12 Investigates: Diet Dust - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

12 Investigates: Diet Dust

For millions of Americans, weight issues and obesity are two things that haunt them when they wake up in the morning and again when they go to bed at night.  Everyone knows they should diet and exercise, but for some, it's not always that easy.

Kenny Hitt, Shari Stuerenberg and Amanda Leaseburg are a lot like many of Americans who are looking to shed extra pounds and get down to a healthy weight.  Hitt says he's been struggling with obesity his entire life, and Leaseburg says she's worried that as she gets older, the pounds won't be as easy to shed.

"I know that sounds bad," shared Stuerenberg, "But self admittedly, I'm not very motivated to eat right and exercise."

This is where Sensa enters the picture.  It is a self-proclaimed diet revolution, declaring it will help the pounds fall off with a magic diet dust that is sprinkled on food.  Dr. Alan Hirsch, the developer of the product, says the idea is simple.  The dust makes the user feel they have eaten more than they really have.

"With Sensa, what it does is enhance the smell and taste of the food," Hirsch explained.

The product costs a whopping $235 for a six-month supply on its website, but is it safe?  Kelly Snow, a registered dietician, says she doesn't see one appetite suppressant in its list of ingredients.

"It scares me," Snow said.  "I can't explain it as a dietician." 

Snow says she feels uneasy recommending the product to her patient due to the confusing list of ingredients on the Sensa box.

"There will always be cynics," admitted Sensa's developer, who stands by his product's claim.  "The problem is America is facing an epidemic of obesity.  Telling people to eat less and exercise more isn't working.  With Sensa, we're helping people eat less and lose weight."

So could millions be exercising to lose weight for no reason at all?  Is the secret really in the sprinkles?

Hitt, Stuerenberg and Leaseburg volunteered to weigh in and let WMBF News follow their weight loss progress over the next six months as they test the sprinkles to see if the product really can shed pounds.

"I thought if I took the challenge and came out public with it, then it could be some motivation," said Leaseburg.

Steurenberg, on the other hand, hopes she'll come out a different person in six months.  Hitt is taking a different route with the program, combining the sprinkles, diet and exercise as a participant in the "Choose to Lose" program in Myrtle Beach.

"Personally, I don't think I'll lose any more weight than on my diet and exercise plan," predicted Hitt.

After a month of using the sprinkles, the results aren't consistent.  Steurenberg has gained two pounds, while Leaseburg lost two pounds and Hitt shed 15.  All three will continue to sprinkle for the next six months.

©2009 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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