AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Atlanta man banned from weight-loss industry

"Get High School Skinny," an Atlanta company promised consumers as it touted it weight-loss product, Healthe Trim, on radio and TV.  The public apparently gobbled it up. Customers bought a million bottles of Healthe Trim, sold online and at CVS, GNC and Walgreens, since the it was released in 2009, according to a company website. But apparently, the only thing that got skinny was customers' wallets.

Now the company's co-founder, John Matthew Dwyer III of Atlanta, has agreed to be banned from the weight-loss industry to settle accusations that he deceived consumers.

And the company itself may be in for a slim-down. HealthyLife Sciences LLC has been banned from making various fat-burning claims, the Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday. The Atlanta marketing firm can't make any of what the FTC says are false "gut-check" claims:

  • Its products cause substantial weight loss, no matter how much you eat;
  • You can lose weight by wearing a product or rubbing it into your skin;
  • The pounds you lose will be permanently gone;
  • You won't be hungry.

So what is a weight-loss company to do? How about having some science to back up any future claims. The settlement agreement calls for HealthyLife Sciences, based at 8601 Dunwoody Place, to have at least two randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled human clinical studies, each by different researchers who are independent of each other, using acceptable protocols and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate product claims.

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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.