Thursday, 28 October 2010

Chris and Lisa Troughton - Forever Detoxing

"Lose Weight in 60 days or your money back!"

So say Chris and Lisa Troughton, "Independent Distributors" of Forever Living Products, an American Multi-Level Marketing outfit.

While I can well believe that someone can lose weight in sixty days, the flyer [available here and here] quickly wanders into fantasy-land. According to Chris and Lisa, the programme makes use of

"Aloe Vera Gel for a healthy digestive system [and] Garcinia - a natural appetite suppressant"

The problem - as always - is that there's no clinical evidence to support either of these two claims. The claim that the programme can "cleanse your body of toxins" is even more implausible.

ASA complaint follows. Look at all that there scientific research what I have got!

"I write to complain about a flyer I picked up at the CamExpo exhibition in London on 24th October this year.

The flyer, for Chris and Lisa Troughton, promotes a weight loss and detox system.

I suspect that the flyer may be in breach of three sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code). I can provide the original flyer by post, if necessary.

1. The front side of the flyer is titled:

"Lose Weight in 60 days or your money back. A Nutritional Cleansing Programme designed to take the guesswork out of a balanced diet."

2. The "programme" apparently includes "Aloe Vera Gel for a healthy digestive system" and "Garcinia - a natural appetite suppressant".

3. The reverse side of the flyer contains the text:

"Revolutionary Route to your Ideal Weight. Try Clean 9 & Nutrilean. The path to a cleaner and healthier you. Clean 9 is a 9-day nutritional cleansing programme designed to cleanse your body of toxins and unnatural chemicals. Then follow with the Nutrilean system to help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight."

4. (i) The advertisers, Chris and Lisa Troughton, are described as "Independent Distributor[s] of Forever Living Products".

(ii) Forever Living is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company based in Phoenix, Arizona [1].

5. (i) Aloe Vera is a plant that is extensively used in the cosmetic and herbal medicine industries. There is some evidence of its efficacy in (for example) treating burns [2], but little evidence for other indications (for example, [3]).

(ii) After a search of PubMed I did not find any good evidence supporting the advertiser's contention "Aloe Vera Gel for a healthy digestive system".

6. (i) Garcinia is a genus of plants from which a number of popular appetite suppressants are made.

(ii) However, there appears to be no clinical evidence supporting is use as an appetite suppressant in humans [4]; indeed, evidence exists that it is dangerous [5] [6].

7. The UK's leading authority on complementary medicine, Professor Edzard Ernst, has recently written about "detox" therapies [7]:

"Detox, as used in alternative medicine, is based on ill-conceived ideas about human physiology, metabolism, toxicology etc. There is no evidence that it does any good and some treatments...can be harmful. The only substance that is being removed from a patient is usually money."

8. Under Sections 12.1 and 13.1 of the CAP Code (2010), I challenge whether the advertisers can support any of the following claims, and under Section 3.1 I challenge whether they are misleading:

(i) The "nutritional cleansing programme" is able to "cleanse your body of toxins and unnatural chemicals"
(ii) Aloe Vera Gel can maintain a "healthy digestive system"
(iii) Garcinia is a "natural appetite suppressant"
(iv) By "follow[ing]" the "Nutrilean system", you can "achieve and maintain your ideal weight"

9. I confirm I have no connections with the advertiser. I confirm I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser.

[2] Maenthaisong R., et al. The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review. 2007 Sep;33(6):713-8. Epub 2007 May 17.
[3] Vogler B K, Ernst E. Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness [2000].
[4] NHS Evidence search on 28 Oct 2010:
[5] Wong, L.P. & Klemmer, P.J. (2008): Severe lactic acidosis associated with juice of the mangosteen fruit, Garcinia mangostana. American Journal of Kidney Diseases 51(5): 829-833. doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2007.12.043
[6] Saito, M.; Ueno, M.; Ogino, S.; Kubo, K.; Nagata, J. & Takeuchi, M. (2005): High dose of Garcinia cambogia is effective in suppressing fat accumulation in developing male Zucker obese rats, but highly toxic to the testis. Food and Chemical Toxicology 43(3): 411–419. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2004.11.008
[7] Simon Singh, Edzard Ernst, "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial", American edition 2008, p308

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