This is a layman marketer's observations on diets and weight loss based upon selling and working first hand with weight loss products for over 10 years.
We avoid the weight loss drugs, we do not recommend them as they can be dangerous, however I suppose in some extreme cases with certain obese people the benefits may outweigh the negative side effects.
Here is where we believe the majority of people go wrong when trying to lose weight.
First most people consume way too many carbohydrates and they don't take in enough protein on whatever diet they are on so in effect they are causing their bodies to instead of burning fat to burn lean muscle.
In effect lean muscle burns at rest about 17 times more calories per day at rest than the same amount of fat. The amount of muscle you have greatly determines your metabolism and how many calories your body burns each day. This is why people when they come off their diet and start eating regularly again they can put the weight right back on as their body is now naturally burning less calories than before. In effect they have slowed down their metabolism. This is especially true it seems of women who have less natural muscle mass than men.
This explains why the Atkins diet is so effective. It cuts out a lot of the carbohydrates, which because people often eat too many of them cause weight gain. And by eating more protein it is making sure that you don't lose any muscle and may even gain some additional muscle mass.
The second major factor why people don't lose weight is lack of exercise and to a lesser degree the wrong types of exercise. For example a brisk walk can cause your body to go into the fat burning state called ketosis better than running will.
We earlier discussed how important muscle mass was in maintaining a healthy weight. This is why light resistance exercises (weight training) is so effective in losing weight because it help you add muscle mass. This doesn't have to be massive amounts of weight, any light resistance amount of weight can be effective at adding muscle.
This is why men and women who participate even in light resistance exercises 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes almost always lose weight when they combine this with their weight loss program. This has been our observation over the last 10 years or so.
So to sum it up, the formula to lose weight is fairly simple, following it is much more difficult.
Cut your excess carbs, eat more protein and do moderate exercise like walking and light resistance exercises like weights. Do this and control what you eat and you will lose weight.
Now there are a number of weight loss products on the market that can help facilitate your weight loss, but unless you are willing to do what we just mentioned, you will not achieve your total weight loss goal.
This is not to say particular products aren't effective as they may prevent you from adding additional pounds or even help you lose a few pounds. Also is the issue of carbs, we are not idiots here, we realize carbohydrates are used for energy. However, the bottom line is most people consume much more carbohydrates then they need on a daily basis and the excess gets converted to fat. You know the story.
As far as most weight loss products, most people have varying opinions. Here is the issue, most of the reputable weight loss products work to a certain degree. The problem is most people look at them as miracle workers, that will allow them to continue to eat way too much (this is kinder than saying they eat like a pig), not exercise and expect to lose weight on the product. So at the end of 30 or 60 days they weight or measure themselves and think that product sucked, as they didn't lose anything. Meanwhile they conveniently forget their lifestyle over that period.
This is why recording eating habits in a journal is so effective and why it is recommended.