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.
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