Carl Mays: “If it came in a bottle, everyone would have a good body”

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 02:34 PM

“Face it, if it came in a bottle, everyone would have a good body.” These are Cher’s closing words in her popular Jack LaLanne Health Spa TV commercial of the mid-1980s. During the entire commercial, Cher is working out in LaLanne’s studio, displaying that she obviously follows the advice of exercising properly and choosing foods wisely in order to get the body you want. (If you weren’t around in the mid-1980s or don’t recall the commercial, you can see it on YouTube.)

I mention the commercial because today, more than ever, Cher could say you can’t get the body, “in a bottle, pill, candy bar, coffee bean, salve, lotion, cream, spray or any other magical potion that someone or some company may miraculously invent or discover in the rainforests of darkest Africa." Such great-body/lose-fat solutions were spotlighted recently in a U.S. Senate hearing regarding “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products.” 

As many of us know by now, TV celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz was scolded and dressed down by Chairman Claire McCaskill of the Senate Consumer Protection Panel for claims he made about weight-loss aids on his “Dr. Oz” TV show. (I’ve seen short clips or promos of his show over the years and have noticed that the large majority of his audiences could stand to lose some excess poundage.)

The Associated Press reported that under pressure from Congress, Oz offered to help drain the swamp of unscrupulous marketers using his name to peddle so-called miracle pills and cure-alls to millions of Americans desperate to lose weight. He also admitted that his language about green coffee beans and other supplements has been "flowery," and he promised to publish a list of specific products he thinks can help America shed pounds and get healthy – along with eating less and exercising more. Oz said that on his show, he never endorsed specific companies or brands but more generally praised some health supplements as fat busters.

All of us who read newspapers and magazines, watch television and listen to radio, view emails and the Internet have seen the continuing proliferation and bombardment of ads promising unbelievable, overnight weight-loss results. Along this line, Chairman McCaskill took Oz to task for a 2012 show in which he proclaimed that green coffee bean extract was a "magic weight loss cure for every body type."

"I get that you do a lot of good on your show," McCaskill told Oz, “but I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true." Oz insisted he believes in the supplements he talks about on his show as short-term crutches and even has his family try them. He said his job on the show is to be a "cheerleader" for his audience, one who offers hope even if that means looking to alternative healing traditions and any evidence that might support them.

At the same time, Oz did agree that there's no long-term miracle potion out there without proper diet and exercise. However, within weeks of Oz's comments about coffee bean extract, a Florida-based operation began marketing a dietary supplement called Pure Green Coffee. With claims that the chlorogenic acid found in the beans could help people lose 17 pounds and cut body fat by 16 percent in 22 weeks, the group raked in millions.

A 2011 consumer survey found that more consumers were victims of fraudulent weight-loss products than of any of the other specific frauds covered in the survey. This is why the Senate Consumer Protection Panel hopes to derail the continuing growth of such ads and ever-increasing promises of miraculous weight-loss products. Meanwhile, we can only ask, “Where is Cher when you need her?”

© 2014 by Carl Mays, National Speakers Association Hall of Fame member and author of over a dozen books. Email carlmays@carlmays.com or visit www.carlmays.com.