I’m glad to see that the courts agree with me. Sensa Products, LLC and its parent corporation Intelligent Beauty Inc. has agreed to pay more than $900,000 to settle a false advertising lawsuit. This lawsuit was filed in Santa Cruz County by nine California district attorneys for the Counties of Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said the lawsuit was necessary because the federal government does not regulate the dietary supplement market.
“Unlike prescription medication, dietary supplements do not need to be pre-approved by the FDA before they can be sold to consumers. A dietary supplement can be sold in the United States without prior government approval or proof that it is either safe or effective for its intended use.”
Sensa became the subject of a Statewide Nutritional Supplement Task Force investigation after it made claims that its weight loss effects had been clinically proven in the “largest clinical study” ever conducted, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. An independent expert concluded that the study did not meet scientific or competency standards. As part of the settlement, Sensa and Intelligent Beauty are permanently prohibited from making claims about the effectiveness of their product without first having verifiable, reliable scientific evidence.
The companies are also forbidden from continuing to charge customers for shipments they sent customers who had requested that their orders be cancelled and from enrolling customers in an automatic shipping program without letting customers know about their obligations to the program.
I’ve been warning against this “sprinkle diet” for quite awhile:
I certainly hope we’ll see fewer commercials for Sensa, especially like this one with the dancing women in white bikinis.
Maybe we’ll finally see people come to their senses about Sensa. Will this help? I’m not sure.
Dr. Oz recently addressed the Sensa debate on his show: Sensa- Sensation or Senseless? And I was glad to see him give Louis Aronne, MD and registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick an opportunity to challenge some of the claims. But I’m afraid it also gave Dr. Alan Hirsch a national platform to make his pitch. Did the voice of reason win out or was Dr. Hirsch more convincing? What do you think?
The term certainly garners a lot of attention on a label. Apparently, up to 60 percent of shoppers who see an antioxidant claim on a product label will buy it for that reason.
Yet many experts say antioxidants are misunderstood and often over hyped. It’s true that fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Even popcorn and coffee contain antioxidants. And that’s all good. But maybe it’s become silly to fight over who has more.
The bragging rights all come down to a little test called ORAC, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It’s an analysis that’s done in a test tube to estimate the potential antioxidant levels in foods. It measures free radical scavenging activity and the inhibition of oxidation. The test is valid, but maybe it’s being misused, says Darryl Sullivan who works in a lab that conducts ORAC tests. John Finley, PhD, professor of food science at Louisiana State University, believes ORAC testing emphasizes the wrong thing, but recognizes that consumers are enamored with antioxidants. ”As scientists we need to understand that the true benefit of these materials go beyond antioxidant activity,” he said. ”But ’antioxidants’ is a catchy term. It sells well.”
One major indication that the antioxidant craze could be waning is the decision that USDA made to remove the ORAC Database for Selected Foods from its website. That’s kind of a big deal, I think. This was a large chart that listed the ORAC values of lots of different foods which was maintained by USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory. But now it’s gone. The explanation on the USDA site says the decision was “due to mounting evidence that the values indicating antioxidant capacity have no relevance to the effects of specific bioactive compounds, including polyphenols on human health.”
The explanation goes on to say: ”The data for antioxidant capacity of foods generated by in vitro (test-tube) methods cannot be extrapolated to in vivo (human) effects and the clinical trials to test benefits of dietary antioxidants have produced mixed results. We know now that antioxidant molecules in food have a wide range of functions, many of which are unrelated to the ability to absorb free radicals.”
So what does this all mean?
The ORAC test measures what happens in a test tube, and this value may not necessarily reflect what happens in the body. The natural compounds in fruits, vegetables and other foods may have antioxidant properties, but the true benefits may have nothing to do with its role as an antioxidant or its ability to fight free radicals. Instead, the natural compounds in foods go to work in other ways to protect our health. It could be about fighting inflammation. So putting all the focus on anti-oxidation doesn’t provide the true picture of the mechanism or the specific way these foods are beneficial.
The real workhorses in fruits and vegetables are the phytonutrients or phytochemicals, such as polyphenols and flavanoids. And trend tracker Elizabeth Sloan believes we’ll soon see our lexicon change from antioxidants to phytochemicals.
So what should you do?
Continue to eat lots of plant-based foods that are rich in antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables.
Don’t get hung up on who has the highest ORAC score, all are good and more isn’t necessarily better.
Get your antioxidants naturally, instead of seeking out antioxidant-fortified foods or antioxidant supplements and super juices
Vary your colors to get a range of phytonutrients, the natural plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory and other benefits
It seems there’s a always a hot new “miracle” food or supplement that sweeps the country. Acai used to be the front runner. Now it appears to be raspberry ketones. Instead of goji berry, it’s African Mango. Saffron extract is the new Sensa.
Now there’s a new crop of products promising miraculous fat-burning, belly-blasting results. Increasingly these miracle products are getting their big break on the Dr. Oz show. Viewers hang on to every word Dr. Oz says and run out immediately after a convincing segment to buy the supplements touted on the show. Marketers of these pills love to say “endorsed by Dr. Oz” and his quotes are frequently cited in the ads for these products. You can find websites now that feature all the supplements that Dr. Oz promotes, a search on Amazon for “Dr. Oz supplements” results in 1,406 listings, and other online supplement sellers categorize their pills according to Dr. Oz recommendations – such as Dr. Oz Weight Loss.
Perhaps no one has helped fuel the sale of diet supplements more than Dr. Oz. And that’s a shame. Dr. Oz is a tremendous communicator and he’s brilliant at translating technical topics into simple, consumer-friendly language. And how wonderful to have a popular talk show that’s all about health. Unfortunately, his focus has shifted to the glorification of “miracle” pills and his viewers are gobbling it up. Before you’re tempted to spend your hard-earned money on the next hot thing, here’s what you need to know.
What it is: Natural compounds that give red raspberries their distinct aroma. Primarily used in the U.S. as a flavoring agent, they’re now bottled up in a pill (typically produced synthetically in a lab) and sold as a weight loss supplement.
What’s the promise: Dr. Oz described raspberry ketones as a “revolutionary metabolism booster that you’ve never heard of” and a “fat burner in a bottle.” Marketers sell raspberry ketones in pill and liquid form, claiming that the supplement can stimulate fat loss, inhibit fat absorption and increase fat burning or oxidation.
What you should know: No human clinical trials have been conducted. The claims are all based on animal or test tube studies from Asia, where raspberry ketones seem to have gotten their start as a weight loss supplement. It’s important not to jump to major conclusions based on what happens in the body of a rat or inside a test tube. Most of the supplements add other ingredients, such as caffeine, that provides a stimulant effect. Read more from Appetite for Health: 5 Things Dr. Oz Didn’t Mention About Raspberry Ketones.
Here’s the segment that got the raspberry ketone frenzy started:
What it is: A supplement made from extracts of the seeds of the West African mango known as Irvingia gabonesis.
What’s the promise: The pills are promoted as fat burners, especially belly fat.
What you should know: A study in Cameroon funded by a supplier of African mango supplements did show improvement in body fat among individuals consuming the pills compared to a placebo, but it is far from a miracle pill, particularly if you do nothing else besides take this pill (as promoted on the Dr. Oz show). You’re better off eating real fruit (like the lean West Africans do).
What it is: A pill or chew made from extracts of the culinary spice saffron, known as one of the most expensive spices in the word.
What’s the promise: Touted as an appetite suppressant, the supplements claim to control compulsive eating by affecting serotonin levels in the brain.
What you should know:
One study seems to be the basis of the meteoric rise in popularity of saffron supplements, although there are better ways to promote satiety with whole foods rather than pills, and more important things to do if someone is dealing with emotional eating (such as make an appointment with a registered dietitian who specializes in this area).
Here’s Dr. Oz talking about saffron extract. Just listen to the number of times he says “miracle,” “breakthrough,” and “revolutionary.”
What’s especially troubling to me is that this type of sensationalism reinforces a “fix it with a pill” mentality. Instead of encouraging you to eat, for instance, more fresh raspberries and mangoes, the focus is on popping a pill of these foods. And typically it’s a small extract of the real thing with other ingredients added in — so who knows how much of this “miraculous” ingredient you’re even getting. Plus, often it’s a synthetic version of the compound made in a lab. Yes, there are lots of convincing testimonials that get people excited, but these “success stories” on TV or in an ad, are not a sufficient substitute for science.
Steven Charlap, MD, founder of MDPrevent, is so incensed with what he sees going on every day on the Dr. Oz show that he dissects the dialogue on his blog. He’s been criticized for taking on Dr. Oz, but here’s his response:
The other day I received a comment in response to something I wrote about the Dr. Oz show. It read, “You don’t challenge a wizard.” It was an obvious cross-reference between the fictional Wizard in the Wizard of Oz and Dr. Mehmet Oz. In response, I impulsively wrote, “He’s not a real wizard. He just plays one on TV.” After writing my response, I started thinking about the similarities behind the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz and the actual Dr. Oz. Unlike the Wizard, Dr. Oz does not hide behind a curtain and use smoke and mirrors to impress his audience. Instead, on an almost daily basis he blatantly engages his audience with new secret cures and potions. However, both characters do pretend to be something they are not. The Wizard worked hard to create the impression that he was all powerful, which turned out to be an illusion. Dr. Oz pretends to have magic pills and miracle cures, to have powerful remedies to jump-start diets and create lean bellies, to make wrinkles disappear and treat dementia, which also all turn out to be illusions. So maybe we would all be better off if he actually hid all those supplements behind a curtain. They say that life sometimes imitates art. Has there ever been a better example than the Dr. Oz show?
All of this chasing the next big “breakthrough” and “miracle” is distracting. I agree with Dr. Charlap:
Almost none of the pills Dr. Oz recommends have any real value. There are no magic, miracle, or power pills one can take to stay healthy, and that task mostly remains with us as individuals. Be grateful that you have the ability to impact your health. The alternative may be far less pleasant.
Once again, it’s the magical thinking that bothers me. Sure, there could be beneficial supplements and aids for helping you lose weight, but these are not miracles in a bottle. It’s a disservice to all of Dr. Oz’s loyal viewers to make it seem like a pill is all you need. It makes everything else seem less important — like eating real foods, being active. I just wish Dr. Oz would channel his brilliance in getting America to cook more at home and to look to whole foods for the miracles. The answer doesn’t lie in a bottle. Dr. Oz is helping to sell a lot of supplements. I just wish he would inspire people to be just as enthusiastic about what they eat.
What new products have you been noticing in the marketplace? Here’s an overview of the latest trends identified by Prepared Foods , along with some of my own observations.
Shots for Health
Promises of better health and more energy are coming in smaller packages these days. First it was energy shots. Now it’s all about health in a mini bottle. Lifeway Foods Inc. released a line of shots that claim to improve immunity, digestion and heart health. The 3.5oz Lifeway BioKefir shots have 60 calories each and promise more than 20 billion units of live and active probiotic activity, which the company says is twice the amount found in other regular kefir varieties.
Latest Buzz Words: Pure and Artisan
The simplicity trend has sprouted a new word that is increasingly found on food labels: pure. I guess the word is intended to conjure up images of real, less processed, natural and “clean” (another big buzz word). Some examples include Pure Bars, Crystal Light Pure Fitness, Silk Pure Almond Milk and even the chewing gum I just bought Dentyne Pure (although that’s more about purifying your breath).
The term “artisan” is also coming on strong. It’s not so much a nutrition-focused claim, but the description might have a bit of a health halo — helping to position the product as close to homemade, local or prepared with care.
