Kevin Trudeau - crusader or con man?

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Update: Kevin Trudeau in prison - seems he disappeared from the scene because he is now in prison - got 10 years in a court action in 2014 according to this Chicago Tribune article!

UPDATE: Article includes FTC action against Kevin for his last diet book!

Kevin Trudeau is a handsome charming man with the kind of face which says "you must believe me for what I say is true".  He is a millionaire but never has disclosed the source of his millions (although he suggests in his book that part of it, at least, was from some really good investments in real estate etc).  Few seem neutral about Kevin - either he is loved or hated.  Either he is a savior or a total crook in the opinion of the public.  He is for example, well liked in the pool or billiards community in which he founded a new type of tournament open to all pool players regardless of affiliation or experience. 

Many people have claimed that his "natural cures" books have helped them greatly.  And most of the complaints I saw about him on the internet, seem to be complaints with the fulfillment and refunding on product which is done by the telemarketing companies and not really Kevin's fault (I worked for one of those telemarketing companies and things can get pretty messed up).

I first encountered Kevin on an infomercial hawking a speed reading course.  A friend of ours bought the course and we went through it.  The reading course did help me to be able to scan articles better and get more substance out of them. But the other two people who took the course (which came on a couple of videos) say it did nothing for them (of course that type of thing takes practice also - who knows).


Kevin first, sold the Atkins diet on an infomercial.  Kevin showed us before and after photos, saying he had lost weight "effortlessly" on this diet.  Now, Kevin explains in his latest book that although he THOUGHT the Atkins diet was THE DIET, he regained his weight (about 40 lbs) as easily as he lost it. 

On Kevin's NEW infomercial, he hawked a book called "THE WEIGHT LOSS CURE 'THEY' DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT".  He claimed that this is a protocol which is so effective that you will lose weight the first day you do it. He lost his 40 lbs in a matter of a few weeks and has kept it off for a year, he claimed.  This "protocol" really works because  "It resets the hypothalmus", he explained, "so after you do this for a few weeks, you can stop and then, you can eat anything you want and won't gain the weight back."  He went on to tell us that it was discovered by a British doctor, 50 years ago and when he went to have the treatment, he saw royalty and celebrities also having the treatment.  "Can you really eat anything you want now and not gain weight," asks the blond interviewing him.  "Oh yes," said Kevin who described a large dinner which he had recently eaten at his parents' home a couple of days ago.

Kevin also claimed this "protocol" 'fixes' you so that your body gets rid of the unwanted fat like belly fat and thunderthighs, no exercise is needed and that you not only, lose weight very fast but also, you will no longer have any food cravings.

Sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn't it?  Well apparently, it might be. Too good to be true, that is.

Seems the British Doctor was Albert T Simeons and this diet based on a hormone found in pregnant women's urine which has to be injected, was quite a fad in its time until the FTC got after it.  Several studies proved Simeons claims false - people lost weight just as well when injected with a placebo.  Simeons did not, however, claim you could eat anything you wanted on this diet - he said that you could exist on 500 calories a day without being hungry:

Human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. More than 50 years ago, Dr. Albert T. Simeons, a British-born physician, contended that HCG injections would enable dieters to subsist comfortably on a 500-calorie-a-day diet. He claimed that HCG would mobilize stored fat; suppress appetite; and redistribute fat from the waist, hips, and thighs [1]. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims [2-13]. Moreover, a 500-calorie (semi-starvation) diet is likely to result in loss of protein from vital organs, and HCG can cause other adverse effects.


Kevin offered his diet book on the infomercial for $14.95 (half the printed price) and said if you ordered that, he'd throw in his other two books about "Natural Cures" for only the price of shipping, $9.95. 

(Several complaints on the internet say that people called and ordered the set and although the new book did arrive, the other two promised books never came (but their charge cards were hit for the $9.95 shipping per book). They also complain that getting a refund or action on their order has been a bit of a nightmare.)

Following is (in part) the FTC's recently filed action against Trudeau which also describes the REALITY of the diet "protocol" - quite different from Kevin's claims. 

For Release: September 14, 2007
FTC: Marketer Kevin Trudeau Violated Prior Court Order Charges Him with Misrepresenting Contents of Book
The Federal Trade Commission has charged Kevin Trudeau with violating a court order by allegedly misrepresenting the contents of his book, "The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About," in several infomercials. During the ads, Trudeau claims that the weight loss plan outlined in the book is easy to do, can be done at home, and ultimately allows readers to eat whatever they want. However, when consumers purchase the book, they find it describes a complex, grueling plan that requires severe dieting, daily injections of a prescription drug that consumers cannot easily get, and lifelong dietary restrictions. ...

