‘Free’ weight loss seminar too good to be true?

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DENVER -- How many times a day do you get a phone call, read an email or see an ad promising you something that’s too good to be true and leaves you asking, “OK, so what’s the catch?”

You probably can’t even keep track.

So we’re now checking out those so-called free offers for you.

And we start with a “free belly fat workshop” we found advertised in the Denver Post.

“Got Belly Fat?,” it read, “learn the secret to losing weight.”

We sent Matt, a FOX31 Denver employee, to the free workshop undercover.

“I definitely have 10 pounds I could lose, but I’m not overweight,” he said.

A hidden camera captured Dr. John Erickson, who is actually a Denver Chiropractor, explaining that overweight people can usually blame their extra pounds on their liver, thyroid or adrenal glands.

Then Erickson offered a “free body analysis.”

Erickson checked Matt’s pulse and blood pressure, and that’s when Erickson found, what he called, a serious health concern.

“That means adrenal fatigue. That’s not a good situation,” Erickson said, claiming Matt’s blood pressure went down when he stood up. “The problem is when you go from laying to standing (your blood pressure) is supposed to go up. That’s a normal response, when it goes down that’s adrenal fatigue,” he said.

Then Erickson told Matt he needed nearly $3000 worth of office visits and supplements paid up front. He even offered a $500 “today only” discount.

We wanted a second opinion, so we sent Matt to medical doctor, Rafer Leach.

Leach gave Matt a physical. He also checked his pulse and blood pressure. He determined Matt’s blood pressure did not go down when he stood up—contrary to what Erickson claimed.

“There’s nothing by physical exam here, you’re essentially the model of health,” Dr. Leach told Matt.

Dr. Leach also said Matt didn’t show any signs of adrenal fatigue.

I left several message for Erickson, but my calls were not returned.

We finally caught up with him on his way into work.
I asked Erickson, “Are you telling people they have medical issues that they don’t really have?" He said, “no.”

Then Erickson went inside his office and locked the door.

About an hour later, Erickson finally called me back.

He told me blood pressure can fluctuate and he stood by his analysis of Matt’s condition and the nearly $3000 to treat it. But Erickson insists he never made a medical diagnosis.

“Our goal is to work on improving health. It was not to diagnose him,” he said.

Dr. Leach said even if Matt had adrenal fatigue, which he doesn’t, the most effective treatment shouldn’t cost a thing.

“It’s balance in life, exercise, and a good diet,” Dr. Leach said.

Erickson said he learned his treatment methods from Dr. Eric Berg, an east coast weight loss expert who believes the secret to losing weight is based on body type.

Erickson maintains Matt has a body type that reflects poor adrenal gland function.

If you feel you’ve been duped by a free offer, or would like us to check one out for you, email Heidi directly at heidi.hemmat@kdvr.com

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