According to the Federal Trade Commission, the manufacturers of Sensa claim the product works by changing the smell and taste of food, thereby making users feel full faster. When people eat less due to Sensa's properties, they purportedly lose weight. The FTC criticized the false claims made by Sensa due to a lack of scientific evidence, and the agency fined the company $26.5 million for its deceptive practices.
Mayo Clinic explains that Sensa powders have strong aromas intended to change a person's appetite while eating. WebMD indicates flavors of Sensa powders include cheddar cheese, onion, taco, Parmesan cheese, cocoa, spearmint, raspberry and banana strawberry. The powdered flakes are made of flavors, maltodextrin, tricalcium phosphate and silica. Users simply sprinkle the flakes on normal foods without adding calories. The products are sugar-free, sodium-free and contain zero calories.
Mayo Clinic explains that an aroma patch is worn on the hand, wrist or chest. Scents are also inhaled through the nose before meals. Dr. Alan Hirsch, the developer of Sensa, cites a six-month study during which participants supposedly lost 15 percent of their body weight when they added flavors to foods. Another study, using the aromas alone, claims those participants lost 2 percent of their weight over six months.
Sensa claims to work without dieting and exercise, a tenet that does not have scientific backing due to limited trials. The FTC calls Sensa's methodology "bogus" and states that the product is ineffective.