Sensa Weight Loss System: Magic or myth?

by | Apr 29, 2019

Author: Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD

If you’re searching for fast weight loss, Sensa Weight Loss System would like you to believe that it has just the perfect type of product to help you get there with ease. The company’s tagline reads “Sprinkle. Eat. Lose Weight*” and promotional photos show participants happily eating all of the pizza they would like and still losing inches around the waist. On first glance, the Sensa Weight Loss System suggests that it’s possible to achieve weight loss without actually making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle. In fact, apparently all it takes is a sprinkle of their magic pixie dust (otherwise known as Sensa Clinical Sprinkles) on top of your favorite meal of complex carbohydrates and you’ll be losing weight in no time. Or that’s what Sensa would like you to believe anyway. But here’s where the kicker comes in…

Sensa’s main claim to fame is that their clinical sprinkles will block up to 350 calories per meal from being digested (where exactly do those calories go again?). And a result of those blocked calories, they further claim that their product has the potential to stimulate significant fat loss and help consumers to reshape their entire body. But if you take a closer look at the Sensa tagline, you’ll notice there is an asterisk at the end. It turns out that asterisk is there to let consumers know that the Sensa Clinical Sprinkles, and the claims made about that product, are not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The disclaimer that follows the asterisk also clearly states that “This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.” And since Sensa mainly targets consumers looking to lose weight quickly and easily, I suppose it’s not too surprising that their product isn’t intended to cure or prevent any diseases.

But what if I told you that there is another weight loss program out there that does have the potential to help prevent diet-related chronic diseases like diabetes and help you lose weight all at the same time? Even better yet, what if I told you that these claims were supported by scientific studies that have been published in credible publications like the Journal of Medical Internet Research? Would you be interested in hearing more about this program that has the potential to help you stop dieting and lose weight for good? If so, keep reading, and by the end of this article I’ve got no doubt that you’ll have all of the reasons you need to say goodbye forever to fad diet supplements like Sensa and say hello to long lasting behavior change with Noom.

Sensa Weight Loss System: Four Amazing Facts or Four Absurd Fallacies?

We know that the Sensa system mostly revolves around the Sensa Clinical Sprinkles. But let’s take a closer look at exactly how the product works. On their website, Sensa makes the following four claims about their clinical sprinkles:

  1. It blocks calories, lowering your overall calorie intake, so you can stress less about counting calories, and enjoying your favorite meals while reducing body fat and losing weight
  2. It suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you feel more satisfied and full, even while you’re losing weigh
  3. The all-new scientifically validated Sensa Clinical weight-loss system blocks up to 350 calories per meal when used as directed
  4. Sensa Clinical means loss with no complicated diet plan, and no changes to your exercise routine… even when you eat as many as 2,000-2,00 calories per day, including your favorite high complex carbohydrate foods

How far will these claims actually take you though? Sure, in theory, having the ability to alter your hormones and easily block calories while still being able to eat anything and everything you wish sounds pretty tempting. And clearly Sensa wants you to think that it’s just that easy. But zoom in on amazing fact #3 for just a moment and you’ll notice that in order to block the full 350 calories per meal, you’ve got to use this product “as directed”–which means simply sprinkling a Sensa Clinical package on top of your foods, right? Wrong! Remember that little disclaimer at the bottom of their website that I mentioned earlier? Well if you take a close look at the fine print, it clearly states that the sprinkles must also be used in conjunction with a 2,000-2,000 calorie per day diet plan that Sensa will provide. Aha! Things are beginning to make a bit more sense now.

Could it be that this lower calorie diet you must also follow is the actual driving force behind the weight loss that Sensa users sometimes experience? And why doesn’t Sensa advertise this as main component of the program? If you were to quickly scan their website or look over their product packaging, it’s not made very clear that dietary changes will also be necessary. To top it off, amazing fact #4 even states that no “complicated” diet plan is required. But from the sound of things, it seems like there is probably just one single 2,000-2,200 calorie meal plan offered by Sensa. So what if that one plan doesn’t meet your own personal dietary needs and preferences? Is this plan really going to be as simple as it seems?

The questions are really beginning to pile up here. But before I tell you more about how Noom could be your solution to this dilemma with an approach that includes both nutrition and psychology, there’s one more looming question that we’ve got to try and answer here… can Sensa and their claims even be trusted to begin with?  

