In a May 9th article entitled, 'Forget Losing Weight: Spas Dish out Burgers,' the Wall Street Journal reports that several famous destination and resort spas are understating the amount of fat and calories in their cuisine.

The article correctly recognized that spas have shifted focus away from a 'fat farm' mentality towards a focus on 'customer choice', and quotes Susie Ellis of Spa Finder stating 'The boot camp approach isn't what people want anymore.' But the article also points to slower spa industry growth and revenues as a deciding factor in the shift. The article states that average spa industry revenue growth 'has shrunk to 8% from 28% over the same time period and spa occupancy rates are down 6 percentage points from their peak three years ago.'

The most disturbing implication in the article is that spas are trying to dupe American spa-goers into eating more fat and calories. Out of 17 dishes tested by the Journal, the spas had under-calculated the calories by more than 10% in more than half the cases. (For example, the esclolar fish dish from Miraval claimed to be 430 calories and nine grams of fat and was analyzed to be 570 calories and 32 grams of fat)

It is view of the staff at SpaTrade that these spas never intended to mislead guests, and that a lack of internal control in the kitchen is the most likely culprit. 'Spa cuisine is very difficult to implement, and quality control is crucial,' says SpaTrade expert Cheryl Hartsough, a registered dietician who has developed spa cuisine programs in top spas worldwide.