Weight Loss Fraud – What a Surprise – Not!


FTC Cracks Down on Weight Loss Fraud

SensaOn the heels of our Slim Chance Awards, which called out the most egregious weight loss schemes of 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week charged four companies with weight loss fraud.

  • Sensa, the makers of a powder that you sprinkle to your food to “make you feel fuller faster”
  • L’Occitane, which markets skin creams that supposedly trim inches from your body
  • HCG Diet Direct, which sells hormone supplements that the FTC says have been “falsely promoted for decades as weight loss supplements”
  • LeanSpa, marketers of acai berry and colon cleanse weight loss supplements

The companies are supposed to reimburse consumers to the tune of $34 million but according to reports, several of the companies can’t pony up.  Appears they just don’t have the money.  Hmmm.

The Future for Weight Loss Claims & Gimmicks

This is part of a on-again, off-again effort by the FTC to bring accountability to the over $60 billion industry of diet products and programs. The twist this time: They’re asking the media to vet the ads they choose to accept. Fingers crossed, eyes too.

They’re also saying that in the future they will only accept double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to document the medical effectiveness of diet plans.   Let’s hope they require an adequate length of time for the studies.  That is, study participants need to be followed for a minimum of two, ideally five, years to see whether any weight they might lose on a particular plan stays lost.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case with most weight loss studies.

In the meantime, we’ll stick to our guns in saying that a non-diet, health-focused plan for healthy living is the best bet for achieving a healthy weight and staying there.  And living a fun, full life, too.

You can’t put that in a bottle.

One response to “Weight Loss Fraud – What a Surprise – Not!”

  1. Debbish says:

    It’s great to hear. I wish there was more of it here in Oz.

    Oh… and as for those dodgy ads I always see on Facebook. Grrrr…. (Twice now I’ve heard of people’s pictures being used in a misleading way!)

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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