ASA rejects claims made for microbiome-changing weight loss patch

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©Easylife Group Ltd
©Easylife Group Ltd

Related tags: Asa, Weight loss, microbiome

The UK’s advertising watchdog has dismissed a retailer’s claims that stated its weight loss patch exerted its effects by altering the gut microbiome.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) agreed with a complaint that accused the 24-page circular seen Positive Health magazine, of making unsubstantiated claims for the unlicensed product.

UK-based Easylife Group Ltd, makers of the Zaeta Slim Patch responded to the decision by claiming they had contacted the product’s supplier but had not been able to resolve the issues raised with them.

The ruling refers to five specific issues contained within the circular seen in July 2020 in the Summer 2020 edition of the magazine.

These issues include the use of claims such as “Advanced and scientifically developed,” “Report: The easiest and most effective weight loss solution – proven by science,” “Warning…causes unstoppable weight loss,”​ amongst others.

One brochure page featured the claim “Lose 30 lbs in 30 days with Zaeta Slim Patch – then keep on going! […] You’ll start to lose weight on day 1."

Line graph image

Another page displayed an image of a line graph measuring, “Weight Lost”​ by “Days”​, and indicating weight loss of 50lbs over the course of 49 days.

Alongside it, text stated “100% success – without diets and exercise the tests prove it…In clinical studies the results were clear. Every user lost weight in record time – 100% success! Just look at the average weight loss (some lost more weight, or lost weight faster!)."

The ad also included a number of statements that focused on the product’s effects on the host microbiome.

These included “Zaeta Slim Patch gets to work straight away, changing the bacteria in your body, replacing bad bacteria […] Doctors and scientists have now studied the micro-organisms and bacteria in our stomach.

What they have discovered was that all the skinny people have a different set of stomach microbes to those who are fat! […] Can you change the microbes in your stomach so it’s the same as the thin, slim people? Yes, you can!”

A question and answer section stated "Each patch is full of a Bacteriodete called Oligofructose. People who are thin have a lot of Bacteriodetes […] if your gut is full of Bacteriodetes, then your body doesn’t get any more energy than it can burn up, and definitely none to turn into fat. You don't put on any weight at all".

ASA’s comments

In its assessment, ASA expressed concern by Easylife’s lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, reminding them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to enquiries.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form,” ​ASA concluded. “We told Easylife Group Ltd that future marketing communications must not make unsubstantiated claims that the Zaeta Slim Patch could assist with weight loss.

“They also must hold documentary evidence that any testimonial or endorsement used was genuine, and they must ensure the appropriate permissions were obtained to feature it; that testimonials relate to the advertised product; and that claims in testimonials were not likely to mislead consumers.

“We also told Easylife Group Ltd to ensure claims relating to the product did not state or infer that individuals had lost precise amounts of weight within a specific period of time, and that any claims that an individual had lost an exact amount of weight must be compatible with good medical and nutritional practice.

“They must also ensure that future ads did not make medicinal claims for unlicensed products and that they did not make claims relating to the product’s effects on health in the absence of adequate evidence. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.”

Easylife Group, based in London has previously incurred the wrath of ASA back in March 2020 when the authority rejected claims used for its cannabidiol (CBD) pain relief patch, suggesting the product could reduce chronic pain, anxiety and diabetes.

In ASA’s assessment, they said medicinal claims and indications were made only for a medicinal product licensed by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or supported by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

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