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A few of Shark Tank's business moguls have been targeted by fake advertisements for Keto diet pills products that have never appeared on the show.
Lori Grenier and Mark Cuban have directly appealed to the public to avoid falling prey to these scams.
Keto-related products have rarely ever appeared on the ABC program, and Grenier said she has "never done a Keto or diet product, ever."
Shark Tank has been a platform for thousands upon thousands of products, some of which the series' diehard fans would say seem almost too good to be true. The major commercial success associated with the show (which Inc. reports can be worth double or triple a company's revenue in a single year) has pushed more inventors, brands, and businesses to seek endorsement from one of the shows' stars. And when a product is just too outlandish to appear on the show, some entrepreneurs will simply fake an endorsement — which is the case for a whole suite of Ketogenic diet products, including some of which actually steal Lori Grenier's image to be used on social media.
As reported by fact checkers at Snopes.com, there have been many digital advertisements for Keto diet pills that purport that the product has appeared on Shark Tank. Some even claim to have been funded or personally endorsed by the business moguls featured on Shark Tank while pitching on the show. The pills are billed as a supplement to help boost weight loss for those working their way through the Keto diet, a targeted program that pushes one's metabolism to process fat (or, to reach ketosis) as the main source of energy, as opposed to carbohydrates like sugar.
But viewers may be surprised to learn that there have only been a few instances when a Keto-related product has crossed the Shark Tank stage — and none have ever secured an investment from one of the show's main "Sharks."
A brand called Nui first appeared on Shark Tank in 2018 to seek investment in their Keto-friendly cookie product that skipped added sugar but doubled down on saturated fats. During the episode, guest investor and sports icon Alex Rodriguez ended up sinking a $300,000 investment into the cookie, according to CNBC. In another episode in 2018, a brand known as the Honest Keto Diet tried seeking investment for a supplement that supposedly helped Keto dieters maintain ketosis without strictly observing required sugar limitations that the diet is famous for. The product didn't earn an investment from any of the show's stars, but blogs like The Health Radar believe the appearance allowed fraudulent businesses to start pedaling fake ads.
Fake advertisements for "Shark Tank Keto pills" have even caught the eye of the Better Business Bureau, as officials found that one product used images "taken from a separate Shark Tank episode that does not mention PureFit KETO. "Some advertisements have even gone as far to manipulate images of Greiner, the "Queen of QVC' television personality who has funded more than 35 new businesses and products on Shark Tank alone, per her website.
How widespread are these advertisements, you might wonder? They're big enough of a problem for Grenier to appeal to her social media followers to ask them to stop buying any products associated with the Keto diet claiming to have her endorsement. She also appeared on an episode of The Dr. Oz Show to address the scam once and for all, alongside a Federal Bureau of Investigation cybersecurity agent and Dr. Oz himself, who has been the source of a few fake ads as well.
"They take our images and they Photoshop our product into their hands, and they make it like we are endorsing or are behind these products, but we are not," Grenier said in a video posted to her social accounts. "I have never done a Keto or diet product, ever."
Keto diet pills have been the subject of many shopping scams (Chrissy Teigen recently shut one down publicly on Twitter) over the years. If you should come across an advertisement floating a Keto product featured on Shark Tank, it probably hasn't ever appeared on the show or earned any endorsement. The Snopes team says these Keto advertisements often allow scammers to participate in something called "dropshipping," which allows them to earn money by getting shoppers to order often questionable products from suppliers directly, earning a commission-like fee in the process. If you're truly interested in hearing more about the Keto diet and how it may help you manage your weight, start by learning about the diet's rules and how it works — and consider a meal plan to begin before discussing long term changes to your diet with your doctor.
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