It’s nice to see the FTC finally cracking down on “weight loss” supplements that don’t work. Marketing Daily reports,
Three weight-loss products marketers have agreed to pay a total of $34 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they engaged in deceptive advertising. The FTC will make the funds available for consumer refunds.
The big players here are Sensa, LeanSpa, L’Occitane, and HCG Direct, with the former being hit the hardest (it’s by far the biggest). Infractions include false claims that range from misrepresenting real science, to made up web sites masquerading as news that just happened to promote their product’s ingredients, to bald-faced lying. I see three takeaways from this action.
First, things that seem too good to be true are. Look, you can’t take pills and fix all of your problems. Drugs can help with certain issues, certainly, but unless you have an illness they are always a temporary fix and they almost never work alone. Some type of lifestyle change is almost always necessary to fix a problem. Supplements are not drugs. They are, essentially condensed food ingredients. They can and do help with all sorts of things (like food) but they always (as in 100% of the time) require your help in order for them to be highly effective. Claiming you’ll lose weight, run faster, jump higher, or any other thing simply by taking a supplement without any other effort is some form of lying. Supplements can help you reach goals faster but they are only one part of the puzzle.
Second, check out your supplements. They are not created equal. The FDA (another agency that’s just coming around on the supplement industry) still does not have solid policing protocols on the supplement industry. In fact, they still have no protocols but they are in the works. This means that supplement companies have been left alone to police themselves. And they have. Reputable companies have begun banding together in an effort to stand out, instituting their own standards and protocols. Solid companies love to promote this, especially where they source their ingredients, which next to straight up lying is the biggest issue in the industry as raw material manufacturers have a tainted history as well (note animal and infant deaths in the news from Chinese-sourced products).
Finally, always look at the big picture. Supplements are one area where a larger company is probably better, especially once that’s been around a while. The bigger you are, the less you’re willing to risk and the tighter your protocols are likely to be. Also, if a company sells related products other than supplements that’s a good sign because it probably means they understand that supplements are a part of a big picture plan for health, fitness, or sports performance. A solid company understands that are a part of a health plan, and not a panacea.
Also, bravo to the FTC for this. I didn’t think they had it in ’em.
The site appears to offer a weight-loss product dubbed “FatFoe Eggplant Extract” that guarantees fast, easy weight loss with no diet or exercise. But when consumers click to buy it, they get a message from the FTC explaining that FatFoe isn’t a real product, and educating them about common false claims for weight-loss products.