Posted 10 February 2015
In a previous complaint to the ASA, the claims made for USN Carb binder was questioned and argued to be false. USN claimed for the product:
- Starch Intake Inhibitor
- RAPID WEIGHT CONTROL
- WEIGHT CONTROL/ CARB BINDER
We argued that there is no evidence to support these claims for this product, which has white kidney bean as its active constituent. Remember: USN first sold this product as USN Carb Blocker but changed the name to Carb Binder when the ASA ruled against the claims (including the name).
In the ruling of the ASA, dated 27 Jun 2014, USN argued that they will be withdrawing the claims: “all its advertising would have efficacy claims withdrawn pending registration”. Remember, the name of a product can also claim efficacy, so “Carb Binder” claims that the product binds carbs. Can one trust a snake oil salesman?
No! This USN is still distributing this product to retailers, using packaging making the same claims, albeit not all.
For example, at Kalahari.net, (http://www.kalahari.com/Health/USN-StarchLite-Carb-Binder-60-s_p_48305476) the product makes the claim that it is a carb binder (explicit in the name of the product) and:
“White Kidney Bean extract, used in StarchLite, has been shown to decrease enzymatic activity involved in the digestion of starches, potentially assisting in a reduced level of carbohydrate uptake.
StarchLite is an all-natural extract of white kidney bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris) which has properties of decreasing the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Starches that are eaten are either left undigested in the gut or the amount of which is digested, is reduced.
These starches are either excreted and their calories not absorbed, or they are given to colonic bacteria to ferment and strengthen micro biomes, also preventing unmanageable blood glucose levels.”
The same situation is seen at M-Kem City Pharmacy (http://www.mkem.co.za/p22731/USN-Carb-Binder-60-Caps.aspx)
Even Dis-Chem still sells this product (http://dischem.co.za/product-view/2185/usn-carb-binder-60s)
The claims are similar/the same as that seen at Kalahari.net indicating that these were furnished by USN.
StarchLite® is an all-natural extract of white kidney bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris) which has properties of decreasing the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Starches that are eaten are either left undigested in the gut or the amount of which is digested, is reduced.
These starches are either excreted and their calories not absorbed, or they are given to colonic bacteria to ferment and strengthen microbiomes, also preventing unmanageable blood glucose levels.
This suggests that USN has firstly, not adhered to the ASA code by continuing to make the claim that this product binds carbs (starch intake inhibitor), AND that they have tried to partly circumvent the ASA ruling by amending a part of the claim, i.e., weight loss, (or inferring this by claiming that carbs are blocked- previous claim was “WEIGHT CONTROL/ CARB BINDER”), to only claiming that the product binds carbs – another unproven unsubstantiated claim.
USN’s product contains StarchLite, a brand of white kidney bean extract. The company producing this ingredient is InQpharm. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which gives considers and approves claims for ingredients was asked by InQpharm to accept the claim that this ingredient is effective for weight loss. EFSA evaluated the evidence and in a decision released on 26 January 2015, concluded:
“that the evidence provided is insufficient to establish a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of the standardised aqueous extract from white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and a reduction of body weight”,
“[W]ith regards to the already evaluated mechanistic studies, the Panel considered that they “do not provide evidence for an effect of the standardised aqueous extract from white kidney bean in reducing the activity of pancreatic α-amylase in vivo which would lead to a decrease in carbohydrate digestion and absorption under the conditions of use proposed by the applicant and tested in the efficacy studies provided (Chong, 2012, and Grube et al., 2013; Wu et al., 2010)”.
No wonder we call Albe Geldenhuys the CEO of USN, a major scam artist.