A reader has brought to my attention of the release of a “new product”, SlimBetti.
In fact, the claims being made for SlimBetti Hoodia Gel, SlimBetti Thermo Advance and SlimBetti Fibreslim are very similar to those that were made for Slender Max products , and that the Advertising Standards instituted sanctions against. See the raft of ASA rulings against these products below.
In other words, the Grindlay’s first started making weight loss claims for Hoodia Slender Gel, and when the ASA ruled against the claims, continued but changed the name of the product to Slender Gel. Following a new ASA ruling, they changed the name to Slender Max and following further rulings, to Slimbetti – while continuing to make the same claims in spite of no evidence that they work.
Is there any evidence that the products don’t work? Firstly, it is not the requirement of consumers to prove a product does not work, but the seller to do so.
However: subsequent to the launch of the Grindllays products, Unilever, after spending 20 Million Euros on hoodia research, concluded that high doses taken orally had no effect on appetite suppression or weight-loss. The study was independently conducted and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study concluded: “In comparison with a matched placebo, the consumption of HgPE for 15 d appeared to be associated with significant adverse changes in some vital signs and laboratory parameters. HgPE was less well tolerated than was the placebo and did not show any significant effects on energy intakes or body weights relative to the placebo.” This study was communicated to the Grindlays through ASA correspondence.
Alternately: there is not a single study that shows that Hoodia has any beneficial effect when taken orally. And there is zero evidence that Hoodia is absorbed through the skin – only a handful of substances can be absorbed through the skin: there is zero evidence that hoodia can be. And how do the Grindlays know what the correct dose would be?
This has not dissuaded the Grindlays from making the claims for their Hoodia gel. Of note, there is low to zero Hoodia present in their gel – we tested the products. How is it that this is the only product in the world that claims that rubbing hoodia gel on your skin will result in weight-loss? If it worked, surely all other companies would jump on the bandwagon, including Big Pharmaceutical companies?
And now, in spite of a raft of ASA rulings, the Grindlays seek out magazines who are prepared to accept their adverts that claim that their product has “proven weight loss”. Their adverts also ask viewers to visit their website and to see their “clinical trials of their products and how they work”. Major lie, complete scam! No such trials have been peer-reviewed or published.
In a recent ASA ruling for a breach complaint laid with the ASA for their advert placed in Finesse magazine (and Glamour) (23rd September 2013), the ASA wrote to the Grindlay’s asking for a response, and as noted in the ruling: “. . . . the respondent advised that it had received the documentation, but had no desire to respond. It asked the Directorate not to disturb it again.”
Update 22 October 2013
What about Slimbetti Active Xtreme?
Today, 22nd October, Slimbetti posted to their website the opinion of Dr David Nye who they use to dupe consumers into believing that their product works. It states:
“I, Dr David Michel Nye, have been commissioned by the manufacturers and marketers of the Slimbetti range of products, to evaluate the evidence in holds in support of the efficacy of the product Slimbetti Active Xtreme.”
Dr Nye claims:
“… I am of opinion that there is adequate research published in peer-reviewed journals, to support the claims made for the product, namely ‘fat-burning, improved metabolism, appetite suppressant, aid in effective weight management and fat loss when used in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet’. Although the combination of constituents has not been clinically tested, there is little likelihood of adverse effects, as the individual ingredients are well tolerated. The benefits appear to exceed the advertised claims, as improvement in metabolic factors such as cholesterol levels, insulin resistance and leptins, etc, would be expected to have major health benefits, over and above the eight loss. The dosages of the Irvingia gabonensis and Camelia sinensis in the product are adequate to produce the desired effects”.
What Chris and Jasmine Grindlay does not tell you is that this evidence was provide to the ASA and rejected as inadequate as far back as the 28th February 2013! Why post it now, and in direct conflict with the ASA ruling? No remorse – is this is what scam artists do?
But here is the “sad” part – Dr Nye has sold his soul for two reasons:
1. Dr Nye has previously argued that the only way one could test the claims for these kinds of products “is with a properly conducted, placebo controlled, double blind clinical study“. Oops, big mistake.
2. Dr Nye, in spite of Slimbetti presenting his “impressive” CV, is no match for that of Prof Edzard Ernst and his colleagues (Onakpoya I, Davies L, Posadzki P) working at the department of Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom, who concluded in a peer-reviewed publication in March 2013, that “[D]ue to the paucity and poor reporting quality of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the effect of I. gabonensis (the main ingredient in this product) on body weight and related parameters are unproven. Therefore, I. gabonensis cannot be recommended as a weight loss aid. Future research in this area should be more rigorous and better reported.” In fact, a similar conclusion was reached by better qualified health professionals as far back as 2011 (if Dr Nye was half credible he would have been aware of this study) which stated and concluded “. . . Irvingia gabonensis appeared to be effective in weight loss via fat modifying mechanisms . . . however, the data on the use of these products is limited. Many obese people use dietary supplements for weight loss. To date, there is little clinical evidence to support their use. More data is necessary to determine the efficacy and safety of these supplements”, and “[D]ue to the limited data, Irvingia gabonensis cannot be recommended at this time.” [Full article here]
Similar conclusions have been reached for Green tea!
These are scam products, there is no proof that these products work, and in fact sufficient evidence that they don’t.
Doing a quick “whois” search on the website for SlimBetti shows that it belongs to a company called Water Berry Trading and the admin contact is Jasmine Grindlay with an email address: [email protected].
Jasmine Grindlay and her husband Chris Grindlay appear to have been motorbike salesmen in the UK before moving to South Africa, and reinventing themselves as weight-loss experts. From the money made from these scams, they now reside at 11 Fisherman’s Bend Road, Llandudno.
Why do I identify these individuals using photos and their address? This unusual step is to explicitly identify and link individuals responsible for these scam products with the company selling the products. It is my honest opinion that individuals who live in our society and abuse the trust and societal values of that society should be identified, held responsible, and shamed.
Besides laying a new complaint against this company with the ASA, I have also laid a complaint of fraud against these two with the National Prosecuting Authority.
See new postiing: http://www.camcheck. co.za/diet-drug-dodges-asa-again/
Update 08 April 2012:
Jasmine Grindlay now identifies herself as a Seta Certified Life Coach & Mentor, Hypnotherapy Trainer, NLP Practitioner, Human Behaviourist Facilitator (Tel: 072 444 8762 – Cell: 021 790 4198) at LinkUpWesternCape. She has also formed ThePipGroup company.
Update 04 June 2012
Jasmine Grindlay has been accepted as a member of Comensa (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa). I wrote to the organisation expressing my concerns that by accepting her membership, that they inadvertently give credibility to her name (“I would therefore assume that your organisation expects the highest levels of integrity of your members. Your members should be trustworthy and above reproach.”) The COMENSA National Ethics portfolio committee thought hard and long and then responded.
By implimenting a whois search, I can confirm that the same owners are involved in this range of products. At http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search / slimbetti.com the following information can be gleaned:
Water Berry Trading trading as Slimbetti
PO Box 700
Cape Town, 8060, ZA
The Grindlays have marketed their products under the following brand names: Hoodia, SlenderMax and Slimbetti.
Here are articles and ASA rulings against the Grindlays.
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