Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Health Etc's residential detox diet
Today I made a remarkable discovery - a diet that gives the body "complete rest from digestion".
Wow! (I wonder how nutrients are absorbed, though - perhaps they find their way into the bloodstream with the aid of a map and a compass?)
Health Etcetera offer a residential weight management course. Their glossy brochure elaborates further:
"Juice Feasting involves nourishing the body through pure vegetable juices while abstaining from solid foods..."
What drew my attention to the flyer (available here and here) is not the raw food diet, but a number of detox claims which I suspect can't be substantiated. This one, for example:
"Principles of Health: ...Optimum nutrition and detoxification...will aid you to restore your health and achieve your ideal weight."
And this one:
"Why Living Foods? ...For...detoxification, living foods provide the perfect tools through a simplistic and natural approach that you can easily continue on your return home."
"Detox" therapies are, of course, nothing but flim-flammery, as my latest ASA complaint labours to explain.
"I write to complain about a flyer I picked up at the CamExpo exhibition in London on 24th October this year.
The flyer, for Health Etcetera, promotes a residential weight management course.
I suspect that the flyer may be in breach of one section of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code (2010). I can provide the original flyer by post, if necessary.
1. (i) The subject of this complaint are the "detox" claims the flyer makes.
(ii) Regarding detox treatments, Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, has recently written :
"Conclusion: 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, such as chelation and colonic irrigation...can be harmful. The only substance that is being removed from a patient is usually money."
2. Under Section 3.1 of the CAP Code, I challenge whether the following claims are misleading:
(i) "Essential Programme: This programme allows you the opportunity to sample living foods and learn about new ways to prepare them when you go back home. Detoxification...[is] highly effective, almost as good as when juice feasting."
(ii) "Juice Feasting Programme: Juice Feasting involves nourishing the body through pure vegetable juices while abstaining from solid foods. It gives the body almost complete rest from digestion, so it can fully focus on elimination. It provides the deepest detoxification benefits..."
(iii) "Principles of Health: ...Optimum nutrition and detoxification...will aid you to restore your health and achieve your ideal weight."
(iv) "Why Living Foods? ...For...detoxification, living foods provide the perfect tools through a simplistic and natural approach that you can easily continue on your return home."
3. I confirm I have no connections with the advertiser. I confirm I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser.
 Simon Singh, Edzard Ernst, "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial", 1st American Edition 2008, p308