on your own), and they claim to eliminate all the pesky work of eating nutritious foods and exercising. You simply slap on the sticky patch, and within hours it will “trigger fat cells to reduce body fat by a magical mechanism without making the skin loose,” according to the very scientific description on one site.
Well, magical fat-reducing slimming patches are a dream solution, if by “dream” you mean a complete fantasy that evaporates as soon as you wake up.
“If the solution to obesity were as simple as wearing a patch, then there would be no obesity epidemic with a whole field of science devoted to working on it,” points out Rekha Kumar, M.D., medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) and an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Dr. Kumar does sympathize those who are curious about these products, however: “The proven methods to lose weight—calorie-restricted dieting and exercise—are very challenging for so many people. You get hungry, you don’t have the time to exercise, or you’re scared about getting started, so the concept of a quick fix is very attractive.”
You may be thinking, so, even it doesn’t work, what’s the harm in trying? Before you press “checkout,” here’s what you should know: