called “Sensa,” a weight-loss supplement. I naturally assumed it was a bunch of crap, as most weight loss ads end up that way. After about 10 minutes of watching the ad and seeing a bunch of “before-and-afters” claiming how great the product works, I became curious.
The Sensa diet, also called “the Sprinkle Diet,” claims that you can eat any of your favorite foods without worrying about calories, or experiencing deprivation or cravings. “All you do is sprinkle everything you eat with flavor-enhancing Sensa crystals, and you’ll lose weight,” according to ads promoting Sensa.
Although the idea of sprinkling crystals over your food before eating it sounds a bit weird, developer Alan Hirsch gives a good presentation, and the credentials do seem impressive. However, as with many products presented via infomercial, there’s something fishy going on behind the scenes.
For example, Dr. Hirsch notes a peer-reviewed study (supposedly peer-reviewed by the Endocrine Society), which supports his claim that Sensa users lost over 30 pounds versus a control group that only lost two pounds. However, the Endocrine Society says that they did not review this study. On ABC’s 20/20, the Endocrine Society stated that, “they were surprised and troubled by the promotional nature of his [Dr. Hirsch’s] presentation.”
Judging from online customer feedback, people who have tried Sensa do not seem to be happy that they did so. “It appears Sensa’s free trial offer is kind of tricky…. Aside from not losing weight, people are getting charged $89 not once, but twice before they are able to stop the billing. And getting a refund doesn’t seem to be that easy.”
Just like Sensa’s sprinkle theory, the ad spreads candy-coated fibs throughout its TV segment in hopes of getting the viewer to “call the 1-800 number NOW! Don’t Wait!” Exactly, because if you wait, you may do a little research on the product and find out that the ad is full of little white lies.
Diet ads and marketing usually aim to make exercising seem unnecessary, and exercise ads want to make working out seem easy and fun. They promote machines that require you to do the bare minimum in order to lose weight.
Sometimes, we just have to face the cold hard truth that it takes work to lose weight and get in shape. As much as we’d like to think there is a magic pill or machine that will melt away those extra pounds, that doesn’t seem to be the case!