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“Easy ways to lose weight with pleasure”

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Weight-loss efforts have grown more prevalent worldwide. But diets are linked to perception of dissatisfaction, sacrifice and general reduction of pleasure. This paper examines the hypothesis that commercial diets attract consumers by presenting argumentation that appeals to and addresses the difficulties experienced while dieting. The objective of this paper is, therefore, (1) to identify the main promotional strategies in the marketing of commercial diets and (2) to examine if and how the goal of persuasion prevails over the reasonableness of the advice. This research presented a case-study analysis of 12 commercial diets popular in the United Kingdom. An analysis of the argumentation in the online marketing of these diets was conducted. The diets were found to have three distinct features (with or without the endorsement of gurus, with or without the sale of products and the type of weight-loss method used). The analysis revealed that the most prevalent promotional strategies focused on characterizing the diet as being effective, healthy, pleasurable, easy and promoted by a prominent nutritional expert. Additionally, some argumentation structures were observed to contain inconsistent arguments as well as fallacious arguments. Marketers of commercial diets might appeal to easy ways of losing weight that might be suboptimal to adequately inform consumers’ decision-making. A better focus on information for health promotion is needed to balance the benefits of commercial diets in light of a realistic view on how to lose weight.

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Keywords: fallacies; health promotion interventions; strategies of argumentation; weight-loss methods

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2018

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