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is adding the moniker to its Fresh Express line of salads. This four-unit line aims to “bring the taste of the four seasons with ingredients cultivated by artisanal growers.” The packaging touts “grown in small crops” to communicate the artisanal approach.
The varieties include some lesser-known greens, such as the Sierra Crisp lettuce with mild red baby butter lettuce (complemented with herbs parsley and chervil). The Wild Rocket Zest salad blends peppery Wild Rocket (a variety of arugula) with such complex greens as mustard and Tatsoi.
Artisan is a term that’s now all over Starbucks. Have you noticed? That’s how the coffee chain describes its breakfast sandwiches and snack plates — including this fruit, nut and cheese artisan snack plate.
The increased interest in health and wellness has not diminished the demand for indulgences, and products that can combine the two trends have proven particularly successful. Yogurts and yogurt drinks, for instance, have seen U.S. sales grow 32% since 2004 to reach $4.1 billion in 2009.
To capitalize on the popularity of yogurt fruit parfaits in foodservice outlets from McDonald’s to Panera Bread, Breyers Yogurt Company has introduced YoCrunch Fruit Parfait, which the company claims will provide a foodservice-like layered fruit, yogurt and granola parfait. Available in blueberry, peach and strawberry varieties, the treat has a visible layer of fruit, topped by vanilla low-fat yogurt and a top layer of crunchy granola, but it has a calorie count of 120 calories, well less than the 310 found in Panera Bread’s yogurt fruit parfait.
Whole Grain Gains
Americans fall far below the recommended amounts of whole grains and many food companies are reformulated products to help close this whole grain gap. Kraft Foods, for instance, will double the amount of whole grain currently found across its Nabisco portfolio. Original and Reduced-fat Wheat Thins have already seen their whole-grain content rise to 11g, from 5g per 31g serving. Between now and 2013, Nabisco will increase the whole-grain content of Original Wheat Thins to 22g (from the current 11g), Wheat Thins Toasted Chips to 17g (from the current 5g) and Honey Maid Original Graham Crackers to 20g (from the current 5g).
Tell me if you’ve tried any of these products, or let me know what trends you’ve spotted lately.
Maybe we’ll finally get rid of all the deceptive Internet ads for acai berry supplements featuring phony endorsements attributed to Oprah and Rachael Ray. Maybe people will save their money and not put their faith in a tiny purple Brazilian berry.
The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Central Coast Nutraceuticals, a Phoenix-based company that markets acai berry weight loss supplements and colon cleansers. The agency announced the lawsuit in Chicago today and a U.S. district court has ordered a temporary halt on the Internet sales scheme that allegedly scammed consumers out of $30 million or more in 2009 alone through deceptive advertising and unfair billing practices. The FTC will seek a permanent prohibition.
Since 2007, victimized consumers have flooded law enforcement agencies and the Better Business Bureau with more than 2,800 complaints about the company, according to the FTC. Last year, the Better Business Bureau named fake “free” trial offers – including those for acai supplements offered by the defendants in this case – as one of the “Top 10 Scams and Rip Offs of 2009.”
“Too many ‘free’ offers come with strings attached,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “In this case, the defendants promised buyers a ‘risk free’ trial and then illegally billed their credit cards again and again – and again. We estimate that about a million people have fallen victim to this scam. As if that weren’t enough, there were fake endorsements from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray for a product that didn’t work in the first place.”
The FTC charged Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc. two individuals (Graham D. Gibson and Michael McKenzy) and four related companies with multiple violations, including deceptively advertising AcaiPure, an acai berry supplement, as a weight-loss product, and Colopure, a colon cleansing supplement, as an aid for preventing cancer. The companies affiliated with Central Coast Nutraceuticals are iLife Health and Wellness LLC; Simply Naturals LLC; Health and Beauty Solutions LLC and Fit for Life LLC.
