Three heavily advertised weight loss product manufacturers have been fined by the FTC for “unsubstantiated claims”, lacking scientific support. This article provides an outline for consumers on how to separate empty claims from scientifically supported product benefits.
The Federal Trade Commission recently fined three well-known weight loss pill manufacturers for deceptive or misleading weight loss claims.
TrimSpa, CortiSlim and One-A-Day Weight Smart were all charged millions of dollars in penalties for stating their products could do something that they don’t do – melt pounds.
TrimSpa, using celebrity spokesperson Anna Nicole Smith, claimed tremendous weight loss (even though Ms. Smith said most of her 50 pound reduction came from a laxative).
CortiSlim said their product could eliminate “abdominal fat” caused by stress.
One-A-Day Weight Smart said that their product overcame age related slowdowns in metabolism, preventing weight gain.
The fines were levied based on what the FTC referred to as a “lack of clinical evidence” to support these broad and sweeping advertised benefits.
According to FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras “The marketers are required to back up the claims with science…if they can’t do that, they can’t make the claim.”
So now that three well-known and heavily advertised weight loss products have been de-bunked, how do you choose a supplement that does work?
Here are a few guidelines:
#1 Choose a product that can substantiate its claims with double blind placebo studies
The marketing buzzwords used by many weight loss manufacturers today are “clinically proven” and “scientifically documented”. Both of those sound substantial. But you need to dig deeper. Consumers need to ask for specific studies and testing done that goes beyond words. The gold standard for clinical studies is the double blind placebo test, normally run for a minimum of 8 weeks. It gives unbiased feedback, in a controlled environment, about a product’s benefits. If the vendor cannot provide double blind placebo test results, don’t believe the claim
#2 Scientific testing should have been conducted at reputable, well-known medical institutions
The second question to ask is, where were these studies conducted? If the manufacturer refuses to provide the clinical test location or organization, don’t believe the claims. Harvard, Georgetown, Creighton, UC Berkeley and other recognizable and credible organizations do solid clinical testing. If you don’t recognize the testing organization, don’t accept the claim.
#3 Does the bottle have the same product as used in the clinical test
Some manufacturers point to legitimate, reputably-run clinical tests on which to base their product claims. Yet, the product they sell contains only a small percentage or lower grade ingredients used in the clinical test. This “watered down” ingredient level improves the manufacturer’s profits, but undermines even the best research conducted by the best medical institutions in the world. It just won’t perform the way it’s supposed claimed to perform. So make sure the ingredients in the bottle match the dosage, purity and strength of clinical tests.