The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned advertising for yet another weight-loss product from "Herbex — Fat Burn Concentrate for Men".
The original complainant in the matter, medical doctor and consumer activist Harris Steinman, argued that a commercial by the company implied that using the products could result in weight loss‚ which was unsubstantiated and misleading.
"The European Food Safety Authority has found that‚ even at greater doses than those used in Fat Burn‚ there is no causal relationship between these products and weight loss," Steinman told Business Live.
"Herbex Fat Burn Concentrate for Men essentially claims that diluting between 7 percent to 50 percent 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," he said.
Herbex did not respond to the complaint. Notably, they've previously stated that, as they are not ASA members‚ they do not submit to the advertising body's jurisdiction.
Dr Harris Steinman: Because of bogus health products endorsed by fake experts, "people don't believe science anymore".— Ivo Vegter (@IvoVegter) June 28, 2016
Not the first time
Earlier this year, ASA ordered that another Herbex advert be pulled from our screens.
The authority's CEO Gail Schimmel said: "We got a new complaint against a testimonial advertisement of Herbex where a woman claims to have lost a certain amount of weight and makes an efficacy claim of the product. We gave Herbex a chance to respond and it said it is not prepared to engage with ASA. We, therefore, had no choice really [but to ban the ad]."
Steinman had argued that there was no objective evidence that the product had any significant effect on weight loss.
He contended that the ad needed to indicate that the product has only been shown to be effective in a certain percentage of users; that significant weight loss is unlikely; and that the product must be used in conjunction with calorie-restricted diet and exercise, or else it is most likely to have no effect at all.
This brands have been creating false advertising for years— Meme Factory ?? (@MemeFactorySA) April 5, 2018
That goes to say, don't believe everything you see on tv.....— Khensani Sithole (@KhensaniMalida) April 5, 2018
As far back as 2014, ASA's Judge Kate O'Regan banned Herbex from claiming in advertisements that its Attack the Fat Syrup, Appetite Control Tablets and Booster Eat-LessDrops help people shed weight.
O'Regan ruled that the advertisements featuring the above mentioned Herbex products were not based on sound evidence and that there was no scientific proof to support the claims that ingredients such as buchu, artichoke and green tea cause weight loss.
The case against Herbex Attack the Fat Syrup, Appetite Control Tablets and Booster Eat-Less Drops was also brought before ASA by Steinman.
Stay away from these products
Wanting instant results is why many people keep falling for weight-loss products, and why this industry is growing from strength to strength, said nutritionist and fitness expert, Isilda da Costa.
"Nothing can do what hard work does," she said, which is the number-one piece of advice she can give to anyone on a weight-loss journey — patience.
After you've taken these drugs, "you need to repair your metabolism and return it to a healthy state, and in order to keep it healthy for the longer term, it takes a long while of patience and persistence", Da Costa said.
Registered dietician Ashley Gibbon previously told HuffPost that the dangers of using weight-loss products can range from mild to severe, depending on the product you use.
Severe side effects could include:
- Decrease in metabolic rate after you stop using the product;
- Gastrointestinal effects, such as nausea, cramping, vomiting and diarrhoea. Fat "binders" can result in fatty, runny stools;
- Micronutrient deficiencies, as the product can prevent the body from absorbing certain nutrients;
- Problems developing with digestion at a later stage – or during the use of the product.
"The only way to successfully lose weight and maintain weight loss is through lifestyle changes. Weight gain mostly occurs over a long period, from poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Weight loss results over a period of time, once these bad eating habits are changed and activity is increased," said Gibbon.