If you've ever stopped on an informercial while channel surfing, you've probably seen some borderline-insane weight-loss ads. And, you probably wondered how those pie-in-the-sky claims could be true — legal. Turns out, you're not alone — the Federal Trade Commission is right there with you. The FTC recently went after the makers of diet supplement Sensa, a food additive (like salt or pepper) that's supposed to help users drop excess pounds. The FTC said that Sensa’s weight-loss claim is false and unfounded, and Sensa has agreed to pay a whopping $26.5 million in one of the largest false-advertising settlements on record.
But, the FTC isn't stopping there. The agency is cracking down on other misleading weight-loss products, like L’Occitane’s Almond Shaping Delight Cream (a body lotion that supposedly trims your figure), HCG Diet Direct’s hormone pill, and LeanSpa’s colon cleanse. Those manufacturers have been barred from making any further weight-loss claims until they can cough up two well-controlled, human clinical studies that prove their products work. In these cases, the FTC is also going after the media groups that ran the product ads, a move that will hopefully deter newspapers, magazines, and TV channels from running false advertisements.
The FTC provides some common-sense guidelines for consumers who want to determine whether a weight-loss supplement could work. One tip? When a diet product is packaged with the idea that you can eat whatever you want and not change anything about your lifestyle, it's definitely a hoax. It's true: The only way you can have your cake and eat it, too, is to pay the price and work up a good old-fashioned sweat. (NBC News)