UK ASA ruling: Meratol weight-loss

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A website for a weight loss supplement stated "MeratolTM works with your metabolism to provide a complete weight loss solution that targets the 4 main areas of weight loss … Together these weight loss techniques work as part of a 4-tier system to help you lose weight and make sure it stays off. The 4 stages of the MeratolTM system are: controlling calorie intake, reducing body fat, burning calories and blocking the carbohydrate intake."
Issue

 The ASA challenged whether the claim that the product aids weight loss by reducing the absorption of carbohydrates could be substantiated.

ASA Adjudication on Advanced Health Ltd
Advanced Health Ltd t/a Meratol.com
18 Payne Street
11 May 2011
http://asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2011/5/Advanced-Health-Ltd/TF_ADJ_50378.aspx

Ad

A website for a weight loss supplement stated "MeratolTM works with your metabolism to provide a complete weight loss solution that targets the 4 main areas of weight loss … Together these weight loss techniques work as part of a 4-tier system to help you lose weight and make sure it stays off. The 4 stages of the MeratolTM system are: controlling calorie intake, reducing body fat, burning calories and blocking the carbohydrate intake."
Issue

The ASA challenged whether the claim that the product aids weight loss by reducing the absorption of carbohydrates could be substantiated.

CAP Code (Edition 12)
3.1
3.7
15.1
15.7
Response

Advanced Health Ltd (AH) submitted documentation from the manufacturer of one of the ingredients of Meratol. It claimed that in vitro studies showed the ingredient was effective in inhibiting the activity of two main digestive enzymes which contributed to reduce carbohydrate and fat assimilation and intake. AH also submitted a magazine extract which referred to human-based trials on a seaweed extract and stated that the findings suggested that in humans the extract may lead to a lower calorie intake.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA noted the documentation submitted by AH. We considered the claim that Meratol could aid weight loss by reducing the absorption of carbohydrates was an objective claim capable of substantiation with robust, human-based clinical trials that showed that the formulation of the ingredients in the product achieved the claimed result. We noted the documentation supplied by the manufacturer referenced in vitro studies and concluded that this did not amount to sufficiently robust evidence to support the claim. We also noted the magazine extract and a third, untitled extract, made reference to human-based trials. We noted the magazine extract stated that the human-based trials "suggested" the ingredient "may" lower calorie intake. We concluded that this documentation was also not sufficiently robust to support the claim. Because we had not seen sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim that the product could aid weight loss by reducing the absorption of carbohydrates we concluded that the claim was misleading.

The website breached CAP Code (Edition12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 15.1 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims) and 15.7 (Food supplements and other vitamins and minerals).

Action

The claim found to be in breach of the Code must be removed from the website and all other marketing communications.

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