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Body Solutions: What's The Skinny?

May 22, 2002 | WLWT

Anyone who spends time in the car with the radio on has probably heard commercials for Body Solutions.

It's supposed to be a quick and easy fix for losing weight, and it's part of a $12 billion a year business, WLWT Eyewitness News 5's Lisa Cooney reported.

But does it really work?

Tri-State radio veteran Jim LaBarbara of WGRR-FM said that it has worked for him. Body Solutions, he said, helped him lose 25 pounds in two months.

"I've been taking the product," he said. "It worked for me. I thought, 'This is good. I'm not going to back away from the product.'"

LaBarbara -- who is one of about a dozen local radio personalities who have endorsed Body Solutions -- admitted that he was skeptical at first. He also admitted that he is paid by Body Solutions to provide on-air endorsements for the product, Cooney reported.

"I took it home and I was very skeptical about it because a tablespoon, that's all you have to do, is take a tablespoon to lose weight," LaBarbara said.

Joe Weiler wasn't impressed by his attempt to lose weight with Body Solutions.

"It sounded like as easy way out," he said. "You could lose 15 pounds without hardly doing anything."

Unlike LaBarbara, Weiler didn't lose weight, even though he claims to have followed the directions exactly as written.

"The people that I know have not lost weight," Weiler said. "Maybe it works for someone else but it just didn't work for me."

Some Body Solutions customers in Florida have sued the supplement's manufacturer, Maker Mark Nutritional, of San Antonio. There is also a class-action case in Michigan, and an investigation by the Detroit Consumer Affairs Division. All involve claims of false advertising, Cooney reported.

The plaintiffs claim that the only thing they lost was the $50 to $150 it takes to purchase Body Solutions.

Cooney attempted to contact Maker Mark, but a spokesman said that the company takes questions from reporters only by fax.

If Body Solutions works, it would be tough to know how it works. There is no regulation that requires the makers of dietary supplements to provide a detailed list of ingredients.

Some of Body Solutions' ingredients are listed on the container, and they are not harmful, according to Dr. Randy Seeley of the University of Cincinnati.

Seeley questioned Body Solutions' so-called behavior modification program, which recommends -- in conjunction with taking Body Solutions -- getting plenty of exercise, drinking water, eating sensibly and not eating three hours before bedtime.

"The real question is, does a person have to pay money for that advice?" Seeley asked. "The answer is no."

Seeley said that people who find success with Body Solutions may be able to chalk it up to the placebo effect.

"If I asked you to get on a scale every week for the next three months most people would lose some weight," he said. In other words, you don't have to have an actual treatment that's effective, but that if you ask yourself to monitor yourself carefully, most people can produce weight loss over that time.

Currently, only Meridia and Zenical are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat obesity. Dietary supplements, including Body Solutions, are not approved, Cooney reported.

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