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Fiber-based Lipozene’s weight-loss claims rest on thin evidence

Rating

5 Star

Fiber-based Lipozene’s weight-loss claims rest on thin evidence

Our Review Summary

Lipozene, a weight-loss supplement containing a type of fiber called glucomannan, is being promoted as a magic bullet for weight loss. The evidence supporting this claim is weak at best as aptly indicated in this story’s headline.  This story was well researched and did a good job evaluating and refuting Lipozene’s weight-loss claims based upon review of the medical literature and by interviews with independent experts.  Lipozene’s manufacturer, the Obesity Research Institute, did not respond to requests for justification of these claims.  As pointed out in this article, the Obesity Research Institute paid a large settlement in response to the Federal Trade Commission charge that they made false and misleading claims about two of its other products containing the same fiber compound as Lipozene.  This story did a very good job of documenting its "bottom line" – that despite aggressive marketing there is no evidence that Lipozene is a "weight-loss breakthorugh".  This story is credible and was well done.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

A one month supply of Lipozene can cost up to $90 as reported in this story. This article also pointed out that other companies sell similar supplements for a much lower cost.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

This story is clear and accurate in its overall message that there appear to be no weight-loss benefits from taking Lipozene. 

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

This story uses expert opinion to point out the severe diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress would be adverse effects of taking the very large doses of the glucomannan fiber in Lipozene that might help someone to lose weight.  This story also noted that glucomannan is not FDA approved as a weight-loss supplement. 

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

This authors of this story should be commended for their thorough research in medical literature and in consultation with independent experts to verify the lack of evidence supporting Lipozene’s weight loss claims. The headline of this story "Fiber-based Lipozene’s weight-loss claims rest on thin evidence" sums up the lack of credible evidence on which Lipozene bases its weight-loss claims.  This story does a good job at pointing out that Lipozene’s "clinically proven" "fat-reducing power " does not appear to be based on any data published in the medical literature.  Perhaps this claim is based upon a small study reporting that individuals taking a fiber supplement similar to Lipozene on a very low calorie diet lost weight. Mathematically the amount of weight lost would be accounted for by diet alone. This story debunks Lipozene claim that people can lose weight without dieting or exercisisng by citing current medical opinion, and common sense.  The story does point out that the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against the Obesity Research Institute for making false claims about its other gucomannan containing products.  As a footnote, the Obesity Research Institute does not appear to conduct any research despite its "lofty" name. 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

This story does not engage in disease mongering but clearly points out that the makers of Lipozene do. The parent company, Obesity Research Institute, capitalizes on the public’s desire for a quick fix weight loss pill. 

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

This story took a well balanced approach to presenting both sides of the Lipozene story.  Beneficial claims by the manufacturer were balanced with comments by two independent experts who expressed the opposite opinion.  The story also tried unsuccessfully to verify claims that could not be otherwise verified with the manufacturer. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The only significant omission ofthe story was not including basic information on weight-loss.  This story briefly mentions diet and exercise, but could more clearly state these are the proven ways to lose weight.  Also, a brief sentence about gastric bypass surgery in cases of severe obesity could have easily been included.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

There is no shortage of ‘get thin quick products’ being aggressively marketed in the media and widely available in drugstores trhoughout the country.  Lipozene is no excpetion, as this story points out at the onset.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

This story makes it clear that weight-loss supplements including Lipozene are common place.  

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

We are confident the story did not rely on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory

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