Bioethics Blogs

Skinny Pill? I’m Not Buying It

Tracy Isaacs expresses scepticism about the “skinny pill” online craze.

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A few weeks ago someone forwarded me a link to an article about a “mysterious skinny pill” that was “taking Canada by storm.” Always the skeptic, I held off on following the link and then forgot about it entirely. By the time I went back to it, the link led nowhere—as mysterious as the pill it touts.

The dead-end link didn’t surprise me at all. More often than not, any site that turns up when I put “skinny pill” into my search engine is a professional-looking page with all sorts of reports and testimonials, dramatic before and after shots of successful users, multiple references to doctors, research findings, and a few obligatory tables and charts (that may or may not actually be from published research).

The other thing these sites have in common is that above the dramatic, eye-catching headline, in smaller, less eye-catching typeface, is the word “Advertisement.” I’m hesitant even to link to ads for bogus weight-loss products, but if you would like to see what these ads look like, you can put “skinny pill takes country by storm” or “daily health tips online” into your search engine.*

So what is this “skinny pill” these ads are trying to hock? High on the list of its ingredients are Garcinia Cambognia, raspberry ketones, green coffee bean extract, fad ingredients that have been endorsed by “America’s favorite doctor” who shall remain nameless. (I have blogged about these ingredients and the appeal to authority that gives them credibility here.)

The trouble, if you want to call it “trouble,” is that there is no magic pill that will make you skinny.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.