Weight Loss

Recently the FTC settled charges of deceptive advertising against four weight loss companies: Sensa for $26.5 million, L’Occitane, Inc. for $450,000, HCG Diet Direct for $3.2 million, and LeanSpa LLC for $7 million.  Director of the FTCs Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, said in the FTC statement:

“Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep.  And 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.  The science just isn’t there.”

The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act requires that manufacturers of dietary supplements have substantiation that the claim being made is truthful and not misleading.  The FTC has a page just for Weight Loss and Fitness Consumer Information.

Here are a few of the claims to watch for:

  • Lose weight no matter what, and/or without diet or exercise.
  • Never diet again
  • Lose weight extremely fast
  • It’s a miracle patch, cream, pill, supplement

In order to lose weight you need to eat a healthy diet, reduce stress, get plenty of water and sleep, and exercise.  Be realistic about your weight loss goals.  Just like the recent news story about the science teacher who ate fast food for three months and lost 37 pounds did.  He carefully planned his meals, limited intake of calories to 2,000, and followed recommendations for carbs, proteins, etc.  He also walked for 45 minutes every day.   Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise or weight loss plan.

Above all if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is fake.  Here are two tips:

  • Be skeptical about promises, testimonials, and endorsements. Remember that anyone making an endorsement is required to disclose his or her connection to the company/product.
  • Research the company and product.  Look into the study that they offer in support of their claims.

The FTC put together a fun little quiz to see if you can spot a false weight loss claim.  Report fraudulent product claims to the FTC, and/or your state Attorney General.


Sensa and Three Other Marketers of Fad Weight-Loss Products Settle FTC Charges in Crackdown on Deceptive Advertising (http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/01/sensa-three-other-marketers-fad-weight-loss-products-settle-ftc)

Guidance for Industry: Substantiation for Dietary Supplement Claims Made Under Section 403(r) (6) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/DietarySupplements/ucm073200.htm)

Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0061-weighing-claims-diet-ads#whereto)

FTC Endorsement Guidelines (http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus71-ftcs-revised-endorsement-guideswhat-people-are-asking)

FTC Gut Check Quiz (http://business.ftc.gov/content/gut-check-quiz)

FTC Complaint (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1)


4 thoughts on “Weight Loss

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  1. You mean they aren’t shooting straight with us? It is more difficult these days to believe any claims from the dueling dating online services who all claim better success to the fancy insurance commercials who all say can save more money with better service.


    1. Apparently they decided to not follow the Truth in Advertising Law. Just today I saw an announcement by the FTC that they settled with 9 car dealers, and were going after a 10th, for deceptive advertising practices.

      Truth in Advertising Law (http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/truth-advertising)
      FTC announces sweep against 10 auto dealers (http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/01/ftc-announces-sweep-against-10-auto-dealers)


  2. Weight Loss is almost always such a hard journey. It requires lots of self discipline. It is so tempting to believe the products that offer “the easy” solution and so disappointing to find out they don’t do the job. Adapting a Healthy Life style with exercise and healthy food is the only right way in my opinion.


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