US cracks down on 'miracle' weight loss cures

Regulators are cracking down on four companies accused of deceiving consumers about the potential for easy weight loss using their products.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is requiring the four firms — L'Occitane, Sensa Products, HCG Diet Direct and Leanspa — to drop misleading claims from their advertisements.

Three will be required to return a total of $34 million to consumers in redress payments.

Publishers and broadcasters also received a letter from the commission urging them to more carefully screen ads for phony health information. 

The actions are part of a federal initiative dubbed "Operation Failed Resolution" that targets marketers promising easy weight loss from health and beauty products.

In one case, ads for L'Occitane said two of its skin creams would slim users' bodies. Sensa, meanwhile, claimed that its powdered food additive could cause weight loss without diet and exercise.

The FTC said both claimed were unsubstantiated.

“Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. 

"And the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none. The science just isn’t there."

The actions were first reported by Reuters.