FTC Bogus Weight Loss Claims Red Flags for Consumers

By Diet Pills Reviews - Last updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

If the claim looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Despite claims to the contrary, there are no magic bullets or effortless ways to burn off fat. The only way to lose weight is to lower caloric intake and/or increase physical activity. Claims for diet products or programs that promise weight loss without sacrifice or effort are bogus. And some can even be dangerous.

These facts do not keep fraudulent advertisers from preying on consumers and reaping billions of dollars each year. While the scams may vary (for example, pills, patches, clips, body wraps, insoles or “diet teas”), the claims are almost always the same – dramatic, effortless weight loss without diet or exercise.

It takes a few minutes to become familiar with the examples of false ad claims in this web site. These claims can be conveyed in many ways, and some ads may contain conflicting statements. It is the overall message that has the greatest effect on your audience. Ask yourself, “What messages will our audience take from this ad?”  Generally, headlines, pictures, captions, and bolded text are more powerful than body copy and footnotes. These messages can also be communicated through expert or celebrity endorsements and consumer testimonials, which are often highlighted in weight loss ads.

Several of the following claims refer to “substantial weight.” This means “a lot of weight” and would include weight loss of a pound a week for more than four weeks or total weight loss of more than 15 pounds in any time period. Substantial weight loss can also be suggested by references to dress size, inches, and body fat. But, as the examples illustrate, ads may convey this message without using specific numbers.

The next time you get an ad or spot for a nonprescription drug, dietary supplement, skin patch, cream, wrap, earring or other product that is worn on the body or rubbed into the body containing claims like the ones below, Red Flag the ad:  Take it to your supervisor, and point out the claims that strike you as false.

A claim is too good to be true if it says the product will… 


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