Our Editorial Policy
LAST MODIFIED: 1/23/18
Our core purpose is to bring you high-quality, rigorously researched content across a range of topics related to weight loss and nutrition.
Since we launched in 2009, we’ve written over 2,500 long-form articles and authored 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 staff members.
Our staff 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.
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 availably 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 editorial group is guided by a set of evidence-based principles on how to lose weight and keep it off, as well as how to live a long, healthy life free of chronic disease. These guiding principles are:
- Minimize refined carbohydrates (ie eat a low-carb diet), highly processed foods, sugary beverages and other foods that raise insulin and/or cause chronic inflammation.
- Steer clear of the “calories-in, calories-out” model of dieting. If you’re like 95% of dieters who follow this approach, you’ll only be fighting a losing battle with your biology.
- Learn proven best practices such as:
- Aim to be at the livable, leanest end of your body’s natural set point so you can stop “dieting”, which has become a codeword for walking around frustrated, hungry and obsessed with food.
- Don’t make willpower a strategy for losing weight. In fact, research over the last fifty years shows willpower isn’t correlated with dieting success.
- Partner with your doctor and, if needed, other medical professionals such as a therapist.
- Exercise at least 30 mins/day. Walking is fine.
- Keep a food journal.
- Join a support group.
How We Fund Operations
Many websites in our category fund operations through third-party display (banner, native, etc) advertising or affiliate relationships. The issue with this model is the website operator often isn’t in control over whether the weight-loss product or system being advertised in fact helps users lose weight and keep it off.
In our case, we fund our business almost entirely through a voluntary membership to our own weight-loss system, Burn HD, which aligns with our science-based “Guiding Principles” above. Less than 10% of our revenue is generated from the sale of other of our own high-quality products, which includes Boost and a Dietspotlight-branded cleanse, probiotic and multivitamin.
In addition to clear and conspicuous commercial disclosures throughout the site, we even print “Dietspotlight” prominently on the front of the labels of all our products. It is impossible to purchase Burn HD, Boost or our other products without navigating through multiple pages featuring prominent photos of the front of our product labels. For more information, please see our disclosure page.
Guidelines for Writing Reviews
These are the basic guidelines our writers follow when creating reviews:
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.
Clinical 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.
First off, it should be noted we don’t accept things 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 (mainly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram); the company’s official website; customer forums; reviews and comments on Amazon.com and other e-commerce sites; trustworthy weight-loss review sites; and other reputable resources on the web.
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.
Some companies offer customers a trial offer to give the user a chance to see how they feel when taking a supplement before they make a bigger financial commitment.
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?
It’s important that a diet program is as comprehensive as possible. In light of this, we look at whether the company incorporates key elements for losing weight and keeping it off such as offering customized low-carb meal plans in order to minimize insulin levels.
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.
Moderation of User Comments
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.