Makers of ab Glider ™ settles deceptive claims charges

via Makers of ab Glider ™ settles deceptive claims charges on clarionledger.com, 9/19/2014.

The company which makes the popular ab Glider ™ machine has agreed to pay $3 million to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they violated a 1997 agreement to stop claiming their product could produce significant weight loss with minimal use.

ICON Health & Fitness, Inc. and related companies allegedly claimed that using their product just three minutes per day could help users lose weight, inches or clothing sizes, but the FTC challenged the claims, saying ICON couldn’t substantiate the claimed results

“The FTC is committed to protecting consumers from bogus weight-loss claims, whether they’re for dietary supplements, exercise equipment, or any other type of product,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Just because time has passed since an order was entered, doesn’t mean a manufacturer can ignore the order and return to its old tricks.”

The company agreed in the 1997 consent order to stop making the claims, but the company was back in 2010 with ads in various media, using celebrity endorsers such as TV personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck. But the FTC claims that the company’s alleged results of weight loss were actually achieved by using a combination of diet, exercise and use of the ab Glider ™, although the company claimed the results could be obtained without additional means.

With Americans carrying more excess weight than ever – and Mississippi leads the list…sigh…again – advertisers have made tons of money selling everything from fad berries and creams to various types of machines, such as the ab glider…roller…circle…whatever. Hate to burst your bubble, but the bottom line, according to experts: there is no magic formula to weight loss.

Sure, there may be a few out there who have achieved results, but these are the exceptions, not the rule, and there are lots of media-savvy companies which publish reviews of dubious objectivity. Certainly, using an exercise product can be part of a total program, but you’re got to have realistic expectations.

Southerners are generous, trusting and gracious people; but that also means people may take advantage of that trust. By using people we trust, marketers hope to get past our natural defenses against knowing when somebody is promising what they can’t deliver.

So, here are common claims which should raise your red flags, if you are looking for quick weight loss results. There is also a short quiz to test you on your knowledge:

  1. Losing weight without diet or exercise: Health experts are pretty much agreed on this point: Losing weight takes a lot of work, and usually consists of a combination of diet and exercise.
  2. You can eat what you want, and still lose weight: Although it would be nice to be able to eat half a chocolate cake, then find you’ve lost two pounds the next day, it’s not realistic. Nutrition experts say eating healthier, and limiting fats and sweets, are your best ally in trying to lose weight.
  3. Permanent weight loss: There is no product which can keep your weight off permanently, unless you change your lifestyle.
  4. Just take a pill: There is no magic pill out there. Even drugs which have been approved for weight loss come with disclaimers that it’s just a tool to help, but you have to change your eating and exercise habits
  5. Fast weight loss: Healthy weight loss should be slow and methodical, allowing your body time to adjust. Fast weight loss should be done only under a doctor’s supervision; it could be dangerous to your health.
  6. Universal results: There is no one product or approach which will work on everyone the same; unethical advertisers often use shills (false testimonials) to make you believe it can work for you. Don’t believe claims that it works for everybody
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