Is Sensa a scam?

Have you heard about the new weight loss powder that is becoming a big hit on the internet? It’s a white powder that you can sprinkle in your food to support weight loss.  The claim is that the white powder will curb your desire to eat through sensory signals.

My first impression. Their website looks very professional, with lots of testimonials, a doctor advocate, and some celebrity endorsements. When I first looked at the product I was careful. It seemed too good to be true. I had to take a moment think clearly about this new product.

Here is what is suspicious:

1. Their billing system: They tell you it’s a free trial kit. You can’t find the real price anywhere. I had to give up my address and phone number just to get to the page where they have this message.

You have a full 30 days to try your Sensa 2-Month Starter Kit. If you enjoy Sensa, do nothing. You’ll be billed one low payment of $89.95 on 11/1/2009. That’s a 23% SAVINGS off the retail price.


Plus, you’ll enjoy free enrollment in our Sensa AutoShip Delivery Service. You will automatically receive a fresh supply every 2 months so you never run out of Tastants. Plus you will lock in the low price of only $89.95 every 60 days, billed to your credit card, plus free shipping and handling. You save 23% on every shipment! If for any reason during the 30-day trial period you are dissatisfied with your Sensa 2-Month Starter Kit, simply return the products. Cancel at any time with no obligation.


CA, UT & CO residents will be charged sales tax at time of purchase. Customer is responsible for return postage. Questions? Contact a Sensa Customer Care Representative toll-free at (866) 514-2554

Hmmm…  $89.95 for small powder packages. Plus they automatically sign you up to buy more every 60 days. And if you don’t like the stuff, you pay for the return. These are red flags.

2. Their Research:

(Updated – 6/14/2010) Sensa has finally posted links to their research. They call upon Dr. Hirsch’s study called “Weight Reduction Through Inhalation of Odorants.” His study found some correlation between odorants and weight loss.

His sujects had an inhaler to administer the smells. Unlike the small packs they sell,  his subjects often used the inhaler up to 288 times a day. Also, the study states that the smells only worked for people that had specific traits:

  1. a great sense of smell (identified the apple odorant in the Chicago Smell Test)
  2. only ate 2-4 times a day,
  3. felt bad about overeating but not about themselves

Also, there were other correlations with the weight loss like frame-size, spending time with others, and eating certain foods (chocolate, apples and mints).

At the end of the study the doctor states that their may be some benefit to smells if coupled with a nutrition and exercise program.

Considering the importance of weight loss, this was a very small study. The product has few tests, and no other scientists have attempted to repeat the study to make sure it works. There is money to be made and I am afraid a product is being marketed on hype rather than science.

Another strong argument against using Sensa is that the study was only conducted for 6 months. I would question if the human body would become sensitized to these smells. Before you spend money on this, try a nutrition and exercise program like the doctor suggests. I bet you will get similar results without the smells and high costs.

See the study here:  http://www.aromapatch.com/Hirsch_Weight_Loss_Smell.pdf

3. What others are saying: I went to RipOffReport.com to see what others were saying. People did not seem happy with their marketing practices. There were some complaints about not getting a refund. This is a bad sign.

(added 2/10/2010 – Look at the comments below, we’ve had a big response about Sensa and you can see some of it right here.)

4. What have experts said? (added 9/4/2010)

I found it very humorous that Sensa boasted that they were listed on webMD in their TV commercial. If someone actually did their homework and read the webMD article they would see that it was negative towards Sensa. I guess Sensa didn’t expect us to be smart enough to even evaluate their sources.

WebMD points out that the study was not conducted as a Clinical Trial which is the gold standard for studies. WebMD also points out that Sensa has never been validated, nor published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Their doctor, Pamela Peeke, MD said,

“[Sensa] is not a magic bullet. There is no magic sprinkle. This isn’t even a diet,” … “It oversimplifies the complex physiology and psychology associated with appetite.” She also points out that there is nothing unique about the list of ingredients in the tastants.

So will it really work? I doubt it. I imagine that in the beginning you might feel fuller and less hungry. But over time your body will just get used to the new smells and tastes. Honestly, this is not a good way to lose weight. Take the $89.95  (every 60 days) and buy a gym membership, Wii Fit, or more nutritious foods.

Is it long term? The main reason to avoid Sensa is because it is NOT a long term solution. You do not want to buy their product for the rest of your life to stay slim.

To learn more about safe weight loss principles visit Stop Dieting and Live

Sources:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/sensa.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-sensa

http://trysensa.com/

The New McDonald’s Diet

If you haven’t heard about it yet, Chris Coleson, from Virginia, lost 80 pounds eating primarily at McDonalds.

It was a funny story. Chris Coleson said on MSNBC news that he was able to lose the weight by eating every light item on the menu. He focused on the fruits, the wraps, and the veggies entries. He kept his calories low with these foods.

This crazy diet proves that the human body can lose weight on almost anything. You don’t have to eat special-diets or fad acai berries. You just have to keep caloric intake below caloric expenditure. Having a structured plan will certainly help with this goal. That is why I suggest life-style changes.

I wouldn’t recommended this diet because it lacks variety and doesn’t have any long-term potential. However, it was fun to hear about the man that lost weight with McDonalds.

You can watch his video here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25281188/