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The Kil Report
The Kil Report: Alternative Medicine,Scientific Method, Evil Skeptic, Scams, Fraud, Hoaxes, Critical Thinking, Enforma
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Enforma: An open letter to Steve Garvey

By David Glück
Posted on: 4/5/2002

Kil tries to help Steve Garvey, by doing some investigation into the product Garvey is hawking.

Dear Mr. Garvey,

I saw you recently on an infomercial as spokesman for an amazing supplement diet called Enforma. First, I want to tell you how good you look after all these years away from baseball. A lesser man might have gone to pot by now. I have seen it happen, believe me. I don’t know your secret to staying trim, Steve, but if it ever gets out I’m sure it could be worth a pretty penny (something to think about, eh?). My guess is you have never needed anything like the Enforma Diet for yourself. I’m sure you took the job because, as a buff guy, it saddens you to see so many overweight people. To those overweight people you say, “The Enforma system is the miracle you have been waiting for” and “[it’s] the most amazing system that I’ve ever seen.”

Steve, a guy like you must be very busy so I don’t know if you just didn’t have the time to investigate this product or what, so I took it upon myself to do it for you. Therefore, I hope you will find the following helpful.

I thought you might want to know as quickly as possible (and before you make anymore claims about miracles and such) that the diet you are pitching is probably worthless. I have done a bit of research on some of the ingredients and, well Steve, it just doesn’t look good. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that the claims you’re making for Enforma are such a stretch that some might even call them lies. I know you wouldn’t lie, Steve. I know that because when you played for the Dodgers, you made honest hits and catches. You left the curve balls to guys like Don Sutton. But, I digress.

Steve, you know the claim which states that Exercise in a Bottle “significantly increases fat loss by 48%?” Well, as it turns out, that claim is a bit misleading. That claim is based on a study of pyruvate, the main active ingredient in Exercise in a Bottle. Pyruvate was given to morbidly obese woman restricted to bed in a metabolic ward for 21 days. The women were all on a 500- to 1000-calorie liquid diet. The pyruvate group lost up to 48% more fat or 2.86 pounds of fat than the control group. Yes, that’s it! Only 2.86 more pounds of fat than the control group after 21 days of dieting. The amounts of pyruvate these woman were given was much higher than the dosage in the Enforma diet. In other words, even on a very serious diet, the women on pyruvate didn’t do much better than the control group. “These percentages have no practical relevance outside the context of a research article,” says William Sukala, CSCS. Nevertheless, some of the Enforma Diet’s claims are based on this study, and furthermore, Steve, they have you saying that weight loss can be achieved without dieting! By the way, this study has not been replicated.

The main ingredient in Fat Trapper is chitosan. Chitosan is derived from chitin, found in the exoskeleton of shellfish. The claim is that Fat Trapper binds to fat and prevents it from being digested. That means we can eat that cheeseburger without worry of absorbing any of the fat. A miracle! But wait a moment. Steven Barret, M.D., of Quackwatch in an article called Is Chitosan a “Fat Magnet?” summed it up this way:
Two recent studies have found no significant differences in weight or serum cholesterol levels between subjects who took chitosan and those who received a placebo. One study involved 30 overweight volunteers who received four capsules of either chitosan or a placebo for 28 consecutive days and were told to eat their normal diet. The chitosan and placebo groups showed no differences in weight or serum cholesterol levels. The other study involved 51 healthy obese women followed for 8 weeks. The chitosan group had slightly (but not significantly) greater cholesterol reduction than the placebo group, but no difference in weight occurred between the two groups.
Now Steve, I know what you’re saying to yourself. You are saying, “How could I, Steve Garvey, be such a fool? I knew the claim sounded about as solid as my being asked to bunt with three on and no outs while leading four to nothing in the seventh! Not very likely.”

Well, sometimes you just have to listen to that voice in your head, Steve. No Steve, the other voice. But wait, there is more.

Steve, I know you were in front of the camera and may have missed this part but did you know that while you are talking the commercial goes to an image of a woman walking down a sidewalk? A woman whose backside is so wide people walking the other direction have to walk almost off the sidewalk to avoid bumping into her? That scene cuts away to some very lovely bikini clad woman. That woman in the opening shot will never ever look like the “hardbodies” that follow. All the dieting in the world will not get this woman a new bone structure. To even suggest that she could look like the girls in the bikinis in the following shot by eating Enforma pills may be the biggest lie in that whole infomercial. Then the shot cuts away to a banquet table. Oh hey, a reminder of all the wonderful fatty foods we can enjoy without gaining a pound if only we eat the Enforma pills too…

My wife called the number shown on the TV to place an order. She was told that she had to listen to a pitch about other products before she could order the Enforma Diet. She refused. This apparently caused some problems for the salesperson on the Enforma end of the phone call. The salesperson had to get “permission” to sell my wife the diet only. You know something Steve? It seems to me that those sales people at Enforma ought to be allowed to sell the diet as advertised over and over on that TV infomercial you star in without having to get permission from their supervisor. (On the other hand, no one really gets the diet as advertised, do they Steve?) Also, the order is processed right away. That is, the money has moved from my wife’s account to Enforma’s account. A good thing, eh? But right here something odd happens. You can have the pills in 7 to 10 days only if you pay an extra $4.95 for a rush order (that’s on top of the $69.95 introductory offer price and $9.95 for shipping and handling, bringing the total to $84.85). Since my wife couldn’t understand the rush charge she opted for a regular delivery. Her pills are expected to arrive in a mere 4 to 6 weeks. The Enforma people must need that time to collect the ingredients to fill my wife’s order. They have to get out into nature I guess. Some of those ingredients (chitosan) require an ocean voyage. Or maybe they can’t fill regular orders until they have time to sweep up the pills they drop while filling the rush orders.

Steve, I’m worried. I don’t think my wife is going to want to keep her Enforma Diet. Considering our confidence in the claims about the effectiveness of the Enforma Diet, she just might wind up wanting her money back. I’m hoping I won’t have to write you with more bad news about promises made by you on behalf of Enforma.

Thanks again for being a man of principle…

David Glück

Skeptic Friends Network

Pyruvate: A Comprehensive Review, by William Sukala, CSCS

Is Chitosan a “Fat Magnet?”, by Steven Barrett, M.D.

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