Meghan Markle is fighting to stop scammers using her name to sell diet pills online.
Buckingham Palace vowed to crack down on websites falsely claiming she used the tablets to get in shape.
Officials are set to act after a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed the scam.
The bogus online campaign for “Keto Weight Loss” tablets features YouTube images of Meghan before and after her pregnancy.
And a fake quote on a site called First Level Fitness says: “Post pregnancy my body had lost its shape. But, with keto body tone, I came back.”
A second site promoting the pills – branded as potentially dangerous by experts – even has Meghan claiming in an interview the Royal Family wanted to stop her “pursuing my own weight loss line”.
And cruelly one ad even has the Duchess posing with the Queen and calling the tablets her “passion project” – a phrase she actually used in a speech about the launch of her Grenfell disaster charity cookbook.
Last night a spokesman for Meghan thanked us for alerting her to the scam.
A royal source added: “This is obviously not true and an illegal use of the Duchess’ name for advertising purposes. We will follow our normal course of action.”
First Level Fitness – one of the diet pills’ main promoters – describes itself as a “one stop fitness site”. But many pages on the portal are dedicated to selling male sex drugs.
Sellers linked to it claim the “Meghan” pills “melt fat fast without diet or exercise”.
But yesterday experts warned against taking them.
Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, told us: “Nobody, but nobody, should go near diet pills advertised on the web – even when your favourite celebrity ‘endorses’ them.
“If you want to diet, it should be mandatory to seek advice from regulated professionals and use what they recommend.”
The second website involved claims that Meghan gushed about the keto pills’ benefits to a US publication called Entertainment Today, which does not exist.
The Duchess is quoted as saying of the diet tablets, costing £19.99 for 60: “All my life I’ve been passionate about taking care of my weight due to the pressures of Hollywood to stay young and look fit.
“For the last 10 years I’ve been travelling the world and sourcing organic ingredients and weight loss remedies.
“The culmination is the launch of my all-female-owned weight loss line which combines the world’s richest and most sought after ingredients at affordable and everyday prices.”
Bizarrely, the fake interview goes on: “The Royal Family is not happy with me splitting my time up.
"They made me decide on which direction I was going to focus on the future. Being so turned off by the reaction of their power move I have decided to pursue my new weight loss line and dream.”
In reality, the Duchess has not publicly discussed her weight since she began dating Prince Harry in 2016.
Before that she spoke about following a plant-based diet with plenty of yoga, inspired by her instructor mother Doria Ragland.
In 2014, Meghan told Australia’s news.au site she works out five times a week and enjoys hot yoga to keep her legs lean.
In 2013 she told Shape magazine how she loves green juice and Pilates, as well as following fitness guru Tracey Anderson’s DVDs.
She added: “I definitely try to eat as clean as possible… I avoid the things that are going to make me sluggish, but I’m also a foodie – so at the weekend all bets are off.
“If you deprive yourself of anything you’re going to crave it. So for me it’s finding that balance.”
No mention of pills, but back in the scammers’ world we found claims Meghan told royals she was dedicated to profiting from the keto tablets.
One advert was illustrated by a picture of Meghan with the Queen.
A bogus quote from the Duchess said: “We were clear from the beginning keto would be my passion project.
“I wanted to have creative control and run a business that was women centric. I didn’t feel like it was my obligation to make them (the Royal Family) feels comfortable to pursue my ambition.
“They know how much I obsess over weight loss and I put my entire heart and soul into this product to make it perfect.”
Meghan’s sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, has also been used by scammers to plug the pills.
And similar online pages falsely link Cheryl Cole and Susanna Reid to the product. Gemma Collins also publicly denied her 3st loss was down to the tablets after her image was used on a Facebook page called Keto Pure, which has 2,000 followers.
The pills take their name from the keto diet – a low-carb and high-fat plan that puts the body into a state of ketosis, helping it burn fat rather than glucose.
This state is said to boost leptin, a hormone that helps with feeling full, and decrease ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” which stimulates appetite.
Manufacturers of keto pills claim its product has this effect due to a combination of compound beta-hydroxy-butyrate and caffeine, which will speed up weight loss.
But nutritionist May Simpkins, of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine, warned: “They have latched on to the idea that ketosis can help you lose weight.
“Customers can’t be sure of the ingredients or who they are buying these pills from.
“Unless you are being very regimented with a keto diet alongside the pills you will still be taking in glucose so you won’t burn fat or lose weight.
“Suddenly plunging the body into a state of ketosis can shock it.
The digestive system can suffer and cause stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhoea.
“It also worries me this product contains caffeine as some people are intolerant and may experience headaches , weakness or anxiety.”
A disclaimer on a keto pill website admits the product is not approved by health authorities and says individual results “may vary”.
Celebs including Amanda Holden and Holly Willoughby have spoken out about their names being falsely linked to slimming pills.
And money expert Martin Lewis took Facebook to the High Court over scam adverts that had abused his name or image.
He dropped the lawsuit when Facebook agreed to launch a new bogus ads reporting tool and donate £3million to a new UK Scams Action project by Citizens Advice.
Last night First Level Fitness and other web outfits which uploaded the fake Meghan endorsements did not respond to requests for comment.
TOWIE star Gemma Collins threatened legal action after her name was linked to a supplement.
Gemma, 38, said at the time: “I will put my lawyers on to it straight away. Do not associate my name with your products when I am not behind them.”
Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden was similarly furious when scammers used her fame to push their product.
Amanda, 48, said this month: “I have been made aware that a company is using my name.
“I have not given consent for this and have no partnership with this company. This is a scam. So please be careful and do not sign up to this as they will take your money.”
Gladiator star Russel Crowe was asked by a fan: “I’ve just seen an advertorial for keto quoting you among its testimonials. Before I consider buying in, is it a legit testimonial?”
The furious 55-year-old Hollywood actor immediately replied: “No it’s not.”
Last May, pill endorsement posts appeared falsely saying This Morning’s Holly Willoughby, 38, had been worried that her weight was “getting a little out of hand”, implying she resorted to diet tablets.
BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, 56, launched an on-screen broadside when her name was dragged into a similar con.
In a Breakfast report she looked at a bogus ad bearing her testimony and exclaimed: “This is utter garbage.”
US singer Kelly Clarkson, 37, cried “fake news” when a promo emerged with her name and picture.
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