The FTC complaint alleges that to sell AcaiPure, the marketers made dramatic claims on their website, including:
“WARNING! AcaiPure Is Fast Weight Loss That Works. It Was Not Created For Those People Who Only Want To Lose A Few Measly Pounds. AcaiPure was created to help you achieve the incredible body you have always wanted …USE WITH CAUTION! Major weight loss in short periods of time may occur.”
In pitching Colopure, the defendants cited frightening statistics about colon cancer, while promising that their product would get rid of consumers’ “excess weight and toxic buildup.”
The marketers also deceived consumers about their purported “free” or “risk free” trial offers, and about the charges and refund terms consumers could expect, according to the FTC’s complaint. The FTC also alleges that the marketers made numerous additional unauthorized charges to consumers’ credit and debit card accounts.
The alleged deceptive practices include:
Falsely claiming that using AcaiPure could lead to rapid and substantial weight loss. Consumers were told that “[m]ost consumers taking AcaiPure report weight loss anywhere from 10-25 pounds in the first month.”
Making unproven claims that AcaiPure’s weight-loss claims are backed by “double-blind, placebo-controlled weight loss studies.”
Deceptively claiming that Colopure could help prevent colon cancer because it would “cleanse your entire system,” “detoxify your organs,” and break down and remove “toxic waste matter which may have been stuck in the folds and wrinkles of your digestive system for years and years.”
Falsely claiming that celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray have endorsed products marketed by Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc. In marketing AcaiPure, the defendants declared on their homepage, “Acai Berry rated #1 SUPERFOOD by Rachael Ray.” A photo of Oprah appeared on the homepage, next to a quote that read in part, “Studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world!” In fact, in declarations to the FTC, both celebrities denied endorsing AcaiPure.
Deceptively claiming that the marketers will provide full refunds to all consumers who request them, and that consumers who paid a nominal fee for a “free” trial supply of supplements would incur no risks or obligations. In fact, many consumers found it all but impossible to avoid paying full price for the products, typically $39.95 to $59.95.
Failing to adequately disclose that consumers would be automatically enrolled in a membership program and charged for additional monthly supplies of a product.
Failing to adequately disclose that consumers would be automatically charged for items other than the trial product unless they opted out.
Failing to adequately disclose the terms and conditions of trial programs, membership programs, and additional charges.
Making numerous unauthorized charges to consumers’ credit and debit card accounts.
Debiting consumers’ bank accounts on an automatic, recurring basis, without obtaining proper preauthorization. The unauthorized debits violated the FTC Act as well as the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E, according to the complaint.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has reason to believe that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law.
I’ve been concerned about the aggressive, misleading acai ads for quite some time. Maybe you remember my previous posts, including Dirty Dealings of a Brazilian Berry. So I was thrilled to see this action today by the FTC. It’s a drop in the bucket — so many other supplements are making outrageous claims. But it was a little victory and I’ll take that.
Taylor Swift told Access Hollywood earlier this week that she’s not getting on board with the detox trend that many of Hollywood’s starlets are trying.
“I don’t really do anything [like that],” Taylor said at the Costume Institute Gala Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday night in New York City when asked if she’d ever taken part in a detox cleanse.
Good girl. Wish other celebrities shared her point of view.
But that’s not the case. Juice fasts and detox diets are all the range — and their popularity is being fueled by Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyonce, Donna Karan and other bold-face names.
The latest to join the ranks is Salma Hayek. So disappointed to see this respected actress get behind a new company called Cooler Cleanse. It turns out that Salma is a veteran of the juice cleanse and has used the regimens to prepare for big events — from walking the red carpet to walking down the aisle (which she did recently).
Salma paired up with long-time friend and juice master Eric Helms (no relation to me!), the founder of Juice Generation, to bring her detox diet right to your door step. The products are currently only available in New York, but they’ll be shipping nationally in June.
