To help media outlets spot false weight loss representations — "gut check" claims — the FTC has compiled a list of seven advertising claims that are likely to be a tip-off to deception.
Take the quiz to see if you can trust your gut to spot them. Misleading ads for weight loss products target consumers desperate for results. When it comes to dieting, there are no easy answers. How does that work in the day-to-day operation of your business? Before you run any ad, someone in your company already gives it the once-over to make sure it meets your standards. Is it really worth tarnishing your reputation by running a false claim? Weight loss and spotting or misleading claims can be conveyed in words and in images.
Some brazen scammers just flat-out lie. Others use eye-catching before-and-after pictures. A word about consumer endorsements sometimes called testimonials: Under the law, advertisers that choose to use endorsements have two choices: Either the results in the ad must be typical of what other consumers can expect to achieve or the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose what the typical results are.
Even for the most sinus and allergy center products, services, or programs, weight loss of more than a pound a week over a long period is unusual. As a rule, endorsements from people who claim to have lost an average of two pounds or more per week for a month or more — or endorsements from people who say they lost more than 15 pounds overall — should be accompanied by a disclosure of how much weight consumers typically can expect to lose.
Simply put, it stands out in an ad. In general, disclosures should be:. Substantial weight loss can be suggested by reference to dress size, inches, or body fat. If one of these seven claims crosses your desk, do a gut check. Consult the appropriate person in your company and think twice before running any ad that says a weight loss and spotting. Others may try to work in limiting phrases that consumers may not catch.
You can outfox the fraudsters by understanding what makes each of those claims bogus, weight loss and spotting. Fine-tuning your falsity detector will make it easier for you to spot deception when marketers try to slip a false claim past you by paraphrasing or using synonyms. Meaningful weight loss requires taking in fewer calories than you use. That means ads promising substantial weight loss without diet or exercise are false, weight loss and spotting.
And ads suggesting that users can lose weight fast without changing their lifestyles — even without mentioning a specific amount of weight or length of time — are false, too, weight loss and spotting. Some ads might try a subtler approach, say, by referring to change in dress size or lost inches, weight loss and spotting, but the effect is the same.
To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. To achieve success, weight loss and spotting, dieters have to put the brakes on at the dinner table.
If an ad says users can eat any amount of any kind of food they want and still lose weight, the claim is false. Even if dieters succeed in dropping pounds, maintaining weight loss requires lifelong effort. Without lifestyle changes, no over-the-counter product can block enough fat or calories to cause the loss of lots of weight. Losing more than three pounds a week over multiple weeks can result in gallstones and weight loss and spotting health complications. No product will cause every user to drop a substantial amount of weight.
Any ad that makes a universal promise of success is false. Weight loss is an internal metabolic process. Nothing you wear or apply to the skin can cause substantial weight loss. So weight loss claims for patches, weight loss and spotting, creams, lotions, wraps, body belts, earrings, and the like are false. Ready to test your gut reactions? Take this quiz featuring the kinds of claims advertisers may want to run on your station or in your publication. Advertising and Marketing Health Weight loss and spotting. Why sully your good name by being known as a publication or station that promotes rip-offs?
In general, disclosures should be: Consult the appropriate person in your company and think weight loss and spotting before running any ad that says a product: Causes weight loss and spotting loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise. Causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats. Causes permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using product.
Blocks the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight. Safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks. Causes substantial weight loss for all users. Causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin. I Would Like To Federal Trade Commission Headquarters: Stay Connected with the FTC.