The Truth About Hoodia, 60 Minutes, and the BBC Reports

I’ve been researching and writing about hoodia supplements for over a year now and I can’t believe I haven’t written an article about hoodia, 60 minutes, and the BBC reports. What sparked my interest in finally writing this story was because I was fed up with all the bogus 60 minutes and BBC endorsements of specific hoodia diet pills.

Visit almost any website that is selling or promoting hoodia supplements and you’ll likely see the words prominently displayed, “As featured on” or “Endorsed by,” followed by the CBS 60 Minutes logo and the BBC logo. What you are led to believe is that the hoodia diet pill being promoted was featured or endorsed by these two media programs. Not only was a specific hoodia supplement not featured or endorsed by 60 minutes or the BBC, but no hoodia diet pill was tested or endorsed at all!

Leslie Stahl, a 60 Minutes reporter, featured a story on hoodia on November 21, 2004. Ms. Stahl traveled to the Kalahari Desert, where the hoodia gordonii plant is grown in the wild, and actually ate a small piece of the plant. She said after eating the plant she noticed a marked appetite suppressant quality. She said she wasn’t hungry all day. Ms. Stahl concluded that natural hoodia probably worked as an appetite suppressant.

That’s all she said about hoodia. 60 minutes did not endorse any specific hoodia supplement. The CBS program didn’t even feature a hoodia supplement to begin with! You would never know this unless you actually read the transcripts of the 60 minutes program yourself. Unfortunately, all too many hoodia sellers have capitalized on this story and have twisted it to their advantage to sell more of their products.

The BBC report is another example where hoodia sellers have taken a story and have spun it to their advantage. The BBC did a documentary on hoodia in 2003. Tom Mangold, a well-known BBC correspondent, also traveled to the Kalahari Desert to try the hoodia gordonii plant himself. Mr. Mangold and his camera man each ate a small piece of the plant. The pair reported that they, “did not even think about food” for the rest of the day. Even more amazing, they reported that they didn’t want breakfast the next morning and their appetite during lunchtime was nearly nonexistent.

Again, you’ll notice the BBC story did not even test a specific hoodia supplement, let alone endorse one. Just as Leslie Stahl had done in her 60 Minutes story, Tom Mangold of the BBC actually ate the plant itself. Neither reporter tried a specific hoodia product. And they certainly didn’t endorse a specific brand.

The next time you visit a website promoting or selling a hoodia supplement that claims their product was featured or endorsed by 60 Minutes and the BBC, immediately click to another website. Any company that is willing to misrepresent a media story so that it works to their advantage so they can sell more of their products obviously isn’t honest. If they aren’t willing to be honest about something as simple as the media coverage of hoodia on 60 Minutes and the BBC, how honest do you really think they are about the quality and authenticity of the product they are selling?