Weight Management Claims

Marketers of weight loss products need to substantiate their claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence, or else they may face the wrath of regulators.

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

November 3, 2016

1 Min Read
Weight Management Claims

With the United States facing a growing obesity epidemic, FTC is aware that consumers who are desperate to shed weight are constantly on the hunt for effective weight loss products. But marketers of weight loss products need to substantiate their claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence, or else they may face regulators’ wrath.

While attorney Justin Prochnow said there is no black-and-white definition of what that standard entails, he noted FTC considers the gold standard a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the product or a similar formula of ingredients. Perhaps more importantly, consider Prochnow’s words of caution: FTC takes the position that no person can realistically lose weight and keep off the pounds without a healthy diet and exercise program.

Making lofty weight loss claims in testimonials is one of the areas that could land a marketer in hot water. Disclosures in testimonials are rarely adequate, an FTC official said, falling short of the requirement to clearly and conspicuously disclose what the typical person is expected to lose.

In summary, it’s crucial to avoid seemingly miraculous or outrageous weight loss claims. If the claim sounds too good to be true, it’s going to raise a red flag at the FTC—possibly resulting in a government lawsuit, adverse publicity and lost sales.

For more information on the weight loss market, ingredients or regulatory environment, click the following link to download the “Weight Management: Natural Ingredients to Help Battle the Bulge" Digital Magazine.

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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