In court documents, the FTC pointed out that one required phase of the protocol requires that consumers get daily injections of a prescription drug that is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for weight loss. To obtain the drug, a consumer would need to either go overseas, or find a doctor in the U.S. who will prescribe the drug for off-label use. The injections must be intramuscular, and Trudeau even instructs the dieter to do the injections under the care of a licensed physician. Besides the injections, this phase also requires a 500 calorie/day diet for 21 to 45 days, and the consumer cannot use any medicines, including
over-the-counter and prescription drugs, most cosmetics, and no creams, lotions, or moisturizers.
During the required third phase, the consumer can eat as much as they want for 21 days, but the foods must be only 100% organic, with no sweeteners (natural or artificial), no starches (bread, pasta, potatoes, white flour, etc.), no nitrites, and no trans fats. In addition, the book strongly recommends that consumers get massages, take saunas often, take homeopathic human growth hormone, and limit their exposure to air conditioning and fluorescent lighting.
The "highly recommended" first phase includes getting 15 "colonics" from a licensed colon therapist during a 30-day period, walking outside for one continuous hour each day, taking saunas as often as possible, eating six times a day, eating only organic meat and dairy, and eating 100 grams of organic meat right before bed.

Finally, the FTC’s court documents state that the protocol is never
actually completed. Consumers must follow the fourth phase of the
protocol for the rest of their lives, with severe dietary prohibitions, including: no "brand name" food; no fast food, no regional, or national chain restaurants; no food that is not 100% organic; no super highly refined sugars; no artificial sweeteners; no trans fats; no monosodium glutamate; no food with nitrites; no meat, poultry, or dairy that is not 100% organic; no farm-raised fish; and no food cooked in a microwave...

The contempt action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois.
Link to the action page

My bets are that Kevin offered his book half price because he figured the FTC would move in soon and close him down again.  Kevin seems to live from close-down to close-down, always, like the mythological Phoenix bird, rising again and making a whole lot of money in the process.

You can read more about Simeon's (and Kevin's) diet scam here:

Double blind study on Simeon's protocol  (PDF)


A couple of years ago, Kevin came out strongly for a product he says he still believes in and still uses himself, called "Coral Calcium" which promised a cure for many ailments.  Kevin apparently bought the Coral Calcium manufacturer.  But despite Kevin's claims about Coral Calcium, the FTC and the FDA did not agree and they initiated action against him to stop him from selling it.  As a result of this action, Kevin was banned from producing infomercials for life.  According to "NATURAL CURES", Kevin is at present in lawsuit against the FTC.  He cited a website where one can read the updates however, when I went there, I got a front page only - none of the "links" on the cite were "live".

In his book, NATURAL CURES, one of Kevin's gripes about the FTC action against him seems to be that he made similar (unproven) claims as does the pharmaceutical industry, and yet, he the little guy got cited while the pharmaceuticals continue to hawk their products. There is a lot of truth to this, of course. Anyone who uses natural products and supplements regularly, can attest to the fact that "big pharma" is constantly trying to shut this industry down to force people to rely on medications instead.

Kevin, a resourceful man, was back soon after his being banned from producing infomercials. He started appearing on infomercials which looked like regular shows featuring an interviewer who interviewed HIM about his latest book or whatever he was selling.  Since the "shows" interviewed others, he could not be accused of making infomercials.  Clever. Very clever.

His book, NATURAL CURES "THEY" DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT, has sold well, over 1 million copies, states "ITV", Kevin's infomercial voicepiece group.  He solved the fact that he could not find a publisher for the book by buying a publishing company called "Alliance".  Kevin explains in "NATURAL CURES"  HOW the book made the NY Times best seller list.  He bought a large number of books during a specified week (to sell to his followers)  - apparently the NY Times list is based on the number sold during any particular week. So during the specified week, Kevin's book showed a lot of sales. 

Kevin tells us in his book, NATURAL CURES that we should not believe ANYONE who has a profit motive in selling us either a drug or a natural remedy.  Whom should we believe then? Kevin answers boldly "You should BELIEVE ME!"  And then, pleads his case but wasn't real convincing to me.  Kevin became a millionaire, at least in part, in the usual manner by selling product and having a profit motive (which he explains is OK if you look out for the people and tell the truth). 

In NATURAL CURES, Kevin tells the reader that if they join his natural cures website for $9.95 a month, they can see the letters he is writing to "fight oppression" from the FDA and the FTC.  He also tells us the "government" informed him that if he mentions product brand names in his book, they will confiscate and destroy his books.  But again, if you join his website for $9.95 a month, you can obtain that information about brand names also.  Finally Kevin tells his readers that he is just interested in helping people and that's why he's writing these books.  "I have a pure heart", he states.  He makes a plea for people to join his website at $9.95 a month to help him continue "his mission".

