Dieters Beware: Weight Loss Products May Use Deceptive Marketing

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on January 8th, 2014
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January 8, 2014

Image Credit: Federal Trade Commission

April Flowers for redOrbit.com Your Universe Online

Most New Years resolutions include wanting to become healthier, or to lose weight. There are literally thousands of products out there claiming that they can help a person achieve those goals. Not all of them tell the truth, nor do they have ethical practices when advertising.

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a law enforcement initiative stopping national marketers that used deceptive advertising claims to peddle fad weight-loss products, from food additives and skin cream to dietary supplements, along with a $34 million dollar settlement with four companies accused of using deceptive advertising practices.

According to Alison Young of USA Today, the FTC says the companies lured consumers with promises of easy weight-loss.

However, the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none, said Jessica Rich, director of the FTCs consumer protection bureau. The science just isnt there.

The FTC initiative, called Operation Failed Resolution, was aimed at stopping misleading claims for products promoting easy weight loss and slimmer bodies.

The four companies in question are Sensa, LOccitane, LeanSpa, and HCG Diet Direct. All four have been required to drop unsubstantiated claims from their ads, as well as refunding money to customers, according to Diane Bartz of Reuters.

* Sensa made claims that sprinkling its product over food would help customers lose weight without diet or exercise. The FTC charges that the claims are unfounded by scientific studies and the company used misleading endorsements. Sensa, which has had US sales of over $364 million, will pay $26.5 million to its customers. The FTC will also bar the company, its CEO Adam Goldenberg, and creator Alan Hirsh from making weight-loss claims about any dietary supplement, food or drug unless they have two adequate and well-controlled human clinical studies.

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