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."
Costs of each product are described.
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.
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.
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."
The column focuses on the products – not on the problem of overweight – so this criterion is not applicable with this story.
Multiple sources were interviewed.
The story could have at least briefly mentioned other weight loss methods that had evidence to back them up.
We’re told how the products are available online or at health food stores.
The fact that there are several competing patches gave an appropriate context.
No evidence the story relied on a news release.