Consumer Health Digest #05-19
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 10, 2005
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.
Sharp rise in physician disciplinary actions. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has announced that during 2004, the nation’s state medical boards took a total of 6,265 disciplinary actions, an increase of nearly 20% from 2003. The 2004 total included 5,502 “prejudicial” actions (revocations, suspensions, and reprimands). [Federation of State Medical Boards releases annual physician discipline report. FSMB news release, April 18, 2005] Many boards offer disciplinary details free-of-charge on their Web sites, a complete listing of which is available on the FSMB’s site under “State Medical Board Info.”
Consumer Reports compares popular diets. Consumer Reports magazine has compared the nutritional quality, dropout rate, and published studies of several popular diets that are intended for weight-control. [Rating the top diets. Consumer Reports 70(6):18-22, 2005] The editors concluded:
- Of six plans that have been scientifically studied, Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast, and the Zone (men's menu) got the best overall scores, and two phases of the Atkins diet finished last.
- Four other plans were nutritionally adequate but were not otherwise rated because published data are insufficient.
- The magazine's survey found that of nearly 8,000 of the most successful dieters, only 19% had ever attended a commercial program and fewer than one-third had consulted a popular diet book.
- There is no "best diet for everyone."
- The recommended strategies include: (a) first cut out the easiest calories (relatively non-nutritive foods, such as sugared soft drinks; and (b) consider personal food preferences in choosing the plan to follow.
Australian agency head concerned about juice bar claims. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Graeme Samuel has announced that his agency will target misleading claims about alleged nutritional, health, and therapeutic benefits of certain ingredients in juice products. He said that his agency is particularly concerned about the growing use of health claims to promote fruit juice, smoothie, and related juice products sold in juice bars. He said that claims have been made about ingredients that may not exist, cannot be substantiated or may adversely impact on consumers or their diet. [ACCC warns fruit juice industry on misleading claims. ACCC news release, May 9, 2005]
This page was posted on May 10, 2005.