EFSA rebuffs Marks & Spencer health claim on protein-carbohydrate ratios for weight loss

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA rebuffs Marks & Spencer health claim on protein-carbohydrate ratios for weight loss

Related tags: Health claim, Nutrition

A health claim application by leading UK retailer Marks & Spencer suggesting that consumption of a fixed carbohydrate to protein ratio of less than 1.8 could help reduction of body weight has been rejected.

The European Food Safety Authority published its scientific opinion on the application by Marks & Spencer PLC for an article 13.5 health claim relating to weight loss. The opinion stated that a cause and effect relationship had not been established.

Marks & Spencer’s dossier – which was assessed by EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) – was related to substantiation of a health claim for a carbohydrate to protein (CHO:P) ratio of less than or equal to 1.8 on an energy basis, in the context of an energy-restricted diet, for the reduction of body weight.

In its opinion, the NDA Panel confirmed that the constituent that is the subject of the health claim – a CHO:P ration of less than 1.8 – was ‘sufficiently characterised’ and that a reduction of body weight in the context of an energy-restricted diet ‘is a beneficial physiological effect.’

However, it found that no conclusions could be drawn from two unpublished studies investigating the effect of ready-to-eat meals with a CHO:P ratio ≤ 1.8 on body weight.

Of 14 published human intervention studies, EFSA noted that four out of seven studies lasting  less than 12 weeks reported an effect of a positive effect on body weight in overweight or obese subject – however “no significant effect was observed in six out of the seven studies lasting 12 weeks or more.”

“The Panel considers that these studies do not provide evidence for a sustained effect of the food/constituent on body weight,”​ the EFSA report states.

“The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of a fixed CHO:P ratio ≤ 1.8 on an energy basis consumed in the context of an energy-restricted diet and reduction of body weight.”

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