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Your Guide to Keto Scams: Diet Pills, Gummies, and More

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FACT CHECKED
  Published on June 2nd, 2023
  Reading time: 16 minutes
  Last modified June 2nd, 2023
Keto scam alert

You’ve probably seen that cheesy and cringeworthy advertisement for new keto gummies that will make you lose 50 pounds no matter what. Scams are increasingly common these days with their bold claims, scientific-sounding terms, and fake celebrity endorsements. The AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline noted an uptick in the number of keto pill scams in recent years, with some victims losing well over a thousand dollars. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received over 2.8 million reports of fraud from consumers. [1]

Scams may have became even more common recently with people working from home due to the Covid pandemic. With more time at home and with so much talk of a threatening virus, many people began searching for ways to improve their health and lifestyle. Those that turned to keto may have fallen victim to one of the countless keto scams.

Among the most notorious of the keto scams was the Shark Tank keto diet pills scandal. In fact, hundreds of individuals contacted us at Ketogenic.com describing how they also had been scammed by this company claiming to have been on Shark Tank. Worse than the money lost are the possible health consequences for people who take these gummies or pills, since we just don’t know what ingredients are used and if they’re safe. They may contain stimulants or allergens. 

In our bustling modern world, it’s helpful to learn ways to protect yourself and spot a scam. What are the signs of a scam product? What should you do if you’re a victim of a keto scam? How can you identify safe keto products? Let’s answer these questions so you’re better equipped to navigate the ever-changing world of keto scams.

How to Identify Keto Scams

Screenshot of keto gummy scam site

The first step in protecting yourself from keto scams is to be aware of the signs that a product is a scam. Here are some of the signs to watch for, and ways to spot them.

Read the Marketing Content Carefully

Take time to read the advertisement or website content. Are they making bold claims? Are there typos and grammatical mistakes? Are there words like ‘interestingly’ that are repeated several times? Is the web page really, really long with far too much hype? Are there glamorous promises of a quick fix? Does it sound too good to be true? Does there seem to be a rush for you to buy, with pushy words, timers, limited-time offers, and other sales tactics? 

If the answer is yes to these questions, you could be looking at a scam. Pay attention to the fine print on the website, the invoice, or the hyperlink. These companies often change the names of their latest scam product, and every time you click the link you can see a different product name with the same extravagant claims. Here are some of the many names used in the Shark Tank keto scam: PureFit Keto, Keto Legend, Envy Naturals Keto, and Keto Supreme.  

Look for Results/Studies

If you’re considering spending your hard-earned money on this product, it’s smart to take time to look for positive results, reports, and success stories from others. Go beyond the company’s advertisements and website and scour the web elsewhere in search of legitimate ratings, consumer testimonials or reviews, and stories. Chances are you’ll soon find out if the manufacturer is fabricating most of those good reviews to drown out the bad.

Is there mention of a guarantee or a scientific breakthrough? If they’re making bold claims and pointing to research and studies, see if you can find these studies in other places like PubMed.Gov and find out whether there are other forms of scientific information, independent professional opinions, or reports that corroborate the claims. If they don’t have valid research and studies, it’s probably because those lavish claims aren’t exactly true.

Check the Listed Ingredients

Are the ingredients of the pill clearly listed? Keto products should be happy to list their ingredients so you know exactly what you’re getting. If the pill lists that it has the exogenous ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in it, it may well be a scam because it’s difficult to fit an efficacious dose of BHB in a pill.

Keto gummy nutrition label

 Ask Reputable Sources

Whenever you’re considering changing up your diet or supplements, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider for a professional medical opinion. Many experienced doctors and healthcare providers also know how to spot scams with false claims and shaky, questionable studies and research. Ask your friends and family and use reputable sites like Google Scholar or PubMed.gov to find published papers on specific ingredients, so you can vet these claims yourself. Another source to check out is the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which rates firms and allows consumers to verify firms’ identities and leave reviews about the vendors. You can always reach out to the Ketogenic.com team with your questions about keto products and claims.

