Slim pickings: UK issues weight loss health claims advice

ASA to industry: “To be on the safe side, we recommend that you quote the authorised claim in the ad verbatim..."
ASA to industry: “To be on the safe side, we recommend that you quote the authorised claim in the ad verbatim..."

Related tags Weight loss Nutrition Asa

The UK advertising watchdog has issued guidance to companies making weight loss claims telling them to anally follow the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) or face prosecution.

“A health claim for a food  - which also applies to soft drinks - or a food supplement, shouldn’t be made unless that claim is compatible with an authorised claim listed on the EU Register of nutrition and health claims,”​ the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) wrote

“To be on the safe side, we recommend that you quote the authorised claim in the ad verbatim, and of course you should market it in accordance with the conditions of use for that claim. Some niche exemptions might apply, but in these instances we urge companies to seek legal advice.”

As an example the ASA said claims about weight loss from specific parts of the body were banned as were claims that referred to specific amounts of weight loss.

It also said ‘before and after photos’, even if genuine, may be problematic, “if they are seen to go beyond the meaning of an authorised claim.”

“One marketer (ketonepremium.com​) included photographs on their website showing people who had clearly lost weight. The complaint, which was upheld by the ASA, was that the weight loss claims within the photos implied that they were authorised on the EU Register, which was not the case.”

The ASA added: "In general, marketers who suggest that weight loss results can be achieved quickly, without forfeit, and who fail to give prominence to the role of the diet are likely to put themselves at odds with the slimming rules."

The advice can be found here​.

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