Sensa, other weight loss marketers settle charges of advertising deception

s millions of Americans vow to lose weight and get in shape for the new year, federal investigators warn that a lot of weight loss products on the market could be a fast way to lose your money. An ongoing investigation into deceptive and unproven weight loss claims just netted nearly $27 Million in consumer refunds.

The Federal Trade Commission says extensive marketing of Sensa convinced millions of consumers they could lose weight quickly, by simply sprinklilng the product on their food before they eat. The powered additive has been promoted as making you feel full faster, so you eat less and lose weight without dieting.

But according to the investigation, the weight loss claims were shaky at best. Despite more than $364 Million dollars in sales between 2008 and 2012, the FTC says there's no scientific evidence to back the claims. And the feds say promoters failed to dislcose to consumer that they paid people hundreds and even thousands of dollars to make endorsements.

The marketers of Sensa just agreed to pay $26.5 Million dollars to compensate customers and settle the case, but in a tweet to followers said "We stand behind SENSA, a lifestyle tool that helps customers w/ proper portion control."

The SENSA website offers additional information about the company's decision to settle the case out of court "so it could focus on the core of its business". The company also emphasizes that "The settlement includes no admission of wrongful conduct by the company."

SENSA was not the only target in the latest weight loss investigation, dubbed "Operation Failed Resolution." Popular bath and skin care retailer L'Occitane will pay $450,000 to settle claims of deceptively promoting two skin creams as body slimming and firming. Investigators say they found no reliable evidence that Almond Beautiful Shape could flight cellulite, or that Almond Shaping Delight could refine and reshape the silhouette.

And if you purchased weight loss supplements from an Arizona company called HCG Diet Direct, the feds say you were duped- because there's no real proof that diluted hormone drops can cause you to rapidly lose substantial weight.

As investigations continue, the FTC warns- the chances of being successful at losing weight just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs or using a supplement- are slim to none.