Look for Celebrity Endorsements

If this magical keto diet pill is backed by fashionable smiling celebrities, it might also be too good to be true. There have been cases of companies using celebrities’ pictures and likenesses without their permission and knowledge to give the impression that the product is endorsed by the celebrity. 

Model and actress Chrissy Teigen complained that a company selling keto diet pills on the Snapchat app had fraudulently used her identity. Some firms even steal the before-and-after fitness and weight loss transformation photos of regular people from Instagram and use them to promote their phony products. If the firm is on social media, see if they tag the original poster in their transformation photos, which will indicate if the person is real or if they’ve had their identity stolen to sell these useless products. If they state they have celebrity endorsements, search the web to see if other sources confirm the endorsement.

No Response and No Customer Service

People dealing with these keto diet scammers report that no matter how many times they’ve tried to call or email the manufacturer, they’ve received no response. The websites crash, change frequently, or don’t function properly. These companies seem to vanish whenever someone has an issue and tries to reach out. Consumers have been put on hold, hung up on, and completely ignored as money continues disappearing from their accounts. They desperately clamor for a solution, asking the bank to try to halt the theft. In some cases, people have received a response from the fraudster with an offer of a 35% or 50% refund.

In other cases, the manufacturer continues charging the consumer for a subscription that wasn’t clearly communicated or agreed upon. In one case, the company responded and stated that the consumer didn’t cancel the subscription after 14 days, so they would continue to be charged. Other times consumers purchase a bottle of keto pills or gummies for a set price, say $60, only to find out their card has been charged for $125 and more charges crop up later. Whether or not they’ll receive some sort of scam product in the mail later is a total gamble.

Companies may slightly alter their name as it appears on people’s bank accounts as they continue to steal more money. People have resorted to canceling their cards and those using debit cards often find they’ve lost their money.

Pop-Up Ads

Pop-up ads on your phone or computer are a common way these scam companies reel you in with promises that their special pill can help you lose weight more quickly than with a keto diet alone.

30-Day Supply

The manufacturer may offer a 30-day supply of keto pills just for the cost of shipping as long as you cancel within 30 days. The consumer might receive the pills along with other products only to later find their bank accounts have been charged hundreds of dollars for the products they didn’t order.

Common Keto Scams

Keto gummies are a scam

Here are some of the common keto scams:

Shark Tank Keto Diet Pills

The Shark Tank keto diet pills were never actually on Shark Tank–a TV show where a panel of investors called ‘sharks’ decide whether to invest in various companies or products after watching the company’s business presentations. 

The scam company boasted that Chrissy Teigen and other famous celebrities had lost weight rapidly by taking their keto diet pills, but it turns out that this was all a fraud. These celebrities never endorsed these keto pills. The Shark Tank pills claim to contain 800 mg of BHB, which (if even true) won’t really have any effect on your body. Some fake reviews state that the pills boosted ketone markers by 14.4% above their non-supplemental baseline, but the truth is that 800 mg of BHB isn’t enough to cause any increase in ketone levels.

Keto Gummies

Keto Blast Gummies are marketed as powerful ketogenic supplements to help you get into ketosis, enhance energy and focus, reduce food cravings and appetite, and melt away your stored fat. Wow, those are some bold claims! Alongside natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, the gummies contain, you guessed it, BHB salts. With just two gummies per day, the firm states that the BHB salts and herbal ingredients will energize you, improve digestion, and ramp up your ketone production to push you into ketosis. Again, because of the minor amount of BHB, you’d likely have to consume over half a bottle to get any sort of beneficial effect because any amount of BHB below 3 grams really isn’t efficacious, and most of these scam keto gummies and pills clock in at a mere 800 mg or less. To make matters worse, these particular keto gummies contain glucose syrup, which certainly isn’t keto-friendly and will actually make it harder for you to get into ketosis.

