NAD Finds Sensa can Support Express Claims for Weight-Loss Product, but Recommends Sensa Discontinue Certain Testimonials

New York, New York – Sept. 3,  2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined Sensa Products LLC provided reasonable support for express claims made in advertising for its weight-loss product, Sensa. However, NAD has recommended that the advertiser discontinue unsupported testimonials.

NAD is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum. Through NAD’s ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with its initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition  designed to expand NAD’s review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD had requested substantiation for claims made in print and Internet advertising, including: 

  • “Sensa works with your body’s natural impulses, not against them.”
  • “Sensa is based on 25 years of research and testing.”
  • “Sensa was proven effective in one of the largest clinical studies ever performed on a non-prescription weight-loss product.”
  • “No other weight-loss product has such extraordinary clinical results.”
  • “In one of the largest studies ever conducted on a non-prescription weight loss system, 1436 men and women lost an average of 30.5 pounds in just 6 months.”

Sensa is based on the principle that the rate at which an individual achieves satiety, or a feeling of fullness, can be influenced by smell and taste – as hunger is sated, the sensory pleasure of dining diminishes, a clinical response referred to as “sensory specific satiety.” The advertiser maintained that Sensa – a blend of flavored crystals – is designed to enhance the small and taste of food and promote a feeling of fullness more rapidly, leading users to consume less food with each meal and resulting in gradual weight loss over time.

NAD examined evidence that included a large body of research on the product, as well as the science behind the product. NAD noted that one of the three studies presented as evidence included 1,436 participants. Further, the results of the three studies on Sensa achieved consistent results, with average weight loss for the participants at 33.6, 30.5 and 27.6 pounds, respectively, in six months.

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the advertiser provided reasonable support for the express claims at issue in NAD’s review, including claims related to the product’s effectiveness.

However, NAD noted that it was concerned about several testimonials at the Sensa Website, including testimonials that indicated the user had lost 70 pounds or 120 pounds. The testimonials include a disclaimer that reads, “Individual results may vary; Avg. weight loss in clinical studies 30+ lbs.”

NAD noted that the average weight loss demonstrated in the largest Sensa study was 30.5 pounds over the six-month period. Further, NAD noted that the largest weight loss demonstrated in the study was 52 pounds for females and 50 pounds for males.  NAD noted that the average weight loss demonstrated in the largest Sensa study was 30.5 pounds over the six-month period. Further, NAD noted that the largest weight loss demonstrated in the study was 52 pounds for females and 50 pounds for males.

NAD found that testimonial claims that are not based on the Sensa study are problematic in the context of advertising that includes many claims specifically based on the Sensa study, including claims of “no food restrictions.” NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue any testimonial claims that are not based specifically on the evidence provided by the Sensa studies.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it would “consider NAD’s recommendation regarding certain of its consumer testimonials as it develops future testimonial advertising.”