In fact, there are large parts of NATURAL CURES which appear to be hawking Kevin's website, one complaint some folks have about this book.

It strikes me that if 1000 people join his website, that earns Kevin, $10,000 a month so Kevin's website is definitely somewhat, if not very, profitable.

Kevin claims his interest in health and natural products stems from the fact that he had a heart attack when he was in his twenties and they found he had a "mitral valve prolapse".  But Kevin claimed that his natural remedies cured that.  There is no way of knowing. The book is lacking footnotes or any type of cites for his claims.

So, here are the reasons we become ill, according to Kevin:

  • electromagnetic chaos in the environment
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • too many toxins in the body
  • stress

"There are no doctors who can tell me that these are NOT the reasons for all illness" states Kevin who writes that he has argued with doctors for hours about these points. 

Other than the electromagnetic chaos (which I believe, is already here whether we have cell phone towers or not - we are bending the waves and harnessing the waves, not creating them), his reasons may be somewhat correct.  However whether his book really addresses things like "nutritional deficiencies" which more often than not, can come from the dieting so popular in our fat phobic society, remains questionable.  His suggestions which include things like colonic cleanses, parasite and Candida cleanses, kidney cleanses and liver cleanses to get rid of the toxins, are of questionable efficacy and may pose a risk if done too often.  And using thoughts and words to "create" a "healthy body PH" (he says we should be, unlike the cockroach, alkaline) and to repair defective genes is not only totally unproven in any kind of science (although it sounds good to many folks), it also poses some serious theological problems for those of the Christian bent. 

If Kevin's theories were correct, then cave man would have lived a long life since there were no toxins in the air and food at that time and I suspect, little stress other than finding one's next meal.  There were no cell phone towers or microwave ovens or TV sets or computers either and Mr and Mrs Cave man exercised a lot since there were no cars.  Yet the lifespan of the cave man was very short - averaging about 30-35 years. 

Also, if Kevin's theories were correct about all these "modern" factors causing all disease, then how would he explain the fact that scientists have found, in examining bones of ancient man, that there was not only evidence of man's intervention to cure disease like "trepanation" (the cutting of a hole in the skull to relieve ailments of the head and body) but also evidence that the older members, even those in their 30's did suffer from ailments such as osteoarthritis!

Kevin assures his readers that he's NOT a doctor and he tells us to seek a homeopathic or alternative medical care practitioner, and Kevin follows his own advice, he says, as he has a cadre of homeopaths he sees regularly.   According to NATURAL CURES, Kevin follows the advice in the book himself, having a colonic regularly, getting de-magnetized regularly (there is apparently a device to do this, he states) and more. He also wrote that he had given up smoking cigars a year before he completed NATURAL CURES but in a later newsletter (some of which he includes in NATURAL CURES as an appendix) he admitted that what he thought was the ultimate smoking cure did not work for him and he was smoking again. However, he added, he is now researching a cure for smoking which shows promise.

In our paranoid post 9/11 society, Kevin's ardent distrust of the government (which seems to mostly be about them objecting to his unproven claims) will tickle the ears of many.  I myself, found it rather laborious as I got to the middle of the book. One wants to say "OK Kevin, I can see you distrust the government but let's get on to the subject matter of the book".

The last part of the book is a long chapter about a friend of his trying to hawk a bread which supposedly made people "lose weight" effortlessly and how the FTC and the govt in general was harassing this friend.  I found the account mildly interesting but did not feel too much sympathy for the friend because he appeared to be hawking a product, made very cheaply and probably sold for a huge profit, a product about which I was as skeptical about as apparently were the govt agencies.  His friend was a millionaire entrepreneur.  Though I understand that many pharmaceuticals not only do not deliver but cause unnecessary risk to the consumer, this does not mean, adding more fake "cures" to the mix will solve anything.  The so called "diet bread" seemed more of a cash cow than anything else - cash from a diet hungry public who will buy ANYTHING with the most remote promise of causing a weight loss.

I personally, found NATURAL CURES very interesting.  Perhaps because Kevin does tell us a lot about himself and he is one interesting character.  The cures in there were not anything new to me (the usual homeopathic remedies) however, I disagree with some of his critics that because he doesn't mention brand names, people cannot follow his advice. It's easy enough to use Google to find products he suggests.

So is he a con man or a crusader?  After his latest diet scam, he appears to be a con man.  Apparently the judge agreed in a court action and sentenced Trudeau to 10 years in prison, in 2014.


1. watching Kevin on infomercials for years
3. Trudeau's Natural Cures website is down for obvious reasons