We take a closer look to see if Sensa works or whether it’s another free trial scam?
FTC Charge Sensa for false advertising.
Read more in our Sensa investigation here.
- Claims you can lose more than 30 pounds
- No need to swallow any pills
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- Numerous consumer complaints
- May take a long time to work
- Questionable long-term benefits
- Some side effects reported
- Sensa developed by Dr. Alan Hirsch, also called the Sprinkle Diet
- Lots of media attention featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, CNN, Fox News and Time magazine
- Lots of complaints about the “Sensa FREE trial”
The Sensa website is well designed and shows the slim and attractive reporter and newscaster Dayna Devon on the home page. You get to see her again prior to signing up to the “free trial” in a video where she extols the virtues of Sensa!
Sensa has been developed by Dr Alan Hirsch who has a background in Neurology and Psychiatry, specialising in the treatment of patients who have lost their sense of smell and taste. With a commercial background in improving the sensory experience of products on the market, he has used his expertise to develop Sensa.
We were unable to get hold of a sample of Sensa for our review, not for the lack of trying. So instead we conducted online research using the official website, the known Sensa ingredients, consumer reviews and whether any complaints exist about the product or company.
We did our usual background checking into the company behind Sensa looking for complaints, we found quite a few! A large number of the complaints are based on what is claimed to be a misleading free trial, where consumers have found their accounts to be debited $89.95 and more. We have listed links to reports of consumer complaints and scams below.
- Sensa Starter Kit 2-month free trial is an auto-billing programme that has numerous consumer complaints
- Fairly expensive at $59.95 per month
- Questions as to how effective the Sprinkle Diet really is!
What Does Sensa Claim To Do?
Sensa claims you can continue to eat your favourite foods and still lose 30 pounds or more without dieting.
The Sensa website goes further to claim that …
You can continue to eat all your favorite foods and still lose weight. Just sprinkle SENSA onto your meals and snacks to safely and effectively lose weight without feeling deprived. It’s weight-loss made simple.
So What Is Sensa and What Are The Ingredients For Sensa?
Sensa is unlike anything else on the market and comes in powder form that is sprinkled over your food prior to eating. The idea is to enhance the smell of the food by using sweet and salty flavoured “Tastants” that trigger the satiety receptors in the brain. By triggering the receptors earlier you eat less as you simply don’t feel hungry. A nice idea that could mean that you can continue to eat the foods you enjoy without eating too much!
In terms of the amount of “Tastants” sprinkled over your food, this depends on the size of the meal. You use just prior to eating, not during preparing or cooking your meal.
Sensa includes a proprietary blend that doesn’t reveal the exact ingredient amounts. They are keen to promote that it’s sugar free, sodium free and that are no stimulants are used.
So let’s take a look at what is in Sensa:
- Maltodextrin (Derived from Corn from the USA):: Made from corn starch and commonly used as an easily absorbed food additive. Frequently used as an artificial sweetener.
- Tricalcium Phosphate: A calcium salt commonly used in powdered spices, nutritional supplements, porcelain, dental powders and in antacids. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricalcium_phosphate)
- Silica: Also known as silicon dioxide.
- Natural and Artificial Flavors: Alter the flavor of foods. Most artificial flavorings are derived from petroleum. Both have been suggested to be avoided if possible.
- Soy and Milk: Good source of protein and linked to numerous health benefits.
So What Does All This Mean?
Similar to how you would use salt and pepper on your meals you sprinkle the Sensa on your food prior to eating. You don’t change your eating pattern at all and the sprinkles should reduce consumption without you doing anything else.
By the look of the ingredients Sensa appears to be a low-calorie artificial sweetener! There could be mild changes in the taste of your foods, although Sensa claim it’s enhanced.
Does Sensa Have Any Side Effects?
All the ingredients in Sensa are considered safe some consumers have reported side effects. These include; mild headaches, sore mouth, increased blood pressure, diarrhoea and stomach discomfort.
Caution: Sensa is only recommended for adults and medical advice is suggested for anyone with diabetes, high blood pressure or breastfeeding mothers.
Any Sensa Reviews From Customers?
Consumer reviews for Sensa have been VERY NEGATIVE with some complaining of “false advertising” and claiming it’s a “scam”! This is seen by Sensa Amazon reviews which are over 70% rated at just 1 star (as of 18th June 2012).
There have been no less than 95 complaints filed on the Rip-off report website for Sensa mostly concerning consumers unable to get their money back.
Trust and popular consumer feedback website “Complaints Board” also have a number of negative Sensa complaints and reviews:
Again most consumers are suggesting that Sensa is a scam with the NOT SO FREE “free trial” offer.
So Does Sensa Work?
The science behind Sensa is based on years of research by the founder Dr Alan Hirsch. So the question is can Sensa really help you to eat less and lose weight?
The first study of Sensa used 1,436 men and women to sprinkle the “tastest” crystals on food without changing their dietary or exercise pattern for 6 months. The treatment group lose on average 30.5 pounds (around 15% of their total body weight) in comparison to the control group that only lost 2 pounds.
A second double-blind, placebo-controlled study by an independent laboratory found similar results as the first study.
These studies suggest there is compelling evidence that Sensa actually works!
This isn’t the complete story though, as according to video news on the ABC 20/20 programme there is some dispute as to these claims that the research present by Dr Hirsch has been peer reviewed. The Endocrine Society claimed to have peer reviewed his work were…
… surprised and toubled by the promotional nature of his presentation.
Watch the ABC 20/20 video here.
Some scientists have disputed the evidence that Sensa works.
Following this feedback, many consumers who have used Sensa have suggested it is a waste of time.
Where Can I Buy Sensa?
Sensa is available from the official website directly from $59.95 per month or using their “Try Sensa FREE” 2-month programme where you pay $4.95 for shipping and handling – it would seem they are keen to promote the free trial over individual purchases.
Numerous consumers have complained about the free trial you are advised to read the small print closely!
Free trial alert! To buy Sensa you are required to sign up to the “free trial” offer but it is NOT FREE. If you do not cancel within 30 days you will be billed $89 at the end of 30 days. By keeping the 2-month starter kit you are automatically enrolled into the autoship delivery programme and billed $89.95 every 60-days until you cancel!
The Sensa Sprinkle Diet is a novel one and may appeal to consumers who dislike taking pills and wish to change their dietary habits. The problem is there are questions over its effectiveness and whether this approach can really change dietary habits.
Sensa are operating primarily a free trial subscription programme that automatically charges you for the product IF you fail to cancel in time. We really dislike this approach to marketing supplements, as it tricks many consumers into paying out huge sums of money, often struggling to cancel when they discover the payments.
Credit card companies and consumer groups also really disapprove of “free trials” because of the huge number of consumer complaints and refunds this causes.
The number of consumer complaints, question over how effective the Sprinkle Diet is, we have no choice but to reject Sensa.