For $58 per day, you can have the fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices delivered every morning for a 3, 5 or even 30-day detox. The varieties include a green juice with cucumber and spinach, a grapefruit mint, a red juice with beets and apples, carrot juice, young coconut water, and nut milks sweetened with dates. The company also offers a four-course raw food cleanse made by a vegan chef for $62 a day.
The Cooler Cleanse site features all sorts of praise for the program, including an article that quotes Vogue staffers who say they use the drinks to get in shape for the summer “with visions of string bikinis, exposed thighs and cropped tees…”
I much prefer this article inVogue magazine that does a great job of debunking some of the myths about detox diets.Here’s a summary of how they’ve broken down the claims and busted them wide open… [click to continue…]
Ok, did I call this one, or what? I’ve been talking about the troubling supplements from Jillian Michaels for quite awhile. In my original post, I wrote about my concerns — as well as my disappointment that “America’s Toughest Trainer” is now telling you to pop a pill to burn that fat. Now it’s coming back to bite her in a major way.
If you’re keeping score at home, this is the third time that Jillian has been sued over her diet pills. This time there are allegations that they contain a “potentially lethal” blend of ingredients. I know when I wrote about the first time Jillian was sued, some people left comments that the lawsuit was crazy — maybe so. It does all come down to personal responsibility. But I do think this lawsuit helps raise awareness of the problems with these diet pills — especially these so-called fat burners.
In the class action lawsuit filed earlier this week in L.A. County Superior Court, Kathy Hensley claims “The Biggest Loser” trainer “sold her proverbial soul to the devil” by teaming up with the companies that created her fat burner.
Hensley claims Jillian and those companies (Thin Care and Basic Research) failed to disclose that the main ingredients of the “Jillian Michael Maximum Strength Fat Burner” allegedly combine to make a “toxic cocktail.” In the lawsuit, Hensley claims one of the pill’s ingredients — citrus aurantium — is “potentially lethal” and known to cause high blood pressure and serious cardiac problems in certain individuals.
The pills also contain coffee bean extract, guarana and synephrine — so they could definitely keep you jittery all day (but certainly not enough to melt away fat).
Hensley filed the class action lawsuit against Jillian and the pills’ makers, and is suing for less than $5,000. Two lawsuits ago, Jillian issued a statement that claims her pills were vetted by experts and she’s confident she’ll prevail in court.
OK, so you know how I feel about Jillian Michaels getting into the diet pills business.
Now maybe she’s regretting that decision. The Associated Press is reporting that the “Biggest Loser” trainer has been sued for alleged false advertising by a woman who claims she was duped into buying her diet supplements.
Christine Christensen of Lake Elsinore, Calif., is seeking a class-action lawsuit that claims she bought a product called “Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control” last month and that it has failed to lessen her appetite or cause her to lose weight as advertised.
Michaels’ picture and endorsement appear on the packaging, touting her as “America’s Toughest Trainer.” The product and Web site advertising include the claim: “Two Capsules Before Main Meals and You Lose weight….That’s It!”
I do think it’s irresponsible to make anyone believe that this is all you need to do to lose weight. Really, that’s it? She goes on to say “…when you take this compound before main meals, you eat less…but the best part is, you won’t even know it. What could be simpler!”
And what is it about the $39.99 bottle of pills that will really do the trick? The pills include a “proprietary blend” of :
yerba mate (leaf) extract
guarana (seed) extract, standardized to 10% caffeine
damiana (leaf) extract
coffee (bean) extract – standardized to 70% natural caffeine
ginger (root) powder
kola nut (seed) extract – standardized to 12% caffeine
white willow (bark) powder
cocoa (seed) extract – standardized to 4% theobromine
jujube (seed) extract
shisandra (fruit) extract
Chinese skullcap (root) extract – standardized to 30% flavones as baicalin
To me, this is simply a massive dose of caffeine with a bunch of stuff that may sound good.
