How We Fact Check:
Our Review Guidelines
LAST MODIFIED: June 28, 2019
Because earning your trust is critical to us, we’d like to share how we create content that’s accurate, timely and trustworthy.
All DietSpotlight reviews go through an extensive review process to ensure factual accuracy. This review process includes bringing in dietitians, nutritionists and medical doctors to help Dietspotlight stand out as a source of authoritative, reliable reviews on weight-loss products and programs.
Since we launched in 2008, we’ve authored and published over 2,500 long-form articles and written in-depth reviews on over 10,000 weight-loss products and programs. Our goal is to treat our readers, staff members, partners, vendors and article sources fairly and openly, and to be judged to be doing so. Our reputation depends on this, as so do the professional reputations of our colleagues.
We fund the operation of this site through our partnership with Noom, a program we believe is among the most comprehensive and effective for helping people lead healthier lives. Less than 10% of our revenue comes from the sale of Burn TS, our own premium supplement with ingredients backed by science.
We offer clear and conspicuous Advertising Disclosures throughout the site, making clear connection to the products we sell. It should be noted we receive no “kick-backs”, free product or compensation of any kind from any products we review.
The purpose of our reviews is to inform our readers about:
(1) Thousands of new and existing products and programs designed to help people lose weight and/or lead a healthier life.
(2) Various features of a given product or program, including ingredients, quality (where manufactured, whether tested for purity & potency, etc.), customer success stories, any collaboration with experts, price, potential side effects, directions, where to purchase and background on the company.
(3) Products that are similar to the product in which they’re interested.
(4) The science (or lack thereof) behind each ingredient.
(5) Whether the product or program features a comprehensive approach to helping people lose weight.
(6) Any scams, lawsuits, product recalls, regulatory action or fraudulent activity associated with a product or program.
(7) What DietSpotlight visitors and users around the web (e.g. somebody who has posted a review on that product on Amazon) are saying about the product.
We also feature in-depth videos reviews of hundreds of popular products, programs and diets. The photo below shows our colleague, Dominick Truncoso, recording a product review in the Dietspotlight Studio.
Find below the criteria our writers use to author, edit and publish reviews. It should be noted these are only a set of guidelines. The degree to which each reviewer adheres to these guidelines depends on a range of factors, including that person’s unique research methodology and writing style, as well as the type of product or program the person is reviewing.
Product details includes a clear list of ingredients and accurate labeling; information on where and how the product was manufactured or formulated; and comprehensive support for claims associated with the product.
The nature of the ingredients – and the purity and quantity of each ingredient – in a supplement is critical to revealing whether the product delivers on the claims made by the company.
To research ingredients, we access information produced by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, such as searches of MEDLINE/PubMed, databases that index medical research literature and ClinicalTrials.gov, the database of clinical research studies conducted at the National Institutes of Health and many other institutions worldwide.
We also rely on sites such as Google Scholar, WebMD, Wikipedia, Food and Drug Administration and Nutrition.gov. Feel free to download a detailed spreadsheet of many of the resources we reference in creating our reviews.
Scientific studies on weight-loss and other health supplements follow a hierarchy in terms of the evidence and quality they provide. As a result, in our ingredient research we look for the “Gold Standard” of studies, which is the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled (RDBPC) study on human beings that ultimately supports the product claims made by a company. Needless to say, the more RDBPC studies support an ingredient, the better.
Potential Side Effects
Instead of focusing on the specific product formula, we look closely at the specific product ingredients – and amounts of each ingredient – to determine possible side effects.
It should be noted we don’t accept anything of value from companies or from their PR firms, period.
In order to understand the company behind a given product, we look at the history of the company and product. For example, has the company been rated by agencies such as the Better Business Bureau? If so, how many positive, negative and neutral reviews? How many customer complaints? What year was the company founded? Is information about the company – including contact information and executive biographies – easy to access?
In addition, we look to social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), the company’s official website, customer forums, and other reputable resources on the web.
It’s important that a diet program is as comprehensive as possible. In light of this, we look at whether the company first states clearly that diet and exercise are a key element of any successful weight-loss program. Then we find out whether the program or product incorporates key elements of losing weight and keeping it off such as features that encourage exercise and a healthy diet. Therefore, we review products and programs more favorably when they offer product features such as:
- Healthy, customizable meal planning accessible from any device. Should have ability to include easy-to-follow recipe instructions for each meal and grocery-shopping lists. A plus if the meal plans include the ability to get multiple alternatives in the event they don’t like the first option.
- Customizable, on-demand fitness videos taught by professional trainers.
- Library of tools and strategies (either delivered via text or video) designed to help optimize long-term nutrition and wellness.
Is the user experience in line with product claims? How do users rate their experiences? Our review of customer experience is not limited to good, bad or neutral. We examine a broad range of reviews and report accordingly.
Collaboration with Experts
It is always a good sign if the company has collaborated with licensed nutritionists, dietitians or medical doctors to develop their system or product.
Here at Dietspotlight our articles are medically reviewed by nutrition and diet experts such as Anthony Dugarte MD, Devon Golem RD, Erin Peisach, RDN, Roxanne Moore RDN, Natalie Rizzo RD, Danielle Omar RDN, and Arlene Semeco RDN.
Our reviewers look favorably upon companies that offer customer success success stories (which can include testimonials and before/after photos) to support the effectiveness of their product or system.
What is the cost of the product? With supplements, what is the cost per serving? How does that cost compare to that of competitors?
If a customer doesn’t have the experience they expected with a product, is there a clear return/refund policy? How long is the return policy in effect from time of purchase? What costs will the customer incur if the product is returned?
Though our reviewers make every effort to follow the above guidelines, our researchers deviate from this process from time to time depending upon the unique aspects of each product.
For example, for the products whose reviews collectively account for much of our traffic, we purchase and take possession of that product to write a more in-depth review.
It should be noted that all views expressed on this website are purely our own. For more information, see our medical disclaimer.
If you would like to suggest additional information we might consider when researching our articles and reviews, please contact us.
Many of our pieces reference at least ten authoritative sources, are vetted for accuracy and incorporate quotes from direct interviews with nutritionists and dietitians. Visit our About Us page to view members of our Editorial, Wellness, Contributor and Advisory teams.
Our articles contain a number of in-text citations. These citations are numbered and each is hyperlinked to the relevant page on an external website. Our main sources include:
Feel free to download an exhaustive spreadsheet of the sources we cite in creating our articles reviews.
In the course of our product reviews in particular, we’ve developed a process based on evaluating clinical research, user comments and other publicly available information. Of course, we combine all this with our own expert opinion. It should be noted that all views expressed on this website are our own- or those of the experts we call on for quotes, research and content creation. Please see our medical disclaimer for more information.
Our team strives for accuracy, but sometimes we miss things- and we love it when readers help us. The easiest way to submit a correction is to simply leave a comment at the bottom, after the article in question. You can also reach us through our contact page.
At Dietspotlight we encourage readers to leave comments on reviews. However, any comments containing profanity, threats, hate speech and/or self-promotion, among other issues, are not tolerated and may be edited or removed. In addition, please note that we reserve the right to admit or deny any comment that is submitted. Opinions tend to generally be protected, but we try our best to not approve comments with false or misleading claims.