Lean Start

The Lean Start keto pills are yet another scam promising weight loss, fat burning, better energy and metabolism, crushed cravings, and the rest. It becomes exhausting reading these extensive claims. The ads state that you’ll definitely lose weight when you take these pills, which contain ingredients like lemon juice powder, magnesium, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and, once again, BHB. They state that BHB helps burn off fat cells in your body, but as you know, you would need to consume 3 grams or more of BHB to see any positive effects. 

With these keto pills, as with other scam diet supplements, you may find a product of the same name on several websites with different ingredients listed each time, which is suspicious, to say the least. If you click around, you may end up on websites that seem to be selling the same product but under different names, like Strive Nutrition Keto. You’ll also notice that there’s no solid evidence of any research; instead, there’s lots of rambling about how wonderful the product is.

Additional Scams to Look Out For

New scams are popping up every day, but we’ve compiled a list of scam keto product names for you to watch out for:

  • Keto RX
  • Envy Naturals Keto
  • Ultra Apex Keto
  • PureFit Keto
  • Keto Rapid Max Pure
  • Keto Legend
  • Holistic Bliss Keto
  • Keto Supreme
  • Keto Max Burn
  • Maxwell Keto

What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Keto Scam

If you’re the victim of a keto scam, take a deep breath, don’t be embarrassed, and realize that you’re not alone. With so many scams out there, you or any of your friends or family could easily fall prey. 

Here’s what you should do if you’re the victim of a keto scam:

Step 1: Call Customer Support

Call the company’s customer support and ask them to cancel the charges immediately and issue a refund. They might try to avoid giving you a refund and ask you to ship the bottle back, ignore you, or other shady tactics.

Step 2: Secure Your Account

No matter the response or lack of response you receive from the shady scam company, you should immediately contact the financial institutions associated with your credit cards and bank accounts. They should walk you through how to secure your account. The Federal Trade Commission advises that if you paid with a credit or debit card, you contact the bank or company that issued the card, let them know this was a fraudulent charge, and ask them to reverse the charge. Ask your credit card company to cancel your card and send you a new card. If you used a money transfer application, you should be able to contact the company behind the money transfer and ask them to reverse the payment due to fraud. Some people err on the side of caution and change their bank account passwords if they’ve been scammed, even if they don’t believe the scammers have access to their bank passwords.

Step 3: Monitor Your Bank Accounts

Continue to monitor your bank accounts and card statements for new charges. Scammers may continue to try to take out hundreds of dollars in separate charges.

Step 4: Contact the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau

Report the scam to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to alert others and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. The FTC uses the information you provide to help build cases against scammers, pinpoint patterns and trends, and educate the public so consumers become more aware. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s web page for more advice and information on dealing with scams. The United States government also has a useful webpage assisting you in finding the right federal agencies and organizations to contact based on the nature of the scam. 

Step 5: Tell Others

Tell others and spread the word far and wide. Comment online, tell your friends and family, and share these articles. The first step in solving a problem is realizing there is one, and many people aren’t aware of how these scammers operate and how their convoluted scams play out. You can even reach out to our Ketogenic.com team by sending an email to yourfriends@ketogenic.com. 

Keto Diet Quick Fixes

The truth is there aren’t any ‘quick fixes’ when it comes to going keto and improving your health, lifestyle, fitness, or body weight. Following a ketogenic diet will require changes, commitment, time, effort, and consistency to achieve sustainable weight loss, vitality, and more. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You won’t achieve results with keto overnight, but if you stick with it, you should be well on your way to success. 

How to Make the Keto Diet Easy and Manageable

Keto diet meal planning

The truth is there aren’t any ‘quick fixes’ when it comes to going keto and improving your health, lifestyle, fitness, or body weight. Following a ketogenic diet will require changes, commitment, time, effort, and consistency to achieve sustainable weight loss, vitality, and more. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You won’t achieve results with keto overnight, but if you stick with it, you should be well on your way to success.

How to Make the Keto Diet Easy and Manageable

Check out these top tips for making the keto diet a little easier and more manageable.

