TopSlim – No proof

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Posted 20 February 2014

A complaint was laid against the weight-loss claims of TopSlim. TopSlim also claimed to be supported, endorsed, or was based on the research of three professors. The advert claimed, among other:

  • Fast Weight Loss!
  • Scientifically proven
  • Based on the research of the most respected scientist in the world!
  • Fully tested in multiple double blind clinical studies over decades.

The complainant added that he has contacted the three experts identified in the advertising. Professor Stohs has come back to deny any knowledge of this product or the implication that he in some way endorses it. 

The owner of TopSlim appears to be Adam Turner, 76 Marley Rd., Rosebank, 7720.

TopSlim did not respond to the ASA and the ASA ruled against the advertising. The original complaint is posted at the end of the ASA ruling.

 

TopSlim / HA Steinman / 22898
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris A Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Adam Turner t/a Health and Weight International Respondent

06 Feb 2014

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6782

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against advertising appearing on www.topslim.co.za as well as in the Get It magazine and Die Tygerberger newspaper.

The complainant took issue with the following claims, which appears in the print advertisements as well as the respondent’s website:

• “Fast Weight Loss!”
• “Scientifically Proven”
• “Based on the research of the most respected scientist in the world”
• “Fully tested in multiple double blind clinical studies over decades.”

The advertisement depicts two women, one Cecile Davids from Mitchells Plain and one Reinette Groenewald from Krugersdorp.

The website explains that the product contains Garcinia Cambogia, and that it is the result of the combined research of a Professor Carl L Keen, Professor Preuss, and Professor Stohs.

COMPLAINT

The complainant is of the opinion that the claims are untrue and misleading to ordinary consumers. He explained that recent studies have debunked the original perception that Garcinia Cambogia has any effect on weight loss, satiety and hunger.

He added that he has contacted the three experts identified in the advertising. Professor Stohs has come back to deny any knowledge of this product or the implication that he in some way endorses it.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

The complainant identified Clause 4.1 of Section II (Substantiation) as relevant to his complaint.

RESPONSE

All reasonable steps were taken by the ASA Directorate to elicit a response from the advertiser, but the advertiser failed to respond.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the complainant. In the absence of a response from the advertiser, the Directorate had no alternative but to rule, based on the information before it.

Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code requires that advertisers hold substantiation for any direct or implied claims made in their advertisements.

The Directorate is of the opinion that the claims made, regarding the advertised product’s efficacy with regard to weight loss as well as it having been fully tested in multiple double blind studies, are clearly capable of objective substantiation as envisaged by the Code. However, despite being afforded an opportunity to engage the ASA and ultimately supply such substantiation, none was received from the respondent.

Based on the above, the claims “Fast Weight Loss!”, “Scientifically Proven”, “Based on the research of the most respected scientist in the world”, “Fully tested in multiple blind clinical studies over decades” are unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

In addition to this, the respondent has not provided any evidence to show that the medical experts identified in the advertising have endorsed or in some way contributed to this particular product,

Accordingly, the references to Professors Keen, Preuss and Stohs implying that they are in some way involved in, or endorse this product are currently unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

In light of the above, the respondent is required to:

withdraw these claims and the relevant advertisements in their current format;

the process to withdraw these claims and the advertisements must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of the ruling;

the withdrawal of these claims and the advertisements must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and

these claims as well as the relevant advertisements may not be used again in their current format unless adequate substantiation has been submitted and accepted by means of a new Directorate ruling.
In view of the fact that the respondent has failed to respond and an adverse ruling has been made, the ASA will issue an Ad Alert to its members with reference to the advertisement and claims in question.

The complaint is upheld.

 

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ASA Complaint

29 January 2013

Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa
Box 41555
Craighall 2024 

Dear Sir/Madam, 

Re: TopSlim

In the recent magazine, GET IT Cape Town, an advert has appeared for this product. A similar advert appeared in Die Tygerberger 26 September 2013 where similar claims are being made.

The advert claims, among other:

  • Fast Weight Loss!
  • Scientifically proven
  • Based on the research of the most respected scientist in the world!
  • Fully tested in multiple double blind clinical studies over decades.