“Ms. Michaels knows better — taking two pills before eating does not miraculously cause weight loss,” the lawsuit states. Christensen’s suit seeks unspecified damages that are not expected to total more than $5 million, according to AP. Her filing states she has “struggled with weight loss her entire life” and bought “Calorie Control” because of Michaels’ endorsement.
You may debate the merits of class action lawsuits like this, but it is troubling that a lot of people are taking the advice of Jillian Michaels because they trust her — and they’re being mislead. Of course, nothing you pop in your mouth is going to melt away pounds without any effort. And nothing in these pills will likely even curb your appetite.
It’s a shame that these pills can make these claims — put it’s a double shame that “America’s Toughest Trainer” is trying to convince people that these claims are true.
Well now the multilevel marketing company is getting into children’s nutrition. The new business is called Snazzle Snaxxs.
“Snacks and drinks that will help your kids, not hurt them.”
You can view the entire sales pitch on SlideShare. Or click here for a copy of the sales brochure. These new snacks include BBQ seasoned and Sour Cream and Onion Snazzle Twissters, chocolate bars called Snazzle Barzzs, Cinnamon Apple Protein Puffs (a non-whole grain cereal called SnazzlePuffs), and a variety of fortified beverages, including a grape drink and chocolate vitamin drink (called Snazzle Stixxs and Snazzle Paxxs). Looks like kids are supposed to eat up to 7 of these snacks a day — “replacing the bad food with the scientifically designed nutrition in great-tasting Snazzle Snaxxs.”
The Snazzle Snaxxs starter kit — one box each of the 11 different products — costs a whopping $248. You do get a shaker to mix up the drinks and a copy of Dr. David Ludwig’s book “Ending the Food Fight.” The book is the best thing in the kit.
You would think by the way the brochure is worded that Dr. Ludwig — an esteemed expert in childhood obesity at Children’s Hospital Boston– has granted his blessing on the products. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I contacted Dr. Ludwig by email and he confirmed that he is NOT endorsing these products. He is NOT working with The Trump Network and is NOT not receiving any compensation from the company. In fact, these are exactly the types of products that Dr. Ludwig is trying to get kids to avoid.
“Nutritionally speaking, our kids have gotten in with the wrong crowd,” Ludwig writes in Ending the Food Fight. ”Instead of eating foods that nourish them and help them maintain a healthy weight, they have befriended fake food.”
Well, I don’t know anything more fake than these Snazzle Snaxxs. Yes, they may attempt to add in nutrients, along with some odd enhancements — such as dried broccoli and onion in the grape drink. But these products are far from real food. They even try to get their candy bar to look good. They compare the nutrition information to a candy bar nearly twice the size (of course your bar looks like it has fewer calories and sugar — it’s SMALLER). And here’s a look at the hefty ingredient list:
Protein blend (whey protein isolate, soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed gelatin, casein, calcium caseinate, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate), sugar, fractionated palm and palm kernel oil, organic cane sugar, maltitol syrup, cocoa powder, glycerin, unsweetened chocolate, water, natural flavors, sunflower oil, enriched flour, mono- and diglycerides, modified milk ingredients, milk mineral concentrate, soy lecithin, fructooligosaccharide, vanilla extract, maltitol, pectin, salt, sodium bicarbonate, sodium phosphate, sodium citrate, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin.
The Trump Network is gearing up for a major blitz to entice parents into buying these foods for their kids. You can read more by visiting the blog created by the clinical director of The Trump Network, a naturopathic physician named David Maccallan.
I am not writing this article because I’m vehemently opposed to multilevel marketing (as I’ve been accused by some of the Trump distributors). It’s the products themselves. I don’t care how these snacks are being sold, I just don’t want parents to think that they’ve found the answer to improving the diets of their children.
These are expensive products, fake products and not what we need. Let’s help parents make smart, affordable choices for their kids — with an emphasis on whole foods, naturally nutrient-rich foods. Let’s hope parents will get their nutrition advice from qualified health professionals, including registered dietitians, instead of distributors who are financially motivated to move up in the pyramid.
