False Claims Are Tough to Swallow

February 7, 2012  |  Class Actions

You probably wouldn’t take a bite of a glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut then head to the gym for a workout.

But, according to a consumer class action lawsuit filed by Baron and Budd attorneys, if you drink Muscle Milk, you may as well. The benefits are similar – both are high in calories and saturated fat.

Deceptive labeling is at the heart of a class action lawsuit filed by Baron and Budd against Cytosport Inc., the makers of the popular Muscle Milk workout supplement.

Like Cytosport, many companies use ambiguous words on food labels such as nutritious, organic and "all-natural" to promote their products. Those words lure the customer into believing that they are buying a healthy product, when in fact, such words actually conceal the truth.

Baron and Budd also filed suit against Alexia Foods for making claims on its packaging that some products are "All Natural." This claim comes despite the fact that disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, a synthetic chemical preservative, is found many of its purportedly "all natural" products, including its "Sauté Reds," "Mashed Potatoes Yukon Gold Potatoes & Sea Salt," "Mashed Potatoes Red Potatoes with Garlic & Parmesan," "Waffle Fries," Harvest Sauté," "Italian Sauté," "Sauté Sweets," and "Potato Bites" products.

In recent years, misleading labels have claimed that a yogurt drink could strengthen immune systems, a cereal could boost attentiveness in children, and a dietary supplement could ward off the flu bug. The Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Trade Commission have limited resources, so they are unable to crack down on all of this bogus, deceptive labeling.

Fortunately, the FDA did warn Cytosport to stop using its Muscle Milk labels that claim the drink is "healthy." According to the Baron and Budd lawsuit, despite its prominently featured "healthy" claims, Muscle Milk is nothing more than fat-laden junk food.

Cytosport’s standard size Muscle Milk Ready-To-Drink contains the same amount of calories, and almost as much total fat and saturated fat as a Glazed Kreme Krispy Kreme doughnut. The Muscle Milk bars have more calories and more fat than a Chocolate Iced Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut. Muscle Milk bars contain other unhealthy ingredients like fractionated palmkernel oil.

And this same company claims that ingesting Muscle Milk will help consumers lose weight. "Go from cover it up to take it off," or "from frumpy to fabulous," its advertisements say.

Cytosport tells its consumers that Muscle Milk will "take the guesswork out of high performance nutrition.

"There’s no question you’re getting a nutritious snack," the company boasts.

The facts don’t support the company’s claims.

The FDA also challenged Cytosport by recently attacking the brand name itself. Muscle Milk isn’t milk at all, and should not be classified as such, the agency said. Muscle Milk is actually derived from milk ingredients including calcium and sodium caseinate, milk protein isolate and whey.

Just as appalling is the company’s claim that in order for users to receive the best "healthy" benefit, Muscle Milk should be consumed multiple times per day: 1.5 to 2 hours before training, 30 to 45 minutes after workouts, as a meal replacement, and in between meals as a snack.

While consumers should not believe everything they read on a label, it’s also important that companies stop preying on our desire to live a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, as a result of these predatory advertising tactics, that "healthy" shake you’re drinking could be as healthy as a bag of doughnuts, and that "all natural" product you are eating actually may contain industrial chemical preservatives. Class actions that hold companies accountable for such false representations are a focal point of Baron and Budd’s mission to protect consumers from deceptive advertising.

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