The idea of losing weight by merely sprinkling a little powder on the food of your choice is the promise made by the Sensa Weight-Loss Program. Does it sound too good to be true? We'd like to hear from you!
For several years, the Sensa Weight-Loss Program has been a staple of late-night and early-morning television infomercials. This is where we see the promise that simply sprinkling a little Sensa on any food will trick your brain into thinking you’re full, thus allowing you to eat less and lose weight. It is promoted by Dr. Alan Hirsch, who is the founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.
Is it Clinically Proven?
Though the advertising and website claim that Sensa is “clinically proven” it should be noted that the studies they cite were sponsored by the powers behind Sensa, and the product has not been scrutinized by a full-fledged clinical trial or peer review. Sensa was in fact presented at a 2008 meeting, but that presentation was characterized as “promotional” in nature by the Endocrine Society, as reported by an ABC news report. Further, the studies by Dr. Hirsch were rather limited in scope and didn’t show if the weight stayed off or if there were any long-term issues associated with Sensa.
Eat What You Want Without Exercise?
The infomercial shows attractive men and women eating such food as giant slices of pizza, implying that a mere sprinkle of Sensa will allow you to eat anything guilt-free. Even if this were true, shouldn’t a sensible diet be included in any comprehensive weight-loss program? And what about exercise? Issues such as high cholesterol or diabetes certainly wouldn’t be aided by this “eat what you want” without exercising mentality. It also does nothing to re-train the person’s habits that led to weight gain in the first place. This means that if Sensa worked for them they would probably need to use it forever.
- WebMD quotes Pamela Peeke, MD, “This is not a magic bullet. There is no magic sprinkle. This isn’t even a diet,” says the diet and fitness expert.
- Out of 151 reviews on GNC. Sensa has a 3.5-star averages, while out of 81 reviews on Amazon, the product has a 2-star rating (or 2.5 stars for this variant). It is interesting that on both of these sites, the reviews tend to be 5-stars or 1-star, with few in between. Consumers seem to love it or hate it.
- An LA Times article from 2011 asked Adam Drewnowski, director of the nutritional sciences program at the University of Washington in Seattle his thoughts, and he claimed that there is “a credibility gap between such research and the results promised by Sensa.”
- The Wikipedia page on Dr. Hirsch states the following regarding Sensa: “None of the internal “studies” are confirmed by any respected body.”
This 2009 article entitled “Sensa Diet Smells Fishy to Me” lists the ingredients of Sensa as:
- Maltodextrin (corn starch)
- Tricalcium phosphate (”bone ash,” a source of calcium used in supplements and fortification, also acts as an anticaking agent, so it probably helps the crystals not stick together)
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Artificial color yellow #5 (the second most widely used coloring that causes allergic reations, according to CSPI)
- Carmine (the red coloring obtained from insects)
The infomercial for Sensa offers a 30-day trial for $9.99. Here at Waffles, we tend to shy away from “free trials” as consumers often forget to cancel in time and get hit with big unexpected charges. In a cursory search online, we found a 60-day supply of Sensa at GNC for $89.99 ($71.99 with a gold card), or a 30-day starter kit at Amazon for $33. Neither of those have the “free trial” gotcha factor.
The terms of the free trial for Sensa, as of 10/23/2012, are stated as:
You have a full 30 days to try your SENSA® 2-Month Starter Kit. If you enjoy SENSA®, do nothing and you will be billed for the 2-Month Starter Kit one low payment of $89.95 at the end of the free trial on 11/22/2012. That’s a 35% SAVINGS off the retail price! If you decide to keep your 2-Month Starter Kit, you will be automatically enrolled in our SENSA® AutoShip Delivery Service. As part of the SENSA® AutoShip Delivery Service, you will receive a fresh 2-month supply of SENSA® every 60 days at the low price of only $89.95 so you never run out. You will be charged this price every 60 days, billed to your credit card, plus $0.00 shipping and handling.
If for any reason during the 30-day trial period you are dissatisfied with your SENSA® product, simply log in to your account at mysensa.com or call Customer Care at (866) 514-2554 to cancel. You will need to generate a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number and return all open and unopened product. Any free gift is yours to keep.
Sensa is controversial to say the least. Its proponents have made nearly impossible to believe claims, while its detractors claim there is no concrete evidence that it works, and that you are basically paying big bucks to sprinkle simple corn starch on your food.
Have you tried Sensa? We’d like to hear from you. Tell us if you feel it worked for you, how long you used it, and any other info you’d like to share about it.