NBC Today Show: Weight Loss Claims Under Fire

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Hi y'all. Did any of you catch the 'NBC Today Show' today? I was interviewed for a story that ran on the show this morning (2/7) highlighting the recent lawsuits filed against TrimSpa and Enviga. I was the dietitian in green (in my own kitchen mind you) talking about the fact that people just want the magic pill that doesn't require any effort to take the pounds off. I had just one fairly quick soundbite so don't blink if you watch it. But it was a pretty good story on the weight loss supplement debacle. I recommend you check it out.

(You can watch it online if you go to the Today Show's website (click here). Scroll down to "New diet claims under fire", click and it will take you to the video download. You'll see a video ad first before the story plays.)

You remember TrimSpa, right? Who could forget Anna Nicole Smith showing off her 'new body' claiming her dramatic weight loss was due to taking the diet supplement. Enviga you may not be as familiar with. Enviga is a drink put out by Nestle and Coca-Cola that claims to 'gently increase your metabolism to burn more calories'.

Both have been targeted recently for making those too-good-to-be-true claims. Last week TrimSpa and Anna Nicole Smith were named in a class-action lawsuit alleging false and misleading marketing of the weight-loss supplement. (What's scary about this case is, one of the plaintiffs is believed to be a minor. This could happen to your kid! Our kids are just as gullible to this kind of marketing as we are, if not more so.)

On Tuesday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced that his office is investigating the claim that Enviga helps people burn calories. He has demanded the company turn over any and all scientific research they have to back up the claims of calorie burning. Consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed suit against Nestle and Coca-Cola alleging their claims are 'fraudulent'.

This has happened on the heels of the Federal Trade Commission fining several dietary supplement makers, including TrimSpa, millions of dollars for making weight loss claims sans reliable scientific evidence.

This is good consumer news in favor of our protection from false advertising. But alas we are a gullible species and will continue to reach for that magic weight loss bullet. So be an alert consumer and teach your kids to be as well. You know the drill: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Nuff said.
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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