Meal Planning

Planning your meals in advance means you don’t have to spend time every day thinking about what you’re going to eat. Write down the recipes, dishes, and even snacks you want to eat this week, so you have a clear plan laid out, and you’re less likely to fall off the wagon. Choose a variety of different meals and ingredients to keep it interesting. Use the keto meal planner here at Ketogenic.com to streamline your keto food prep.

Meal Prep

With meal prep, you’re saving time by planning and preparing your dishes in advance. This way, you’re less likely to grab processed and packaged ready-to-go foods because your delicious keto meals are waiting. Meal prepping could mean batch cooking, food divided into individual portions, ingredients that are chopped and ready to cook, or a fully-cooked meal ready to reheat at mealtimes. For example, if you’re typically more tired and short of time in the evenings, it’s a good idea to have batch-cooked frozen meals available or some veggies chopped up and ready for a quick stir fry.

Use a Keto Calculator

Our keto calculator helps you determine your personalized calorie and macronutrient recommendations based on your individual information. If you’re wondering how much fat or protein you should eat or how many calories, the keto calculator is an excellent tool. Some people choose not to track macros or calories, but others feel it helps them stay in ketosis and become more aware of their macronutrients. Are you eating enough healthy fats? What about protein? The calculator is there to help you figure all that out.

Find a Keto Community

Especially if you’re a beginner, you might feel like you’re pretty much on your own navigating the ketogenic diet. Having a loved one, friend, or family member providing support helps you stay on track and remain accountable. Explore the Ketogenic.com website, where you can find everything from the keto calculator to a doctor finder and food finder.

You could also join the Keto Club here at Ketogenic.com to access an impressive range of valuable keto information and resources, a panel of responsive keto experts, and a dedicated community of keto dieters.

What Keto Supplements Are Safe?

MCT oil is a safe and effective keto supplement

Not all supplements are scams. Many keto dieters take supplements, and there are certainly valuable supplements out there that can complement your ketogenic diet. Here are some of the best supplements for the ketogenic diet:

Magnesium

Magnesium relaxes tight muscles and boosts your immune system. People are often depleted in magnesium, and may not be eating enough nutritious food sources of magnesium like avocado, spinach, mackerel, and pumpkin seeds. [2] [3] Try supplementing 200-400 mg of magnesium every day. Athletes often supplement with magnesium to help prevent muscle cramps. You can find magnesium in electrolyte powders or in pill or capsule form. 

MCT Oil

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is usually made from palm oil or coconut oil. You can add a tablespoon or two of this clear oil to your smoothie or beverage or just gulp a spoonful. Your liver breaks down MCTs for your muscles and brain to use as fuel. Keto dieters often supplement with MCT to increase their healthy fat intake, which enhances your ketone levels. MCT oil has been shown to encourage satiety, so you may be less likely to give in to your cravings if you’re not so hungry. [4] [5]

Exogenous Ketones

While endogenous ketones are ketones your body produces naturally as the result of following a ketogenic diet, exogenous ketones like BHB are a class of ketone bodies you ingest as a supplement. Studies show exogenous ketones can amplify athletic performance and accelerate muscle recovery, which is why they’re popular among keto athletes. [6] It’s important to note that most studies are on ketone esters rather than ketone salts. As we discussed earlier in this article, exogenous ketones must be taken in large enough doses to be effective.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil or krill oil provides plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and reduce cognitive decline. These fatty acids are beneficial for your heart as well and provide even more healthy fats to promote ketosis. An imbalance of fatty acids is prevalent in the standard American diet, and plenty of people are lacking in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) acid. [7] Get more omega-3s in your diet by eating fish and grass-fed beef.

Other Popular Supplements

Keto dieters might also supplement with the following:

  • Collagen powder (add to smoothies)
  • Vitamin D (available in liquid or capsule and pill form)
  • Electrolyte and mineral drops and powders (add to smoothies and beverages)
  • Digestive enzymes (available in pill or capsule form)
  • Greens powder (add to smoothies)

How to Identify Safe Keto Products

Reading supplement bottle ingredients

Here’s how you can identify keto products that are safe and effective. 

