Bottles of Empty Promises
Infomercials, commercials, and magazine advertisements appear everywhere in today's society promoting products promising quick weight loss. Lines such as "lose more weight faster" appeals to the desperate customer with a desire for a perfect figure. In addition to catchy marketing lines, weight loss products are commonly marketed by being endorsed by doctors or celebrities in hopes to increase sales, and with due success as Americans spent over two billion dollars last year on weight loss supplements. This figure has increased substantially over the past years and continues to rise (Heinrich). Advertisements for these various products leads American consumers to develop unrealistic expectations of rapid weight loss that stays off. The growing industry of weight loss supplements continues to hide the other side of their products including scarce, if any, scientific evidence of effectiveness and possible dangerous side effects and drug interactions.
Weight loss supplements generally claim to work in one of several ways; either by boosting metabolism, blocking fat and carbohydrate absorption, suppressing the appetite, or a combination of these ways. Companies market products by advertising "no side effects," "all natural," and "money back guaranteed." Although from reading the fine print on a bottle of weight loss supplements the customer discovers that neither the product nor its' claims have not been evaluated or approved by the Federal Drug Administration, or FDA. As a matter of fact, any supplement containing an herbal formula never receives evaluation by the FDA since herbs are not regulated as drugs (Warner). Company advertisements claiming scientific studies have proven their product is effective typically use subjects participating in a diet and exercise program as well, thus the product was not a single factor in the weight loss. "A recent Federal Trade Commission report found that more than half of the weight-loss ads...
Cited: Heinrich, Jennifer. "Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss: Limited Federal Oversight has Focused More on Marketing than Safety." 31 July 2002. United States General Accounting Office. 19 Sep 2006.
"Infomercials from the Inside Out." Narr. John Larson. Today. NBC. WNBC, New York.
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Stanten, Michele. "Weight Loss in a Bottle." Prevention 55.5 (2003): 83. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOHost. Murray State U Libs., Murray. 18 Sep. 2006.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Losing Weight Safely."19 Sep. 2006.
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