Hundreds of commercials, ads and billboards promise their product would make them lose large amounts of weight, safely and quickly. Life would be a lot easier if there was in fact a magic diet pill, the problem of obesity would be cured. Hydroxycut is a dietary supplement that promises fast, effective and safe weight loss in pill form. They advertise before and after photos of supposed successful customers, and not only do they promise weight loss, they also say their product will increase energy levels and significantly lower BMI.
Using the Principles of Critical Thinking, it's easy to apply the Ruling out Rival Hypothesis to this example of a claim. It is just as plausible that these individuals are working out for long amounts of time every day, strictly dieting or suffering from an eating disorder and this is what leads to their weight loss results, not the pill. Another example is that the before and after images could be the result of intense photo shopping and computer editing of photos and not actual photos of real results.
A concept from class and our textbook that also could relate to this claim and provide some explanation is the Placebo Effect. The Placebo Effect can be defined by Encarta World English Dictionary as a psychological effect of treatment that is a sense of benefit felt by a patient that arises solely from the knowledge that treatment has been given. Once again it is plausible that these consumers of Hydroxycut could be losing weight simply because they expect to be losing weight. They may subconsciously be eating less or working out more or leading a healthier lifestyle in addition to taking Hydroxycut yet they believe all results are coming from the pill because it's what they are already expecting.
As consumers we need to be conscious and not fall for the many media and advertisement traps that are not really what they appear.
The link to the Hydroxycut Website:
Before and After Photos Used in Hydroxycut Advertisements: