Breaking news from The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, California:
"Corona woman's diet program given low marks
07:40 PM PST on Tuesday, December 30, 2008
By DOUGLAS QUAN
A Corona woman's Internet-based weight-loss program has been named the worst diet product of 2008 by a healthy-eating Web site.
In announcing winners of its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards, the Healthy Weight Network -- an online forum for health care professionals, researchers and consumers -- said the Kimkins low-fat, low-carb diet amounts to a "starvation diet" that deprives members of many nutrients.
"This weight obsession is causing so many problems," said network founder Francie Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.
Corona resident Heidi Diaz, founder of the Kimkins program, which charges members a fee to access the diet, could not be reached Tuesday by phone or e-mail.
A pending class-action lawsuit filed against Diaz claims that Diaz misled consumers with made-up success stories and pilfered images from a Russian dating Web site to depict as successful Kimkins dieters.
Some Kimkins members have said that they suffered hair loss, heart palpitations, weakness, nausea, muscle fatigue, forgetfulness and abnormal menstrual cycles.
Court records show that Diaz dropped her lawyer this month and is representing herself.
In an online message to Kimkins members posted a year ago, Diaz acknowledged that she had not lost 198 pounds in 11 months, as she had claimed on her site, but 100 pounds in six months. She also wrote that photos accompanying success stories were taken from another site.
"We wanted to show visitors the possibilities with Kimkins," she said.
Woman's World magazine featured the Kimkins diet program on its cover in June 2007 with the headline "Better than gastric bypass!" The magazine later apologized to readers for "having shared with you a story we can't stand behind."
As of Tuesday, the Kimkins Web site was still running, telling visitors that "many Kimkins members drop 5 percent or more of their total body weight in the first 10 days."
Members pay $79.90 to join the program.
A disclaimer tells visitors to contact their doctor before starting any diet.
Berg said people should focus less on losing weight and concentrate more on eating well, staying active and relieving stress.
Berg's Web site named as its worst gimmick of 2008 a brand of jeans that claims to release a cellulite-fighting medication when the jeans rub against the skin.
"Some of this is just ridiculous," Berg said.
Reach Douglas Quan at 951-368-9479 or dquan@PE.com"
And this is what was said about the Kimkins diet by The Healthy Weight Network in awarding Kimkins the 2008 Slim Chance Award:
"WORST PRODUCT: Kimkins diet. It must have seemed an easy way to get rich quick. Founder Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz set up a website and charged members a fee to access the Kimkins diet, boasting they could lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. “Better than gastric bypass,” there was “no faster diet,” and in fact she herself had lost 198# in 11 months. Stunning “after” photos were displayed. In June 2007 Women's World ran it as a cover story, and that month alone PayPal records show the Kimkins site took in over $1.2 million. Then users began complaining of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. This was not surprising since Kimkins is essentially a starvation diet, down to 500 calories per day and deficient in many nutrients (appallingly, laxatives are advised to replace the missing fiber). In a lawsuit, 11 former members are uncovering a vast record of Diez’s alleged fraud. They found that the stunning “after” photos, including one of Kimmer herself, had been lifted from a Russian mail order bride site. According to a deposition reported by Los Angeles TV station KTLA, Diaz admitted using fake pictures, fake stories and fake IDs, and a judge has allowed the litigants to freeze some of her assets."
Way to go, Heidi! Nothing like making headlines in your own backyard. Didn't you say any publicity is good publicity? Want to take that back?
And for those who may not be aware, Heidi Diaz DID NOT lose 100 pounds in 6 months as she claimed in her "confession" on her website. Heidi Diaz (aka Kimmer) never lost one pound and remains morbidly obese, as can be seen in the above photographs.