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Do diet patch claims stick?


5 Star

Do diet patch claims stick?

Our Review Summary

If every news organization in the country had a regular "Healthy Skeptic" column like the Los Angeles Times does, we’d undoubtedly have a lot smarter health care consumer population. 

They’ve done it again with this story on slap-’em-on diet patches, and one expert’s quote that the product claims are "beyond ridiculous." 



Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


Costs of each product are described.

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


The story explained the lack of evidence of benefit. It cited evidence claimed for one product on one website but quoted an expert saying the results were suspiciious and not at all convincing.

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


We’ll give the column a barely passing grade on this because it nailed lack of evidence of efficacy – which can be viewed as a harm.  And it stated that "every known appetite suppressant has significant side effects" – although it didn’t give details.

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


The story succinctly quotes one expert saying "There’s no evidence" on one product claim.  And another expert says "No diet patch has passed muster n a published, peer-reviewed study." 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

The column focuses on the products – not on the problem of overweight – so this criterion is not applicable with this story.

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


Multiple sources were interviewed. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story could have at least briefly mentioned other weight loss methods that had evidence to back them up.

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


We’re told how the products are available online or at health food stores.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The fact that there are several competing patches gave an appropriate context.

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


No evidence the story relied on a news release.

Total Score: 8 of 9 Satisfactory


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