The Long and Misleading History of Dr. Alan Hirsch and Sensa

You might be wondering by now where a product that is (supposedly) as amazing as the Sensa Clinical Sprinkles came from in the first place. The product was initially developed by Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, IL. And for just about as long as his product has been on the market, Dr. Hirsch and Sensa have been making headlines. But not for the reasons you might think. No, people weren’t praising the product or discussing what an amazing scientific breakthrough this has been. Instead, people have been questioning the validity and truthfulness of Sensa’s claims for years now. For example, Sensa mentions in a few places on their website that their product is backed by scientific research and clinical trials. Yet the company provides no actual link to, or evidence of, any such research.

In 2014, some of these questions were finally answered when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forced Sensa to refund consumers a sum of $25.6 million dollars for their deceptive advertising claims. Or in other words, their product was identified as a sham and they had been lying to consumers all along. At this point in time, Sensa had been claiming that their original sprinkle formula would enhance the taste and smell of various foods, thereby filling up consumers faster and leading to significant weight loss. Now in 2018, Sensa has “revamped” their original formula to supposedly suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin and “block” calories. Yet even under the new ownership of dietary supplementary specialists Voss Laboratories, many of the same questions still remain. Sensa still cannot provide evidence of research to support their claims, and the website doesn’t even provide an ingredient list of what the Sensa Clinical Sprinkles are actually made of.     

Now I’ve got to admit, it’s not unusual to see Noom in the news either. But it won’t be for lying to its consumers or making false claims. Rather, you might hear all about Noom’s research-tested and approved calorie-tracker, the app’s award-winning digital design, or it’s approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a recognized diabetes prevention program. So how does Noom manage to do it without the help of magic pixie dust or weight loss sprinkles? Let’s find out…   

The 4 Pillars of Noom

It turns out that there is in fact one similarity between Noom and Sensa. Just as Sensa claims to have “4 Amazing Facts” about their supplement sprinkles, Noom’s Healthy Weight program can also be described by its four distinct features. But here’s the difference–Noom won’t try to sell you on a bogus product that isn’t even intended to help you maintain your weight loss progress in the long run. Instead, Noom will provide you with the tools, resources, and support that you need to learn how to make the healthy lifestyle changes that make the most sense for you and your individual circumstances. And did I mentioned that each of these features is easily accessible from your mobile device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Here’s exactly what you can expect:

  1. Logging Features – In the Noom app, you can log your weight, calorie intake, and exercise activity on a daily basis. In addition, an in-app pedometer will track your daily steps count.
  2. Daily Curriculum – For each day that you are enrolled in the Noom program, you’ll receive information on evidence-based psychology and nutrition concepts, tools, and techniques that will help put you one step closer towards your goals.
  3. Individual Health Coaching – Each and every person that subscribes to the Noom app will receive their own personal health coach to work with one-on-one. Whether it’s related to food choices, exercise habits, or one of the psychology concepts you’ve learned about in the app, your coach will help you identify and overcome barriers that are getting in the way of you and your goals.
  4. Peer Support – Each Noom subscriber is also placed into a peer support group. Each group is led by a health coach and provides a space where subscribers can discuss the new concepts they’ve been learning, brainstorm together, and lean on each other for support.

What’s the cost? Noom vs. Sensa Weight Loss System

Hopefully by now you are beginning to see that with the availability of credible programs like Noom, it just doesn’t make much sense to try something like Sensa instead. I mean really… at this point should we just begin to call it “senseless” rather than Sensa? But just in case you are still on the fence, I’ve got one last point that might help you hop on over to Noom.

In order to get started with the Sensa Weight Loss System, you can expect to pay $59.99 for an initial 30-day supply of Sensa Clinical Sprinkles. Or you can opt-in to a recurring monthly subscription for $47.99 per month. Now remember, Sensa is only intended to be used while you are actually losing weight–it’s not a product that can be used for weight maintenance as well. So what happens after your 30 day supply runs out? Well, chances are that you’ll quickly regain that weight since you didn’t learn any actual techniques for keeping it off long-term, and eventually you’ll probably find yourself forking up another sixty dollars for a new 30-day supply of sprinkles.  

On the other hand, Noom offers a variety of different subscription options, ranging from about $16 to $59 per month depending on how long you would like to commit for, in order to help accommodate the unique needs of each subscriber. Whether you are looking to utilize the program for months and make some really big lifestyle changes, or whether you are simply in need of a little extra accountability for a few weeks, there’s an option for everyone. And the best part is, if you still aren’t convinced, you can try out the entire app for a full 14 days at the low cost of just $1 and see for yourself.