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Feds Find Diet-Pill Ads Hard To Take

Dec 6, 2002 | Washington Post

Call it the ultimate dream diet: You lose pounds while you sleep.

But the Federal Trade Commission said the diet product was only a dream it didn't work and has filed suit against the marketer of Body Solutions Evening Formula, charging it with making false and unsubstantiated claims.

The diet formula marketed by Texas-based Mark Nutritionals Inc. was heavily advertised in both Spanish and English through endorsements from popular radio disc jockeys on more than 650 radio stations in 110 cities nationwide.

"Thanks to Body Solutions' lose-weight-while-you-sleep formula, I can have my bacon, sausage and grits and still lose weight," said one endorsement from an Atlanta DJ. "I've lost over 19 pounds so far and over an inch off my waistline."

The FTC said Mark Nutritionals sold more than $190 million in Body Solutions products. A 15-ounce bottle costs about $48, plus shipping.

"We're actively looking for weight-loss products making the kinds of claims that can't be true," said J. Howard Beales III, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

In a recent workshop on weight-loss ads, FTC Chairman Timothy Muris put the media on notice, saying it was the responsibility of papers, magazines and TV stations to reject false and misleading diet and health ads. Beales reiterated those comments Thursday.

"We don't believe there is any constitutional protection for knowingly running false ads," he said.

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