Once upon a time, Body Solutions was the talk of San Antonio and no one questioned the company’s weight-loss claims. Then the Express-News published two outstanding watchdog stories revealing how the company was founded by a tabloid journalist named Harry Siskind, and no proof existed that the diet products actually worked.
That’s why newspapers are awesome.
Body Solutions is back but now under new ownership and trying to rebrand itself:
Body Solutions, a once high-flying weight loss product brought down by overblown promotions and a deceptive founder, is back with a new name, a new owner and a more restrained pitch.
Gone is the “Evening Weight Loss Formula” tag that once followed the name. Unless you live in Dallas, where the product is actively marketed, you aren’t hearing radio personalities make endless appeals for the product like they once did here.
The new Body Solutions Ultra is a double-patented dietary supplement that is drawing sales after less than three months on the market and deserves a chance to prove its worth, its new owner said.
Body Solutions CEO Harry Siskind cried and apologized in a San Antonio courtroom yesterday.
His claims that a fruity drink could burn fat “while you sleep” had been debunked. He no longer pays radio disc jockeys to tout Body Solutions on the air. He’s not sitting in the front row at San Antonio Spurs games anymore.
Today, it seems so obvious that Siskind’s diet products were a scam — the blog Strange in San Antonio called Siskind a snake-oil salesman. But seven years ago, Siskind’s downfall looked doubtful. People were spending hundreds of dollars apiece on his fruit drinks, Siskind was a respected figure in San Antonio’s business community, and he was raking in tens of millions of dollars.
Then, in August 2001, San Antonio Express-News Reporters Travis Poling and Nicole Foy wrote two front-page stories detailing Siskind’s background as a tabloid journalist, and revealing how clinical studies never proved Body Solutions’ products actually burned fat.
It sounds so simple: Lose weight while you sleep, burn body fat – all while eating whatever you want.
All this from just one tablespoon of a fruity concoction taken every night on an empty stomach before going to bed. Minimal effort, great results – that’s the message behind Body Solutions’ wildly popular Evening Weight Loss Formula.
Is this the long-awaited answer to America’s battle with the bulge?
Not so fast, say leading scientists and nutritional experts. The Body Solutions program has more to do with big bucks and bold claims than it does substantiated science, say experts who reviewed the weight loss system.
“The only way you can tell if this works is by published, independent, objective, double-blinded scientific studies. And that hasn’t been done in this case,” said Sanford Miller, a former director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
These front-page stories provoked outrage by the disc jockeys who were paid to give personal testimonials about the effectiveness of Body Solutions’ products.
But the purpose of watchdog journalism is to tell people what’s really going on. Readers deserved to know they were spending their money on a fruity drink that did nothing for them.
The media doesn’t always fulfill it’s mission to tell the public unpopular truths. But it did this time. Perhaps that’s why, as he walked out of the courtroom, a defiant Siskind flipped off the news crews filming his exit.