Tag Archives: legal

Trouble in Oz: Study Supporting Oz-Promoted Diet Pills Formally Retracted

dr. oz

Dr. Oz is making headlines again for products he’s promoted not passing “scientific muster.” Four months ago, the well-known doctor was skewered in a Senate hearing on false claims made in advertising for weight loss products; in part due to a lack of scientific evidence supporting those claims. Now, a study supporting diet pills containing green coffee bean extract (GCBE) and promoted by Dr. Oz has been retracted.

The study was one our own Mary Hartley, R.D. came out against, and now it seems the study’s lead researchers want to take it all back.

“The sponsors of the study cannot assure the validity of the data so we, Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham, are retracting the paper,” the scientists posted in a statement online.


Octavia Spencer Sues Sensa for $700,000 After Sponsorship Goes Sour

The proverbial chocolate pie is hitting Sensa in the face, magic diet sprinkles and all. Octavia Spencer, the actress who won an Oscar for her performance in “The Help,” is suing the weight loss company Sensa for alleged fraud and breach of contract. Sensa markets tiny crystals called “tastants,” designed to be sprinkled on all types of food with the intention of making the eater feel fuller faster, thus eating less. It’s supposed to be automatic portion control, and when Spencer lost five pounds on the stuff last August, a $1.25 million sponsorship deal quickly materialized, tastants fall as they may.

But as with all sponsorships, marketing campaigns hinge on a fickle balance of popularity and exposure, and Sensa decided Spencer wasn’t exactly a trending topic. The company wasn’t pleased with the lackluster social media response generated by Spencer’s dimming star, and began to find a way out of the contract. (more…)

We Love Yoga Jones and How Orange is the New Black Highlights the Benefits of Prison Yoga

Amidst the cat fights, mind games, racial tension, and sexual promiscuity, there stands one prisoner in Orange is the New Black who seems to bring a much needed zen to the chaotic environment. Yoga Jones is one of our favorite characters on Netflix’s hot new series, which gives a seemingly painful depiction of life in a minimum security women’s prison.

The women are often free to moderately pursue their passions during their incarcerations, and for Yoga Jones, that’s following the tenants of Buddhism with regular yoga practice. And like any good yoga instructor, she shares that practice with all who will join her.

yoga jones orange is the new black

The juxtaposition of the serene yoga practice against the hardened, extreme prison environment may be a surprising scene for viewers of Orange is the New Black, but it’s actually a reality in prisons throughout the country.

Bo Cox told us the benefits of yoga in prison were very evident. Incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison for nearly two decades, the author of God is Not in the Thesaurus, said, “I can say that people who did [yoga] were above and beyond model prisoners. Peaceful and serene in a world anything but. And, not pushovers or victims either. Good examples of quiet strength.”

Litchfield’s women’s prison, the setting for Orange is the New Black, is not the only place where inmates can be found practicing yoga. It’s something available to some prisoners in the US and abroad, like in these Mexican prisons, and coincidentally is being lauded with some exciting new research out this month. (more…)

Kansas Farmer Sues Monsanto for GMO Wheat Crop Contamination

“We’ve fought them before and we’re not afraid of them.”

 Those are the words of Warren T. Burns, one of the attorneys representing a Kansas wheat farmer who is taking on the biotech giant Monsanto. According to the Associated Press, farmer Ernest Barnes filed suit against the company on Monday after genetically modified wheat was found growing in a field in Oregon. Barnes is claiming the company’s gross negligence has hurt U.S. growers. Genetically modified wheat is not approved for U.S. farming and this discovery may show that the GMO crops that were tested in certain states have infiltrated the food system by actually growing in the field where approved wheat is farmed.

gmo wheat

Since the announcement, Japan has suspended some import orders. This is just an indicator of what may happen if GMO wheat contaminates the American wheat crops. Other countries have strict laws about GMOs; more than 60 countries have banned GMOs and most do not want any products sent to their country if they contain GMOs. The wheat industry was still on the up and up, as no GMO wheat has been approved for U.S. farming. Now that it seems there’s been a contamination, who knows what will happen. (more…)

Celebrity Yoga Teacher Hilaria Thomas Baldwin Sued for Negligence

The latest ripple in the yoga news involves actor Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria Thomas, a yoga teacher of eight years who is being sued for negligence during her yoga class at Yoga Vida in lower Manhattan.

According to witnesses, Huffington Post blogger Spencer Wolff, who is filing the lawsuit against Thomas, did not listen to Thomas’ cautionary instructions. Suffering from an injury due to crashing through a window while attempting to do an inversion at the wall, Wolff claims Thomas’ negligence is the cause of his physical and emotional injuries.

It is no surprise classes in New York City are packed to the hilt with people striking their most impressive yoga poses. Competition doesn’t take a back seat in a city that never sleeps, and no one wants to be disqualified from the rat race. That is the energy in New York, take it or leave it. However, no matter how hard people work to do their absolute best in the presence of others, there will never be an excuse good enough to deny responsibility for his or her own actions. (more…)

Sensa’s False Advertising Costs Them $800,000

Nine counties in California weren’t buying the “too good to be true” claims of Sensa, also known as “the sprinkle diet.” The counties took the product to court arguing that the company made false claims regarding their product’s weight loss efficacy. The attorneys won and now Sensa has to pay.

