10 Ways to Identify False Advertising


As a consumer, you have the right to receive clear, truthful and non-misleading information. It’s easy to be misled about the accuracy of products to treat type 2 diabetes due to false advertising. According to the Federal Trade Commission in the United States, people invest large amounts in health products and treatments that have not always been proven to be effective. Many times, these products not only do not meet the expectations of what is advertised but can also represent a health risk.

In 2015 Cofepris, the body of the Ministry of Health in Mexico in charge of regulation, verification and sanitary development to protect the health of the Mexican population, took down over three thousand “miracle” product websites for violating advertising rules.

Before you respond to an ad that may be too good to be true, here are 10 ways to identify false advertising on products that claim to treat type 2 diabetes and related health conditions. 

10 Ways to Identify False Advertising

1. A product that claims it’s a “cure” 

Be wary of products that claim to cure a wide range of serious conditions that are unrelated to each other, for example, those products that claim to cure cancer, corns and diabetes. To date, there is no product that treats all ailments and conditions. Also, there is still no treatment to “cure” diabetes. If you have doubts about the type of product you see advertised, it is best to consult with your team of healthcare professionals. Remember that there are no silly questions and that on the contrary, the more you ask the more information you will have.

2. Personal testimonials

Personal testimonials are difficult to verify, particularly because the patient’s name may be omitted. Also, beware of actors playing health professionals in advertisements for some product. If you have questions about the product, ask your healthcare team about it and look for data about the product in question. 

When people with diabetes who use different technologies share their experiences, their testimonies are a source of valuable information especially if there is information about the seriousness of the pharmaceutical company or manufacturer. However, similarly above, it’s recommended you ask your healthcare team about treatment options based on testimonials you’ve heard. 

3. Photographs from before and after using the product

Generally, this tool is used by weight loss products. The truth is that it would be very difficult to verify that these people managed to lose weight by “only” using the advertised product. Remember that nowadays there are image editing resources that can “slim” people down but only in photographs.

4. Quick solutions

Be suspicious of those products that claim to be a quick cure, especially regarding serious and chronic conditions. Even with proven treatments, few conditions can be cured quickly. Be careful with products that say “in a short time, in a few days.” It is common for these types of advertising for products to use ambiguous language to escape legal battles.

5. Natural products

Don’t be fooled by this term. In some miracle products, the term natural makes you believe that the product is harmless and safer than some proven pharmaceuticals. These teas, herbs, or supplements may be good for you but you should always ask your doctor if it is okay to use them. Finally, check the ingredients of the label and research some of the ones listed on the label. 

6. Products offered in mass emails

Be careful with the sources you consult and the emails you receive! Many of them offer cures and medications for diabetes. Large pharmaceutical companies rarely distribute or promote their products by email, and when they do, they use reliable websites and sources. The difference between a miracle product and medication is that the latter requires a long research and testing process that lasts about 10 years.

7. Miraculous treatments

Products that include phrases such as “miracle cure”, “unique product” and “new discovery” on their label are highly suspicious. If a drug were a real cure for a serious condition like diabetes, then it would be announced in medical journals, television and prescribed by medical specialists.

8. Distribution site

Be careful with medications and products that are sold in markets, street markets and street vendors. Diabetes products and treatments that have proven effective are only sold in pharmacies and indoor stores. If you have any doubts about any treatment or medication that is sold in street markets or markets, ask your doctor.

9. The first 100 calls will get an attractive discount

Although it would not be a bad idea to receive discounts from time to time, products with fluctuating prices raise suspicion. Avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

10. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations

It may sound like a broken record, but the truth is that the ones who know the most about diabetes are the diabetes professionals. Do not stop your treatment without guidance from your healthcare provider. If you think your current diabetes care plan isn’t working, please consult them and discuss other treatment options. 

Remember, one of the best ways to track how your management routine is working for you is by testing your blood glucose. The numbers your meter shows will give you and your team of healthcare professionals the information of how you are responding to therapeutic measures and will influence what new guidance your provider may recommend. 

WRITTEN BY Mariana Gómez , POSTED 07/17/20, UPDATED 12/13/22

Mariana has a degree in psychology and a diabetes educator. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the 80's. In 2008, Mariana started a blog where she shares her life experience with others and topics related to life with diabetes and emotional health. Mariana worked for the Mexican Diabetes Federation until 2012 and today she is project manager at Beyond Type 1. She is the mother of a teenager.