By Margaret O’Malley, Everyday Health
What if I told you that you could lose 17 pounds in 12 weeks without changing your diet or moving more? If it sounds too good to be true, you’re right — and the federal government agrees. After aDecember study stated that no supporting evidence was found for one out of every three recommendations provided by The Dr. Oz Show, another so-called miracle product is in the news. This time it’s green coffee bean extract — you may have heard about it from Dr. Oz himself or seen the ads splashed around the Web calling it “The Dieter’s Secret Weapon.”
Consider the weapon disarmed: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yesterday that the maker of the supplement has agreed to settle charges that he and his companies deceptively touted the the weight-loss benefits of green coffee bean extract. “Lindsey Duncan and his companies made millions by falsely claiming that green coffee bean supplements cause significant and rapid weight loss,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.” Duncan’s companies, Pure Health LLC and Genesis Today, claimed that consumers could lose 17 pounds and 16 percent of body fat in just 12 weeks without dietary changes or exercise.
According to the FTC’s complaint, shortly after Duncan agreed to appear as a “celebrity nutritionist” on The Dr. Oz Show, but before the show aired, he began manufacturing and selling the product. Crafting key phrases that he would later repeat on the show, Duncan created an online marketing campaign to exploit what’s known as the “Oz effect,” or the flood of Web searches and consumer demand for weight-loss supplements after a particular episode airs. According to the FTC’s complaint, Duncan did not disclose to The Dr. Oz Show producer his relationship to Pure Health.
As a result of the settlement, Duncan and his companies must pay $9 million to refund customers who bought the supplement and stop making weight-loss claims until the extract’s properties can be substantiated by two well-controlled clinical studies. The first study on the extract, which was initially cited by The Dr. Oz Show, was considered “severely flawed“ and a FTC complaint against the study’s sponsor was settled in September 2014.
Remember: No matter where you hear it — on TV or from a friend — if a weight-loss claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are five easy ways to spot a diet scam:
1. You’ll lose weight by taking a pill — based on one “revolutionary” ingredient.
2. You’ll lose weight quickly — without dieting or exercise.
3. You’re guaranteed substantial weight loss in a short period of time.
4. It comes in a cream or a patch that you wear on your skin.
5. You’ll lose weight permanently – and never have to diet again!
Experts recommend cutting calories, eating more vegetables and fruits, and regular exercise as the best way to lose weight. To get started, use our Calorie Counter tool to keep track of your food and fitness activity – and our Meal Planner for a calorie-controlled plan that will help you safely lose 1-2 pounds a week.
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