Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fat's yer lot! - new regulations clamp down on dodgy weight loss ads

By guest columnist Cleland Thom
If you’re fat like me, you’ve probably been taken in by those adverts that promise miraculous weight loss.

Claims like ‘Eat what you like and lose half a stone’ sound too good to be true.

That’s because they are.

And new laws mean gullible Americans are now protected from the weight loss cowboys.

The Federal Trade Commission has banned a range of statements from TV and radio ads for pills, supplements and other dietary aids.

Advertisers cannot, for example, claim their products:

1. Cause weight loss of two pounds a week for a month or more, without dieting or exercise.

2. Cause substantial weight loss, no matter how much you eat.

3. Safely enable you to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks.

There are new rules on using endorsements, too.

The FTC have even provided an online quiz to test your claim-spotting skills. Try it – it’s real fun.

You won’t lose weight doing the quiz. But it might give you food for thought.

Cleland Thom is director of CTJT, who provide online journalism courses

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