Enough already with detox and cleanse. You can hardly escape these words.
No wonder, research by the trend tracker Mintel shows that this concept has had explosive growth. There’s been a tremendous increase in the number of products making detox claims, especially in food and drink. Take a look at these stats:
Food + 108%
Healthcare + 34%
Beverages + 19%
(Comparing full-year 2007 with Jan.-Sept. 2009, Mintel Global New Products Database)
Just doing my own little research on Amazon.com, I found 316 detox diet books. One of the latest is Detox Diets for Dummies (Wiley 2010). You know a trend has really gone mainstream if there’s a Dummies book about it.
There’s also The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox that promises a weight loss of 21 pounds in 21 days. Read more about this liquid “cleansing” diet on WebMD. The article does a great job explaining the claims and raising concerns about this approach.
Some of the most popular detox-related books have been written by Ann Louise Gittleman, who is out with her latest Fat Flush For Life.
Supplement companies have been working over time to bring new detox and cleanse products to market. And that includes the diet pills that are being peddled by The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels.
I actually got pitched by a PR gal promoting these new detox and cleanse supplements. Can you believe it? I guess she didn’t read what I had already written about Jillian Michaels’ diet pills. I was even offered free samples to offer to my readers. Fat chance.
PLEASE people, do your research first before you’re pitching bloggers. I’m probably the last person you want to send this product to.
Here’s a copy of the press release…
Jillian Michaels, New York Times bestselling author and renowned wellness coach from NBC’s The Biggest Loser and star of the upcoming NBC show Losing It with Jillian, announces a new product intended to “jump-start” any weight loss program. Her JumpStart 14 day Cleanse and Burn kit has launched in Walgreens and Wal-Mart stores, and will roll out in retailers nationwide over the next month.
“Cleansing has become a kind of national obsession,” says Michaels. ”People are cleansing as part of a weight loss plan, to help reduce belly bloat, increase energy or just to make them feel lighter. But all cleansing formulas are not equal. Many contain harsh chemical laxatives, require fasting, or fail to provide the necessary probiotic replenishment to restore beneficial intestinal flora. With so many people jump-starting their diets with a cleanse, I wanted to make sure there was a high-quality product on the market that was natural, didn’t require fasting, and included a probiotic component. Adding a week’s worth of my Maximum Strength Fat Burner was the icing on the cake, so to speak.”
Oh my. So cleansing is a “national obsession” and Jillian Michaels comes to the rescue to help us all! Why is she reinforcing this myth? Why doesn’t she stick with giving exercise advice?
The entire premise of “detox” is faulty. Our bodies don’t get backed up with “toxins” that come from the foods we eat. And if it did, there’s nothing that we eat — or don’t eat — that’s going to help our liver do its job any better. Our liver is the best filter for any toxins. A severe weight loss program that relies on only liquids (like The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox and other detox diets) will likely backfire. You might lose weight because you’re taking in so few calories, but most of the weight will be water weight and muscle. It’s a way to dramatically control calories — there’s no real detoxification going on.
The detox trend is not just impacting foods, beverages and supplements. You can find many different products making promises to rid your body of “toxins,” including detoxification foot pads. Take a look at Foot Pads: A Sticky Issue in today’s Wall Street Journal. It’s amazing that these claims are being made. Happy to see the FTC has charged at least one company with deceptive advertising. You can find more myth-busting information on the detox trend at Sense About Science.
I’ll be writing more about detox very soon, so stay tuned.
Thoughts, opinions, musings and discussion about nutrition, food trends, diet myths, new products and fad-free healthy eating.
About Janet Helm
I’m a nutrition journalist, consultant, registered dietitian and mom of twins. My passion is translating nutrition science into intelligible words – and healthy food choices. I want to help people make sense of nutrition news. I don’t think it needs to be complicated or confusing. l believe food should be enjoyed, not feared. And I think taste and health can happily co-exist.