Look at the Ingredients

Watch out for sugary, syrupy ingredients and BHB in amounts that are too small to be effective. You should also be mindful of chemical additives. Keto supplements from honest, responsible companies won’t have too many ingredients, and the ingredients will be simple and natural, such as magnesium, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Read the Claims

Of course, companies are allowed to brag a little about their products, but the claims should be minimal, realistic, and reasonable. If the supplement company claims the product cures some sort of serious or long-term disease or that it causes rapid weight loss or insane and prolonged energy bursts, you’ll know to stay away because it’s likely a scam. 

Legitimate manufacturers selling safe keto-approved supplements like electrolyte powders will make simple statements, such as “Our electrolyte powder is an excellent way to kickstart your day and support healthy fasting or a healthy ketogenic diet. Power your workouts with natural minerals, and don’t forget to take the electrolyte packets with you as your travel companion!” These claims clearly state the potential benefits, but they aren’t dramatic or jaw-dropping.

Check the Science

If the manufacturer is touting that their product is a scientific breakthrough, you’ll know it’s just another terrible keto scam. The science should be legitimate, and you should easily be able to source the studies to backup their statements by searching reputable sources like pubmed.gov or by simply clicking the link the company provides. For example, that same electrolyte powder company could claim that magnesium is involved in hundreds of processes in your body, including energy creation and protein formation. They could also claim that studies conclude higher magnesium intake is associated with increased muscle mass and power in women. Both of these statements are backed up by solid scientific research that’s easily accessible on the government PubMed database. [8] [9]

Look for Third-Party Testing

Choose natural, organic, and ethically wild-harvested supplements when possible. Third-party testing is another added layer of protection. Choose products certified by a third party like consumerlab.com or NSF International that assesses and reports the purity and potency of products. Don’t forget to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for consumer reviews. 

Test Their Customer Service

If you find a company you like and plan on purchasing from, you could call the customer service line with any questions you have and gauge how friendly, professional, and responsive they are. Scam companies typically have terrible customer service and are constantly changing names, phone numbers, and websites.

Ask Your Doctor

Your doctor or healthcare professional may be able to recommend good supplement companies they trust. If they’re comfortable suggesting these products to their patients, that’s a positive sign. Some supplement companies work with doctors and supply their products directly to the doctors’ practices.

Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.

References

1.

Federal Trade Commission. New Data Shows FTC Received 2.8 Million Fraud Reports from Consumers in 2021. New Data Shows FTC Received 2.8 Million Fraud Reports from Consumers in 2021 | Federal Trade Commission

2.

Grober, U., Schmidt, J., & Kisters, K. (2015). Magnesium in prevention and therapy. Nutrients, DOI: 10.3390/nu7095388

3.

DiNicolantonio, J. J., O’Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: A principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart, DOI: 10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668

5.

Mumme, K., & Stonehouse W. (2015). Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022

6.

Stubbs, B. J., Cox, P. J., Evans, R. D., Cyranka, M., Clarke, K., & De Wet, H. (2018). A ketone ester drink lowers human ghrelin and appetite. Obesity (Silver Spring), DOI: 10.1002/oby.22051

7.

Nichols, P. D., McManus, A., Krail, K., Sinclair, A. J., & Miller, M. (2014). Recent advances in Omega-3: Health benefits, sources, products, and bioavailability. Nutrients, DOI: 10.3390/nu6093727

8.

De Baaij, J. H. F., Hoendrerop, J. G. J., & Bindels, R. J. M. (2015). Magnesium in man: Implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev, DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00012.2014

9.

Welch, A. A., Kelaiditi, E., Jennings, A., Steves, C. J., Spector, T. D., & MacGregor, A. (2016). Dietary magnesium is positively associated with skeletal muscle power and indices of muscle mass and may attenuate the association between circulating C-reactive protein and muscle mass in women. J Bone Miner Res, DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.2692

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