Can a Diet Pill Work Without Diet or Exercise?

The Obesity Research Institute, which is the company behind Lipozene, may sound official, but it's really just a privately run company. ABC News traced the company to an Encinitas, Calif., house.

In 2004, "Good Morning America" investigated the claims of another amazing weight loss product Propolene, which was also produced by the institute.

"I was 247 [pounds] eight weeks ago and I'm 30 pounds lighter today," one enthused customer said in the Propolene infomercial.

After the ABC News report, the Federal Trade Commission also investigated the Obesity Research Institute.

"These ads really caught our eye because of the extreme weight loss claims they were making," said FTC advertising practices associate director Mary Engle.

The FTC fined the institute and its key players $1.5 million for making false and deceptive claims about Propolene and three other diet pills. "The FTC requires that all advertising claims be truthful, not misleading, and backed up by sound science," Engle said.

In the settlement, the defendants denied the allegations and admitted no wrongdoing.

The Company's Response

The company refused to give ABC News an official comment about Lipozene. But ABC News reached a Lipozene supervisor by phone who said that the claims in the infomercial are "100 percent true" and that people don't have to change their diet or exercise habits to lose weight.

The supervisor added that customers will achieve faster results if they alter their diet and workout patterns. He said the company hears success stories all the time, but admitted it doesn't work for everyone.

ABC News found no mention of diet and exercise on Lipozene's bottle or packaging.

Engle, who wouldn't comment specifically on the Lipozene ad, said people should look at weight loss product claims with a skeptical eye.

"Your mother may have told you, 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.' Well, that's correct. That's good advice. It's advice we should all listen to," Engle said.

"This is not a simple solution for the extraordinarily complex task of weight loss. I recognize that we don't have a simple solution, and surely this is not it," Frank said.

How to Protect Yourself

Aside from being skeptical of hype, the FTC said consumers should be especially aware of advertisements or infomercials of products that claim to block the absorption of fat and calories.

It also said customers should look out for products claiming users will lose more than three pounds a week for four weeks or longer. Any weight loss faster than that rate is unsafe.

Finally, products that claim to work for everyone should be avoided.

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