The counties of Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma took the company, Intelligent Beauty, Inc., the makers of Sensa, to court this week after the product had freely advertised that users could lose weight by sprinkling flavored crystals on their food. As part of the settlement, Sensa, can no longer make any claims of weight loss without having scientific evidence to back the claims. The company was required to pay $800,000 in penalties and will go toward the enforcement of consumer protection laws. (more…)

Ab Circle Pro is a Fraud and Must Pay up to $25 Million in Refunds

Depending on the number of unsatisfied Ab Circle Pro customers who come forward, the fitness gimmick brand stands to pay out $15 million to $25 million in refunds, per a settlement between the brand and the FTC. The government agency has cracked down on over-hyped health claims in recent years to protect citizens from idiotic, empty promises like the Ab Circle Pro delivers. 

Honestly? Three minutes a day of mild exercise to lose 10 pounds in two weeks should be filed under “too good to be true,” and it is. The FTC isn’t having any of that noise.

According to the announcement on the FTC.gov site, “the defendants promised that a three-minute workout on the Ab Circle Pro – a fiberglass disk with stationary handlebars and two knee rests that roll on the edge of the disk, allowing consumers to kneel and rotate side-to-side – was equivalent to doing 100 sit ups. In the infomercial, pitchwoman Jennifer Nicole Lee compared the Ab Circle Pro to a gym workout, saying, “You can either do 30 minutes of abs and cardio or just three minutes a day. The choice is yours.”

Nothing is ever a substitute for hard work, not even a nearly non-existent workout. With a calorie-reduced diet and exercising at least 30 minutes moderate to high intensity workouts most days of the week, a healthy rate of weight loss is one to two pounds each week. A claim of 10 pounds in 2 weeks is not only not realistic but it isn’t healthy either. As far as toning your abs goes, well, that takes a lot more commitment to overall lifestyle than three minutes a day. If your entire workout regimen can happen in less time than a TV commercial break – you’re doing it wrong.

“Three minutes time is less than a warm up. Your muscles don’t even get loose in 3 minutes time – it takes about 5 to 10 minutes,” commented fitness expert Kelly Turner. “But let’s assume you did 5-10 minutes of light exercise before you hopped on. I can do 71 crunches in a minutes. Three sets of 71 crunches isn’t even an entire ab workout. No exercise, no matter what you are doing, is intense enough to create massive changes within your body in three minutes- even if done every single day.” (more…)

Zumba Madam Charged in Small Town Prostitution Scandal

Twenty-nine-year-old Zumba instructor Alexis Wright of Kennebunkport, Maine has been charged with 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy, and more. She’s also giving Zumba class a bad name.

The Zumba and fitness instructor has been charging men for sex for the past 18 months, which has generated about $150,000 in income. Police suspect around 150 people of being clients, and they’ve now begun releasing the list of names of those involved. So far only 21 have been named and can be found on the local newspaper’s (York County Coast Star) website.

Wright is also being charged for secretly video taping some of her clients. These incidents appeared to have occurred in Wright’s dance studio as well as an office space she had rented out across the street. Some people were suspicious of the young woman while others were clueless of the illegal activity taking place. (more…)

$6 Million in Refunds for Lipodrene and Thermalean Customers Start Paying Out Today

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is refunding consumers who purchased popular weight loss pills under guise of false claims. The courts ruled that consumers were deceived by the supplement marketer and that the company must pay. Today, the checks start rolling out.

The weight loss supplements attached to these false claims are Thermalean and Lipodrene. These supplements were marketed by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and were advertised to be clinically proven to cause substantial weight loss. The weight loss claims also included a 19 percent loss in total body fat.

Rebecca Tushnet covered the specifics of the trial when it was in progress on her False Advertising and More blog. During the trial, it was discovered that the products had not been tested, just the individual ingredients. Some of the specific claims about the supplements stated that one could lose 30 pounds in two months, up to 125 pounds. These statements were found false due to the fact that the only evidence was that the active ingredient could lead to a two-pound weight loss per month. (more…)

Paleo Blogger Files First Amendment Lawsuit Against North Carolina, State Bites Back

As a food blogger, I understand the responsibility I have to my readers. It’s my personal conviction that I should always provide them with the most honest and straight forward information I can. But when it comes to diet advice, some states don’t leave it up to personal conviction; such is the case in North Carolina where a dispute over the advice a blogger was giving his readers came into question. As a result, it’s raised a firestorm of controversy over whether “censorship” is an issue of free speech or a state simply protecting the health of its citizens. 

Steve Cooksey is a blogger who used to be overweight and diabetic, but changed his health and his life by following the paleo diet – a diet that mimics the eating habits of our earliest hunter-gatherer ancestors who primarily subsisted on meat, vegetables and fruit. This means no grains and no dairy, because it wasn’t available then and paleo proponents believe we don’t need it now, nor that it is healthy for our bodies.

Because of Cooksey’s dramatic transformation following the paleo diet, it’s understandable that he was enthusiastic about sharing his newly-found successful diet on his blog, Diabetes-Warrior.net – “Diabetes Management from a Paleolithic Perspective.” And whether he expected it or not, his readership blossomed as people began flocking to his site to learn more about his journey. (more…)

GlaxoSmithKline Will Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement; Largest Ever

In the largest ever health-care fraud settlement, GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for wrongly promoting prescription drugs and not properly reporting important clinical data.

More specifically, Glaxo is pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges. It is pleading guilty to marketing the anti-depressant Paxil towards children and Wellbutrin as a weight-loss aid, neither ways ever being approved by the FDA. Promoting uses for a drug that have not been approved by the FDA is illegal and is known as off-label marketing.

The other charges are for not reporting important clinical data on Avandia, a drug used in the treatment of diabetics, between 2001 and 2024.

The three misdemeanor charges included a criminal fine of $1 billion for the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. The remaining $2 billion is connected to the way sales and marketing practices of several drugs, including the asthma drug Advair, were conducted. (more…)