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June 25, 2018

This is a Weight Loss Pill, Right?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:02 am

Last year, a consumer purchased a bottle of Garcinia Cambogia Extract from a Vitamin Shoppe location in California believing that this product could help her lose weight.

Vtiamin Shoppe


In much smaller print, the bottle was labeled “weight management” and “appetite control” leading her to believe this was just the type of product she was looking for. (The caret after those terms merely refers to the standard fine print disclosure on the back of the label that the FDA has not evaluated these claims.)

Apparently she did a little research after purchasing it and found a study or studies from which she concluded that this stuff had been “scientifically proven to be incapable of providing such weight-loss benefits.” So like any good consumer, rather than going back to the store to get a refund, she filed a class action lawsuit alleging misrepresentation and false advertising, among other claims.

To her surprise, the judge ruled against her, saying in his decision:

The first problem with Plaintiff’s complaint is her assertion that the phrases “Weight Management” and “Appetite Control” equate to representations that the Product provides weight-loss benefits. “Weight Management” suggests management or control of one’s weight, whose upward or downward departure may differ depending on an individual person’s goals, i.e., to gain, lose, or maintain one’s weight. “Appetite Control” indicates control of one’s appetite, which may or may not ultimately result in weight-loss. Thus, it is irrelevant whether the alleged studies disprove that the active ingredients in the Product can produce weight-loss benefits because the phrases themselves do not inherently promise weight-loss benefits.

Say what? If putting the terms “weight management” and “appetite control” on a pill bottle doesn’t suggest that the contents are good for losing weight, what do they suggest?

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  1. What a perversion of the English language! The judge should be ashamed of himself.

    Comment by hmc — June 25, 2018 @ 8:32 am
  2. Weight Management – for someone looking to gain weight they can interpret this to mean they would gain weight.

    For Someone looking to loose weight they would interpret this to meal it would help them loose weight.

    For someone looking to stay where they are, they would interpret this to mean it would help maintain a level weight.

    They have covered all bases with just two phrases “Weight Management” and “Appetite Control”.

    Without additional wording one has no idea what they mean. Maybe store display or advertisement information will give you an idea but the snake oil salesperson here lets you interpret however you wish with the desired results you are looking for.

    Looking at many recent studied and supplements and vitamins, most provide little if any advantage when taken orally. Additionally there is no real regulation to the supplement market. As long as they don’t advertise it as a drug they can just about say what they want.

    We always tend to look at wording through our own rose colored glasses.

    Comment by Josseph — June 25, 2018 @ 9:35 am
  3. An unanswered question, does this product manage the raising OR lowering of weight? Does this product cause you to eat more OR less? if the study showed it does neither it’s false. Maybe better representation in court.
    What reputation does the active ingredient hold? On Web MD Garcinia cambogia is described as “a tropical fruit, is a popular weight-loss supplement, especially with people who have diabetes”, combined with the marketplace claims of weight loss, to any competent lawyer the expectation in the “market” combined with the package statements should have been an easy case.

    Comment by Robert — June 25, 2018 @ 9:46 am
  4. This judge reminds me of one of those kids that asks a question with very specific wordage which would normally inspired a certain answer, but the kid knows that and is trying to get you to give him that answer so he can say you’re wrong.

    This isn’t one of those situations where there really is two choices here. If you asked someone what ‘weight management and appetite control’ meant, 99% of them would say it helps with weight-loss. If I were her I’d try to get this appealed.

    Comment by Joel — June 25, 2018 @ 10:06 am
  5. All of these *weight controlled* pill bottles will have the standard 3 statements that clear them from lawsuits.

    1) These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
    2) Results may vary.
    3) With regular diet and exercise.

    The first statement pretty much means that you could legally sell snake oil has a weight loss supplement as long as your product in somewhere in the queue for the FDA to evaluate it. The second disclaimer is sort of a duh…. & number 3 is a HUGE DUHH.. If a person were to regulate their diet and exercise daily they are almost guaranteed to lose weight. So why
    waste money buying a bottle of pills that purport to magically melt those pounds away?

    In this case the key question would have to be answered by the Vitamin Shoppe: Why are the words *Weight Management* and *Appetite Control* on the front of the label?

    But I guess we’ll never know the answer to that question.

    One thing is for sure, I should have gone into the diet pill business a long time ago.

    Comment by Christine — June 25, 2018 @ 11:14 am
  6. Weight management and appetite control are such generic terms that you can consider ANY food item to be for weight management and appetite control.

    Whether I eat an apple or a double cheeseburger, both manage my appetite and both control my weight.

    The packaging at least contains fine print notifying the consumer that the FDA has not evaluated the terms on the package.

    People should be careful to purchase items that specifically say whether they are supportive of weight loss or weight gain.

    Comment by Wayne — June 25, 2018 @ 11:49 am
  7. Actually, I agree with the judge 100%. To me, weight “management” implies the ability to keep my current weight “under control”, not “loss” or “gain”. In fact, that term would have raised my “radar” immediately because it would have struck me that they were consciously avoiding any commitment to being able to achieve the goal of weight loss. “Appetite control” would have told me that it might help curb my hunger/cravings, but that in itself is not a sure indicator that weight loss will occur. If anything, “appetite control” would make me hope that I could *avoid* a weight gain, but all in all, the only road to weight loss is less calories in and more calories out.

    Comment by Ada — June 25, 2018 @ 11:50 am
  8. I agree with the judge on this one. The words are ambiguous. Caveat emptor!

    Comment by Bill — June 25, 2018 @ 12:17 pm
  9. One thing is for sure… This bottle would never sell much if it said:

    It MIGHT help you with weight management and with appetite on the front of the bottle.

    The bottle does have the:

    1) These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

    on the back of the bottle. Something for sure that would never be on the front of it.

    Comment by Richard — June 25, 2018 @ 2:59 pm

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