In October 1998 the Bodywell company, based in Milan, Italy, advertised that it had an amazing weight loss enzyme that could eat a person's body fat. The adverts claimed that users could lose 3kgs in weight every 5 days by simply consuming pills, marketed as Equiba, containing the enzyme.
If you think the product is too good to be true, you're right. The company was later censured by the Italian courts for misleading advertising, but it appears the dream of weight loss without a change in diet has popped up again.
(We have been unable to establish a link between the Bodywell company in Italy and the latest round of unsolicited literature).
Azmina Govindji of the British Dietetic Association urged caution about ever buying a product that makes such extraordinary claims. 'If any weight loss product claims that it burns fat, you should be extremely sceptical.
'To burn fat these pills would have to raise your metabolic rate, and if such a product did that, you would wonder what it was doing to your useful fat stores', said Govindji.
'Any such pills are extremely dangerous and unlikely to work. I'm afraid it sounds like another quick-fix diet con.
'The only way to lose weight safely and for a sustainable period is through a change in diet and lifestyle,' she added.
If you want to lose weight and get fitter through the internet, established weight loss sites such aswww.realslimmers.com can help. They offer a personalised diet plan that last for three months for £29.49 (incl VAT), and there's full customer service care, too.
By Alison Potter