Another weight loss giant has been taken down on charges of fraud: Kevin Trudeau, author of the book “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About” was sentenced to 10 years in prison for making false claims about the content of his diet manual on TV infomercials.
According to Reuters, it was first in 2004 Trudeau that got into trouble for misrepresenting his products on TV. But that didn’t stop him. In 2006 and 2007 he aired a misleading infomercial for “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About” around 32,000 times. In 2010 he was asked to pay consumers around $38 million for misrepresenting the contents of his book. He never did, which subsequently landed him back in court, and now in prison.
Just how misleading were the claims? A report from NPR states:
“In a series of infomercials, Trudeau claimed the book revealed a ‘miracle substance’ discovered in the 1950s and kept secret by food companies and the government that allows people to eat anything, not exercise and not gain weight. In fact, the book prescribed daily exercise and a 500-calorie-a-day diet.”
Living on 500 calories a day? Not exactly easy, or advisable.
This is, of course, only the latest in a series of crackdowns on diet and fitness fraudsters. Early in 2014 a number of companies including Sensa and HCG were accused of making false claims and subsequently fined. And KimKims, GlaxoSmithKline, and others have also been subject to fines and penalties for false claims.
While none of this makes the diet and fitness industry look especially clean and honest, we do hope that the law’s increasing focus on this area will eventually lead to better products and fewer misleading ads.
March 19th, 2014