Men's 'fat burn' products claim 'misleading'
The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has instructed its members to reject advertising for Herbex Fat Burn for Men products.
This comes after consumer activist Dr Harris Steinman complained about an animated television commercial featuring the products.
It depicts a couple at home where the overweight husband‚ carrying a tin of paint‚ struggles to climb a ladder to get onto their roof. When he finally does‚ and starts painting‚ the roof collapses under his weight and he falls into the bedroom.
His wife‚ who is reading in bed‚ says: “Boet. DIY doesn’t mean destroy it yourself. I told you to use Herbex.”
The commercial then shows a range of Herbex Fat Burn for Men products with the words: “Herbex for Men. Start today!”
A disclaimer says: “To achieve and maintain your goal weight‚ you must adjust your lifestyle. A kilojoule controlled diet and healthy exercise programme are essential.”
Steinman argued that the commercial implied that using the products could result in weight-loss which was unsubstantiated and misleading.
He said the main ingredients in the products were the guarana plant‚ green tea leaves and Siberian ginseng.
“The European Food Safety Authority has found that‚ even at greater doses than that used in Fat Burn‚ there is no causal relationship between these products and weight loss.”
Steinman added: “Herbex Fat Burn Concentrate for Men essentially claims that diluting between 7-50% of a green tea bag and half a cup of coffee in one litre of water‚ to be drunk throughout the day‚ will result in weight-loss …. There is no objective evidence to support these claims.”
Herbex did not respond to the complaint. The company has previously stated that because it is not an ASA member‚ it did not submit to the advertising watchdog’s jurisdiction.
The ASA said: “In the absence of a response from the advertiser (Herbex)‚ the ASA has no alternative but to rule based on the information submitted by the complainant.”
The advertising authority said it believed reasonable viewers would think the product would help them lose weight “over and above that of simply following a diet and exercising”.