Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's large waistline is as synonymous with the popular conservative as are his big opinions, big voice and big audience.
"It's just the easiest one, and it's the fastest. I'm 58-years-old. I never lost weight this fast, almost 90 pounds here since March 9, not even six months yet," Limbaugh said on his radio show recently.
The secret to shrinkage, Limbaugh said, is Quick Weight Loss Centers, a Florida-based company that combines a low-calorie diet, office visits and supplements. The supplements include protein boosters, carbohydrate blockers and appetite suppressants.
But some doctors warn that diets that promote dramatic weight loss like this -- can be dangerous and are often very difficult to sustain.
"This diet is really no different than any other quick weight loss diets," said Dr. Marie Savard, "Good Morning America" medical contributor. "To lose that much weight -- he talked about losing as much as a pound a day which is not safe -- you need to severely cut your calories. [That] starvation mode, has potentially dangerous health effects including losing fat and lean muscle mass."
Limbaugh said he's just one pound away from his goal weight of 210 pounds. When he reaches it, he has no plans of stopping.
"I have no desire to stop it. In fact, I might even stay on this long enough that people think I have a deadly disease," Limbaugh joked on this show.
Hours after Limbaugh revealed his secret weight loss weapon, the Quick Weight Loss Centers' name became the fastest-rising search on Google.
One Quick Weight Loss client said the program is undeniably effective.
"There's an appetite suppressant that you do take, which helps curb your appetite, so you don't realize that you're hungry if you're hungry," said Quick Weight Loss Client Gretchen Hernandez.
Hernandez said she lost nearly 50 pounds on the program. Her story was so extraordinary that she won $10,000 in a company-sponsored contest. "It's a different life. It makes you feel so much better about yourself. You have so much more self-esteem and confidence in yourself," Hernandez said.
While doctors said diets like this do work, often the weight loss doesn't last. That's because to maintain it, you essentially have to stay on the diet forever.
"Sustainability is the ultimate bottom line. You can't do it with that type of diet," Savard said. "What is key and is missing is exercise. He admits that he golfs, but otherwise does not exercise. That's the foundation. It builds muscle mass. That's what works. It's kind of a lifestyle pill that we don't want to swallow."
In a statement, Quick Weight Loss Center noted the need for a "maintenance program."
"A comprehensive approach to weight loss much include a maintenance program in order to ensure long-term benefits and maintenance is a part of all of our programs," the statement said.