Solal – You Pulse Summer edition 2008 advert

In the recent You Pulse magazine, Summer Edition 2008, an advertisement was published by Solal making a number of unsubstantiated claims, and furthermore, run contrary to a number of the ASA regulations. 

The advert stated, among other:


Why your diet doesn’t supply enough micronutrients for health, disease prevention and long life.

 "Over the years the world's growing population, combined with a reduction in available arable land, has resulted in overuse of soils, in order to grow enough fruits and vegetables to feed the planet's population. As a result, fruit and vegetable quality has declined. Studies performed by the United States government USDA ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory show a sharp decline of up to 50% in many minerals, vitamins and other nutrients in fruits and vegetables over the past 100 years (Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 13). This applies to South Africa too. For example, South Africa has the lowest levels of soil-selenium in the world (selenium is a vital immune supportive and cancer-protecting mineral)."

Can you believe this?

Read on . . .This advert claims that a balanced diet is insufficient to supply an adequate supply of minerals, nutrients and vitamins, and that therefore, taking a mineral supplement is essential. In fact, there is no evidence to show that even if the nutrients in certain foods have decreased; that there are insufficient levels supplied in a balanced diet considering that a balanced diet oversupplies most of the nutrients required.

Indeed, an analysis of the data to which these claims relate, concluded:

“[W]e suggest that any real declines are generally most easily explained by changes in cultivated varieties between 1950 and 1999, in which there may be trade-offs between yield and nutrient content”.[1]

Furthermore, analytical methods have changed and that the new ones more accurately determine the target substance and not a whole lot of similar or related things. Fat, for e.g., was basically anything that was soluble in light petroleum ether, now it is more likely to be a specific tri-glyceride, eliminating the other "solubles" thus yielding a lower value!

[1] Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82.

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