Similar claims are made on the website, www.topslim.co.za including: “but now the incredible miracle herb: Garcinia Cambogia has been released! It provides the fastest, safest and most permanent weight loss solution ever!!“ 

TopSlim’s website also claims: “Garcinia Cambogia is the Answer: Fast, Safe & Scientifically Proven.“

In fact, Stohs, Soni, Burdock, Preuss, Ohia, Bagchi did publish a study in 2004 evaluating the safety of the Garcinia Cambogia. This is what they reported: “In a subchronic study in rats, the gavage administration of HCA-SX at doses up to 2500 mg/kg/day for a period of 90 days caused a significant decrease in body weight and reduction in feed consumption without any adverse effects” and “[T]here is sufficient qualitative and quantitative scientific evidence, including animal and human data suggesting that intake of HCA at levels up to 2800 mg/day is safe for human consumption.” (Food Chem Toxicol)

However, this was 10 years ago. Here is the latest review of Garcinia Cambogia published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2012:

“Although several studies have found that the administration of G. cambogia extracts is associated with body weight and fat loss in both experimental animals and humans, we should be cautious when interpreting the results as other randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials have not reported the same outcomes.” (And you should ask whether the dose in TopSlim is even close to the dose that was used in proper studies! – Imagine 250mg of panado helps your headache, will 10mg of panado be of any benefit?) 

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (“Unbiased, Scientific Clinical Information on Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Therapies”) states for Garcinia Cambogia:

“Obesity. Taking garcinia fruit rind extract orally doesn’t seem to help decrease weight, satiety, fat oxidation, or energy expenditure in obese people (728,8572,11407). There is some mixed evidence that garcinia might reduce food intake while sustaining satiety, but it’s too early to recommend it for this use (8572).”

I wrote to Prof Stohs asking him for his comment. He replied:

Dear Dr. Steinman:

I have never heard of this product, and I know nothing about this product.  I have not endorsed it nor have I leant my name to it or agreed to allow them to use my name.

Sid Stohs, Ph.D., FACN, CNS, ATS

I have also written to the other “scientists” named in the TopSlim website but have not received a response yet, but it is clear from my research on PubMed and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, that the claims and support are not true. 

The owner of TopSlim appears to be:

Adam Turner,
Health and Weight Int.
76 Marley Rd., Rosebank, 7720, ZA
[email protected]
072-7400-594 or 076-2676-421

I argue that these claims and adverts are misleading and scam the ordinary consumer and are therefore contrary to ASA regulations.

Specifically Clause 4.1 of Section II of the ASA’s Code states “Before advertising is published, advertisers shall hold in their possession documentary evidence as set out in Clause 4.1, to support all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation.”

and

“Documentary evidence, other than survey data, shall emanate from or be evaluated by a person/entity, which is independent, credible, and an expert in the particular field to which the claims relate and be acceptable to the ASA”. 

I argue that the claims for this product cannot be substantiated and are therefore contrary to the ASA code and regulations. 

Sincerely,

[note note_color=”#f8fddd”]CAMCheck posts related to TopSlim

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4 Responses to TopSlim – No proof

  1. Penelope Wilson 20 August, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    I ordered a supply of Garcinia Cambogia at £ 2.99 . This amount was taken out of my bank account on 31/7 .

    Subsequently, on 18 August £89.99 was taken from my bank account by ” Pounds Away Products”. There was NO small print about a further amount , and I have not used the tablets- they are fully sealed. I do not want them, as I have a heart condition.

    I will post the tablets back to the Swiss address ( unless “TopSlim delivery “give me another)- and I want my £ 89.99 refunded… Help!
    What a scam. Can you suggest what I can do?
    My bank are stopping any further debits , and I have written to the site and Alan Turner!

    From P. Wilson

    • Harris 21 August, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      @Penelope
      There is little recourse except to ask your bank to reverse all. Wish I had better advice. If you were based in South Africa, I would suggest that you lay a complaint with the Consumer Commission. It may be that they will accept a complaint from people who are not based in South Africa. I urge you to lay a complaint are point out that the ASA have ruled against the claims for these products but that the company, and Alan Turner, continues to scam consumers.
      http://www.nccsa.org.za/
      Email: [email protected]

  2. Charlene 6 April, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    Can anyone verify this website and the product for weight loss. From reading the above comments and some research on the internet I have come across the same website but now been advertised as Smart Slim… previously Top Slim.

    There are again testimonials from the same Doctor’s been published on this website http://www.smartslim.co.za

    This really seems like a scam to me!
    I even googled some of the people in the testimonials and they do not have any form of social media accounts which I find weird… The only pictures that come up are those of the Smart Slim and Top Slim websites… and yes exactly the same pictures!!!!!

    • Harris 7 April, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

      @Charlene
      It does appear to be from the same scam artists who brought you TopSlim! I think that because of the ASA ruling, they are trying to get away by a name change. Thanks for alerting readers to this scam

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