FTC: Companies advertising popular dietary supplement chromium picolinate can't substantiate weight loss and health benefit claims, says FTC
November 7, 1996
The Federal Trade Commission today announced settlements with three California companies charged with making unsupported claims about weight loss and health benefits for chromium picolinate, one of the hottest dietary supplements on the market. The FTC said that these claims must be backed with solid scientific evidence, but these were not.
Some have called chromium picolinate the "medical miracle of the 1990s." At issue are claims that most American diets lack adequate chromium and risk potentially serious health problems, and claims that chromium picolinate supplements burn fat, cause weight loss, increase muscle mass, reduce serum cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and treat or prevent diabetes. Chromium is a trace mineral that appears to play a role in insulin function. Chromium picolinate has found its way into many products, including chewing gum; total retail sales for chromium-based supplements are estimated to be $100 million a year.
"Consumers have a right to expect that claims that products will speed weight loss and improve health are based on solid scientific evidence, not preliminary or inconsistent findings," said Jodie Bernstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.