Sensa: Serious Weight Loss System or Scam?

Lose weight by sprinkling a few Sensa “tastants” on your meal before eating. This claim purports to be backed up by scientific evidence of the relation between smell and taste on our eating habits. Sound great? It does. But does it work?

The doctor associated with creating Sensa, Dr. Alan Hirsch, reports on a “peer review” study that ostensibly shows the Sensa control group losing an average of 30 pounds over six months, while the placebo group lost an average of two pounds. Upon researching further, an ABC News report appears to debunk Dr. Hirsch’s claim that the study was “peer reviewed.” In medical tests and studies, as in many other professional arenas, peer-review is a very important and well respected method of examining fellow experts’ claims. After all, who will know better if your claims are unwarranted than your fellow experts? Plus, they can attempt to replicate the same study under scientifically controlled conditions.

Was Dr. Hirsch’s study actually peer reviewed? Watch the ABC News clip and see for yourself:

But Dr. Hirsch’s conclusion of his self-reported study? “Use of tastants to enhance or generalize sensory specific satiety demonstrated efficacy in the promotion of weight loss.”

I checked out Dr. Hirsch’s credentialing on the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation’s licensing information web-site. He is in fact a medical doctor with no disciplinary record in that state. Not only that, he is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a well respected and prestigious fraternal organization for doctors who “make or continue to make special efforts to be a better doctor.”

OK, so we’ll listen.

At , you can “try it 30 days for free.” Number one, nothing in life is free, especially something we order over the Internet. You do pay shipping and handling, and number two, as some have claimed, it’s not so easy to stop the automatic billing once the “free trial” is over. This website does have the BBB logo, so we checked out the BBB report.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Sensa is indeed a BBB-accredited business. Still, it did have 254 complaints over the last 36 months , most of which were complaints regarding refunds or lack thereof, but that these complaints were ultimately resolved satisfactorily.

This report tells us only of those who took the time to complain to the BBB of course.

Common sense should tell us that there is no magic pill. If there was, we’d all be fit and trim.

Sensa recommends we eat slowly, eat less, and exercise (in addition to buying its tastant sprinkles). Guess what, this is no news flash. If you do these things, you should indeed lose weight, but you don’t have to pay anyone to do that. We recommend eating slowly—giving yourself time to feel full before you eat everything on your plate, thereby eating less—and exercising. The cost of this weight loss and healthy living advice – absolutely free – but if you really want to you can send your $68 check to me.

Identity theft secrets, guest writer, Sami K. Hartsfield, ACP, is a paralegal in Houston with experience in commercial litigation and tax law. She holds a degree in paralegal studies and a bachelor of science degree in political science. After interning with Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals under Chief Justice Adele Hedges and completing the University of Houston Law Center’s Summer 2008 Prelaw Institute, she is preparing to enter law school this fall. Sami holds a national advanced paralegal certification, and four specialty certifications: Discovery; Trial Practice; Contracts Management; and Social Security Disability Law.  More helpful tax information can be found at her National Tax Law Examiner page.