Remedy or Rip off?: Skinny Water

Posted by Admin on July 13, 2006
We’re all looking for that great answer to weight loss. Oh there are a lot of remedies; some come in pill form, and some in a bottle. In this week’s Remedy or Ripoff report, we look at a new water--that’s right, water--that claims to burn fat. So wouldn’t it be great if all you had to do was drink a bottle of water three times a day and –poof!—your waistline shrinks, your flab disappears—even better than plain old diet and exercise alone. Oh, and it’ll lower your bad cholesterol! And it’ll raise your good cholesterol!

That’s what the folks who sell Skinny Water say it does. “Introducing the first water specifically enhanced for weight management. Jana Skinny Water,” claims its ad. “A recent clinical study at the Georgetown University medic al center showed after eight weeks, an average weight loss of ten pounds,” the announcer on the Jana promotional video states.

Wait a second. The data they cite on the website is done by Dr. Harry Preuss of Georgetown But did he study Skinny Water? “I hate to talk to about Skinny Water because I really don’t know much about Skinny Water,” Dr. Preuss told us. Nope, no studies on Skinny Water. So how do they make that weight loss claim—and a fat burning and appetite suppression claim also?

 Well, Dr. Preuss studied something called citramax, which the label says is infused into the water. And while this isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, let’s presume it is in the water…in the amount listed. Dr. Preuss, who believes citramax works, gave us a complete review of the literature he compiled on hydroxycitric acid, the supposed active ingredient in citramax.

The largest study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows among 84 patients, there was no significant difference in weight loss compared to placebo. But what about the two studies quoted in the skinny water literature and website that dr. Preuss performed? There were only 30 patients put on hydroxycitric acid alone—total when you combine the two studies.

“How many subjects was the product tested on? And that’s really key, if it’s a study with less than a hundred people, it’s going to be insignificant,” says Tina Fuches, Certified Dietician with St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers. Chris Durkin, President and CO of Creative Enterprises, the distributor of Skinny Water, says it does help people lose weight. “It’s three times more effective than exercise and diet alone,” he says.

 Big claim! But here’s a bigger one! On the skinny water website, it says citramax, and thus, skinny water, lowers the total and the bad cholesterol, and the triglycerides, and raises the good cholesterol. “It hasn’t been tested in a controlled environment, but there has been some pretty positive anecdotal information about that,” states Mr. Durkin.

Wait, I thought Dr. Preuss’ research, cited all over the website was the controlled environment. Anyway, does it do all that for cholesterol? “You know I don’t see how they can say that, again you would need definite longer term studies to show that and I don’t see why that would do that,” says Fran Grossman, certified dietician at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

“No, I’m not sold on skinny water,” says Ms. Fuches. Neither is the FDA. We asked them about the skinny water claims and they sent us this statement: “A claim about lowering LDL cholesterol levels would be a disease claim. Therefore we will refer the information you provided to the appropriate individuals in the FDA for further action.”

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