Hydroxycut: Hype and reality

In the days following the FDA warning on the dangers of taking Hydroxycut and the manufacturer’s recall, the reaction has been more sliced than divided. There were the oft-seen reactions: NaturalNews headlined its commentary, “FDA Floats Hydroxycut Scare to Discredit Yet Another Supplement Company.”  The personal injury law firm of Onder Shelton O’Leary & Peterson issued a press release that called for stricter controls regarding both the safety and weight loss claims of supplements like Hydroxycut.

Outside the industry, the viewpoints were more pragmatic. Scot Long, an exercise physiologist and professor from Mississippi, weighed in, writing: “Bottom line, do I think that Hydroxycut is an evil product? No. I think many people abused this product (taking too much) and some may have even had pre-existing medical conditions. Do I recommend it to my students, clients and friends? Of course not. I do think, however, that Iovate Health Sciences could have made a safer product. But it shouldn’t shoulder all the blame.”

Marion Nestle, author of “Food Politics,”  wrote in her San Francisco Chronicle column, “I freely concede that most supplement companies make reliable products, but without federal oversight how is anyone – even a store clerk – supposed to know which ones they are. Some clerks may know their business, but in my experience few think critically about the products they are selling and most appear to take the manufacturers’ words at face value.”

After a Hydroxycut recall article was posted on FitSugar.com, a commenter who goes by the name Mondaymoos offered this first-person experience : “I never took diet pills for the purpose of losing weight. Me, and a lot of other people in the military, used them as a tool to work 12 hour shifts and still go out and have a life afterwards without racking up massive calories in energy drinks and soda. Was it a healthy decision, probably not. Did it work? Definitely yes.”

Consumers seem to know that there are no magic diet pills and that abusing a product is probably harmful. Thus, rhetoric that casts the FDA — or a manufacturer — as hero or villain does not sway consumers. They would rather know the benefits and risks of a product, and make an informed choice based on that.

About 

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

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3 Comments

  1. Jim Prochnow said:

    In my experience as a food lawyer, there is always a call for more regulation when a serious or a seemingly serious incident or series of incidents occur that are related to dietary supplements. The fact of the matter is that the FDA has issued a fairly new substantial federal regulation dealing with the manufacturing, packing and holding of such products; however, the issuance of regulations does not ensure that a particular product will not be adulterated (unsafe). To the best of my knowledge, we do not yet know, among other things, with respect to the Hydoxycut matter, whether the product caused the death(s) or serious injuries which the FDA has publicized, whether the cause of the problems has to do with the relative amount of each ingredient, the source of one or more of the ingredients, the Directions for Use, the way in which the product or one or more batches were blended or otherwise manyfactured, the conditions of storage of the products that were involved, or the pre-market testing , if any, whether animal, in vitro, or in vivo in nature. In other words, it is prudent for all who sell products that contain these ingredients to re-visit the scientitifc history of each of these ingredients and to be vigilant about the quality of their ingrdeient supply and their manufacturers’ quality control. But, increased regulatory regime at this time–there is no rationale basis for doing so.

  2. Colloidal Silver said:

    Interesting comment by the military reader. As for me, I don’t believe the hype with this product. I would not trust a diet product that has been recalled. I more of a fan of losing weight the natural way of eating properly, exercising, and using vitamin and natural nutritional supplements.

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