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Sensa fined $26.5 million for deceptive advertising

The FTC cracks down on deceptive marketing of weight-loss products.
The FTC cracks down on deceptive marketing of weight-loss products.

The FTC has charged Sensa Products, makers of a powered food additive marketed as a weight-loss product, with failing to provide reliable scientific data to support claims of the product’s effectiveness. Additionally, Sensa marketers did not disclose that some consumers who endorsed the product in advertisements were compensated $1,000 or $5,000 for their endorsement, according to an FTC Jan. 7 press release.

Sensa Products, a California company, was ordered to pay $26.5 million to settle the FTC charges. Sensa creator and part-owner Dr. Alan Hirsch was charged with deceptive advertising for making unsubstantiated claims about the product. The FTC order bars Hirsch from making weigh loss claims for a product without conducting adequate human clinical studies.

Sensa is marketed as a flavor enhancer. When sprinkled on food, it will curb a user’s appetite, resulting in weight loss. “…the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none. The science just isn’t there,” says Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The charges against Sensa comes as part of the FTC crackdown on marketers that make misleading claims about products to promote easy weight loss. Other companies included in the FTC’s “Operation Failed Resolution” include L’Occitane, that promotes a weight-loss skin cream, and HCG Diet Direct, which sells human hormones as a weight-loss product.