FTC report critical of ads for diet products
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A review of 300 advertisements for weight-loss products found 40 percent had at least one false claim and 55 percent had assertions that couldn't be substantiated, according to a Federal Trade Commission report issued Tuesday.
The ads, often found in magazines and newspapers, make statements such as "lose weight in your sleep," "lose 30 pounds in just 30 days" and "eat anything you want and still lose weight."
In separate action, the FTC has charged a Canadian-based company called Bio Lab with making false claims about two products, "Quick Slim" and "Cellu-Fight."
The FTC filed a complaint against Bio Lab on September 3 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
Quick Slim is advertised as a fat blocker that uses apple pectin to control weight. It costs $70 for a bottle of 180 caplets. The FTC said promotions for Quick Slim promised rapid and substantial weight loss without diet and exercise.
Bio Lab sells Cellu-Fight on the Internet and through direct mail brochures for $40. According to the FTC, its ads falsely claim that the product is clinically proven to eliminate cellulite from the stomach, backside, hips and thighs. The FTC said Cellu-Fight does not eliminate or substantially reduce cellulite.
Bio Lab is one of a growing number of companies that locate in Canada and market to Americans. Generally, they have a post office box and a bank account in the United States.
Half of Americans are overweight, according to U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
"Overweight and obesity is the second leading cause of death, killing 300,000 people a year," Carmona said in a statement the FTC released. "There is not a miracle pill that will lead to weight loss."
FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said Americans continue to look for the easy way out, with more than $5 billion spent every year on weight-loss efforts.
The FTC is holding a workshop in November to explore the impact of deceptive ad claims on the public's health.
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