Ask any women's magazine, and they will tell you with sadistic glee that it is “bikini season.” But fortunately, companies have come up with a plethora of food-like products that claim to help you lose weight without all that tiresome dieting and exercising. One item, called Skinny Beach Sticks, even purports to help you get tan and lose weight. Another, SlenderPops, promises to melt the pounds off while you suck on a fruit-flavored lollipop. (Lollipops for weight loss; that's kind of like cigarettes for lung disease.)

Skinny Beach Sticks by Rodial ($60 for 14 sticks) are described as “multi-functioning food supplements that when diluted with water make a tasty citrus drink.” (Actually, they taste like watered-down apricot baby food.) They contain “vitamins, plant extract and minerals” (such as green tea extract, betacarotene) and are to be taken once or twice a day for a two-week period. In company literature, the “active ingredients” are said to help “build up the tanning pigments in the skin” while encouraging “fat combustion and [limiting] the absorption of lipids.” It sounds like a bad accident — along the lines of Violet Beauregard — waiting to happen.

The SlenderPops website is clearly on some kind of speed: “SlenderPops from Sisel are the next-generation rapid weight loss lollipop made with hoodia backed by new science in weight loss that promises extraordinary results WAY BEYOND what hoodia alone may be able to deliver!”

Hoodia is an African cactus purported to reduce appetite. SlenderPops, however, also contain extracts from a rare Saharan cactus called optunia that its makers claim is even more effective than hoodia because of its “fat-binding” and “fat-flushing” qualities.

SlenderPops ($28 for 24 lollipops), which come in grape, cherry and orange flavors, also are accompanied by a handy instruction guide, to be followed twice a day:

1. Drink an 8 oz. glass of water.

2. Enjoy a SlenderPop.

3. Drink an 8 oz. glass of water.

4. Put 25% less food on your plate.

5. Follow your meal with an 8 oz. glass of water.

Let's rewind here–“put 25% less food on your plate”?! That wasn't part of the deal!

Next thing you know, these weight loss-product companies will be recommending exercise, too–and then what's the point? If I'm too lazy to go lie outside to get a tan, I surely cannot be expected to take a walk.

LA Weekly