I am watching an infomercial about Sensa, a product that you sprinkle on your food–any food–to lose weight. In typical infomercial style, men and women parade across the screen raving about how much weight they’ve lost. 10, 20, 90 pounds! A doctor explains that Sensa is a “revolutionary” weight-loss substance that heightens your sense of smell and taste so you eat less. And Dayna Devon, billed as “an award-winning journalist,” tells us Sensa was her savior.
I have bought a number of products from infomercials (a step ladder and mineral makeup when it was first introduced), which I’ve loved. But this infomercial distresses me because it misleads obese people into believing that Sensa will help them lose weight without dieting. It shows people sprinkling Sensa on their chocolate cake and pizza, and then gobbling them up. Anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about eating and weight loss knows that the only thing that you can sprinkle on your food to make you loss weight would be poison (since it would prevent you from eating it.)
If you’re wise to weight-loss claims and you read the fine print on the bottom of the screen, you’ll learn that Sensa must be used in conjunction with reduced calorie intake, a sensible diet and exercise. But obese people, who struggle with their weight and are desperately searching for help, don’t see the fine print. They hear the promise.
My doctor told me that half of all Americans will be obese within the next decade, thanks in large part to crappy food, including Coke and sugar-coated cereals. We must figure out how to completely impact the way our country eats. Let’s start with message on soda cans that say: “Guzzling coke can be hazardous to your health.” Or maybe, we can sprinkle Sensa in the can.