February 9, 2008

Say What?: Lip Service

I received a text message in all capitals (capped off with exclamation marks) from a friend this afternoon.

It certainly had all the makings of an emergency. Maybe a celebrity sighting?


I was told to Google "FUZE lip gloss", a product she had just seen at Sephora, the fragrance and cosmetics powerhouse.

Following her orders, I typed those three words into the search box and proceeded to roll my eyes so strongly I was afraid they would never stay still again.

Let me give you some background first.

As some of you may know, Coca Cola sells a low-calorie juice/tea beverage named Fuze (the target is adolescent females, hence the quirkly post-modern misspelling).

The newest variety is Fuze Slenderize -- a 10-calorie drink containing "slenderizing" vitamins and minerals available in six different flavors.

All six flavors contain L-Carnitine and Super Citrimax, "metabolism boosters."

Citrimax is actually the extract of a South Asian fruit named Garcinia cambogia.

The manufacturers of Citrimax claim their product "suppresses appetite and inhibits fat production."

There is mention of clinical trials proving this, but the only research I read found no difference between subjects taking Citrimax and a placebo.

In any case, the people behind Fuze (Coca Cola!) now sell "slenderizing lip gloss."

"Infused with the health, delicious fruit flavors and appetite curbing energy boosting ingredients found in FUZE Slenderize beverages. One delicious dab on the lips will give you a taste of what all the Hollywood starlets are losing it over! Always on the lips, never on the hips!" the press kit reads.

What poor intern was given the painful task of writing THAT?

The idea is that Citrimax is absorbed via your lips, thereby curbing your appetite. Well, hey, you can't say the Fuze folks aren't creative!

Ironically, the lip gloss comes in fruity flavors like blueberry-raspberry and strawberry melon. Wouldn't the taste of candy on someone's lips make them start thinking of food and feel hungry?

A much smarter -- and efficient -- strategy to help curb mindless snacking or eating out of boredom (rather than hunger) is to pop some gum in your mouth.

It's not about plant extracts, acai berry enzymes or "slenderizing" ingredients.

Rather, the chewing action and strong minty/cinnamon/fruity taste in your mouth can help stop you from picking up that Snickers bar at the supermarket checkout counter that you only want because it's six inches away from you.

I was initially going to post this as a "Shame On You: Coca Cola," but decided against it because the only people who should be ashamed are those who open their wallets for this product thinking it is a weight-loss aid.

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