Maker of Dr. Oz-Endorsed Diet Supplement Settles Claim with FTC
The maker of a diet supplement that was endorsed by popular TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz settled a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint that alleges the company used a flawed study to make claims about the product's effectiveness.
According to the complaint, Applied Food Sciences used a flawed study to bolster the effectiveness of its green coffee extract that was used as an ingredient in other dietary supplements and foods. As a result of the settlement, Applied Food Sciences will have to pay a $3.5 million fine and is barred from making similar claims without substantial evidence.
In 2010, Austin, Texas-based company paid researchers in India to conduct a clinical trial on overweight adults to test whether Green Coffee Antioxidant (GCA), a dietary supplement containing green coffee extract, reduced body weight and body fat.
The FTC charges that the study's lead investigator altered weights and measurements of the subjects, changed the length of the trail and misstated which participants were taking the placebo or extract. The company hired two University of Scranton researchers to rewrite the study when it couldn't be published. The information in the study was never verified, but company claimed that users lost 17 pounds, 10 percent of body weight, and 16 percent of body fat with or without diet and exercise, in 22 weeks. The subjects, however, were never instructed to restrict their diet and increase their exercise.
The full study can be found here.
Oz featured the ingredient and the study on one of the episodes of The Dr. Oz Show. Applied Food Sciences took advantage of the publicity, restating in its press release that the participants in the study lost a substantial amount of weight.