Natural Foods Merchandiser

FTC Calls On Media To Reject Bogus Weight-Loss Claims

The Federal Trade Commission launched an education campaign for the media to fight the proliferation of too-good-to-be-true weight-loss claims made by advertisers.

?Unfortunately, there are way too many ads for scientifically impossible weight-loss products in the popular media,? Timothy J. Muris, FTC chairman, said in a press release. He called on the media to screen—and reject—ads that claim a product:

  • Causes weight loss of two or more pounds a week (for a month or more) without dieting or exercise
  • Causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the user eats
  • Promises that weight loss will be permanent, even if the person stops using the product
  • Blocks the absorption of fat or calories so the user loses substantial weight
  • Promises that consumers can safely lose more than three pounds per week for a period of more than four weeks
  • Promises that diet patches, creams, wraps, earrings and other products worn on the body or rubbed on the skin will cause substantial weight loss.

The FTC reports that Americans spend $37 billion annually on weight-loss products, and that many of the products purchased are advertised with deceitful claims. The FTC has published ?Red Flag: Bogus Weight Loss Claims,? which provides examples of extreme product claims made in ads for nonprescription drugs, dietary supplements and other devices. A PDF version of the booklet is also available at

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 1/p. 12

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