Flat Belly Overnight

July 5th, 2016

There’s spam and then there’s conspiracy theory-slinging emails like the one a TINA.org reader recently received from American Action News with the subject: “Doctor Murdered After Making ‘Major’ Alzheimer’s Discovery?”

flat belly book

The email told the grisly story of “a beloved small town doctor” who, days after speaking out against Big Pharma, had been found shot dead in a Georgia river last June, and how since then more than a hundred doctors have been found “hung, shot, drowned, or stabbed across the U.S.” All of these doctors, the email said, believed in “a natural, affordable way to fight diseases like Alzheimer’s” that Big Pharma took pains to keep hidden from the public.

But the email also wanted to let our reader know that the unidentified doctors did not die in vain and that one of the treatments that they gave their lives for is available by clicking on one of several links in the message. And on the webpage to which these links direct users we ultimately find out what all the fear-mongering amounts to: A pitch for a dietary and exercise program called the Flat Belly Protocol System, aka Flat Belly Overnight, which sells for $37.

On the webpage, the creator of Flat Belly Overnight, Andrew Raposo, a self-described former kickboxing and boxing champion, narrates a long-winded and personal story about how his one-time suicidal sister lost 52 pounds and reversed her diabetes using his system. Along with a three-minute abdominal workout before going to bed (yet another “one simple trick” to weight loss), the system tells you what foods to eat pre-tuck in “so that you burn off fat while you sleep.” In addition to diabetes, Raposo claims that Flat Belly Overnight can help fight against Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, cancer and more.

But there are several problems with these health claims. For starters, while scientific research has linked obesity to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes, among other diseases, Raposo does not share any clinical studies linking his specific system to decreased risk of those disorders. Further, Raposo, who does not claim to be a dietician, has an interesting take on fruits and vegetables: Don’t eat them. And in the eyes of Raposo, who once again does not lay claim to any expertise on diet and nutrition, cutting back on calories in order to lose weight is “the WORST thing you can do after the age of 40.” Really? The absolute worst thing? Worse than having a Snickers for breakfast and Twizzlers for lunch?

In response to an inquiry from TINA.org, Raposo said he did not create the webpage selling his product. Raposo said he would take steps to track down the page’s actual owners to block them from advertising Flat Belly Overnight. Yet, some of the same questionable health claims that appear on the webpage Raposo said he did not make — including claims to reduce the risk of heart disease — appear on a webpage accessible through a Flat Belly Overnight Google ad.

Also, a “Brand Disclaimer” at the top of the page associated with the Google ad notes that the program’s name, “Flat Belly Overnight,” is not to be taken literally: “Program title is for marketing purposes only. Individual results will vary.”

TINA.org reached out to American Action News, which is an aggregator of conservative-leaning news, for comment. We have not heard back.

Be ever skeptical of miracle health claims, especially when they come in emails.

Find more of our coverage on weight loss here.

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