‘Fat burning’ ads were deceptive, attorney general alleges
DES MOINES — Iowans who purchased a deceptive weight-loss plan can receive refunds after Attorney General Tom Miller reached agreements with two chiropractors.
The chiropractors sold NutriMost, which promised that customers would lose “20 to 40+ pounds in 40 days” through “technology to turn on fat burning and turn off fat storing!” Their ads deceptively omit the fact that the NutriMost plan consists primarily of a very low-calorie diet of 500-800 calories per day, the attorney general alleged.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office investigated and reached a consent judgment with each defendant, who operated separate NutriMost franchises and were not working together. Under the agreements entered in Polk County District Court last week:
- Bradley Cook, a chiropractor who operated Nutrimost of Iowa in Marengo and Cedar Rapids, agreed to pay $50,000. He had 484 NutriMost customers.
- Emmett Blahnik, a Madison, Wis., chiropractor who operated Next Level Weight Loss in West Des Moines, agreed to pay $30,000. He had 253 NutriMost customers in Iowa.
Both businesses have already ceased selling the NutriMost program to Iowans. They are prohibited from resuming NutriMost sales and can make no representation about any health-related program unless backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence, according to the agreements.
The Attorney General’s office will make refunds available to the affected consumers.
The NutriMost program included Zyto scans, which included the use of hand cradles touted to provide a “Hormonal Fingerprint” and produce “the perfect ‘recipe’ for you to burn fat the fastest.” NutriMost advertisements did not disclose that the program consisted primarily of a very low-calorie diet and a regimen of nutritional supplements and related products sold by the franchises.
In April 2017, the NutriMost franchisor agreed to settle a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission over deceptive advertising. About $1.95 million was returned to consumers who purchased the products from the Pittsburgh-based franchisor, but consumers who purchased the program from NutriMost of Iowa and Next Level Weight Loss, or from other franchisees, did not receive refunds.
Be skeptical of health claims
Consumers should ask careful questions when purchasing health-related products or starting on a weight-loss program:
- Be wary of claims of extraordinary results for health or weight-loss products. Solutions that sound high-tech can be misleading.
- Remember that dietary supplements can be sold without proof that they are safe or really work.
- Consult with a trusted health professional before embarking on unusual or extreme dietary changes.
- In health as with other types of products and promotions, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.