Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Advertising Standards Authority of SA (Asasa) has instructed its members to reject advertising for Herbex’s Fat Burn Concentrate for Men products.

This comes after consumer activist Dr Harris Steinman complained about an animated TV commercial featuring the products.

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It depicts a couple at home when the overweight husband‚ carrying a tin of paint‚ struggles to climb a ladder to get onto their roof. When he finally does‚ and starts painting‚ the roof collapses under his weight and he falls into the bedroom.

His wife‚ reading in bed‚ says: "Boet. DIY doesn’t mean destroy it yourself. I told you to use Herbex."

The commercial then shows a range of Herbex Fat Burn for Men products with the words: "Herbex for Men. Start today!"

A disclaimer on the screen says: "To achieve and maintain your goal weight‚ you must adjust your lifestyle. A kilojoule-controlled diet and healthy exercise programme are essential."

Steinman argued that the commercial implied that using the products could result in weight-loss‚ which was unsubstantiated and misleading. He said the main ingredients in the product were guarana‚ green tea leaves and Siberian ginseng.

"The European Food Safety Authority has found that‚ even at greater doses than that used in Fat Burn‚ there is no causal relationship between these products and weight loss." Steinman added: "Herbex Fat Burn Concentrate for Men essentially claims that diluting between 7% to 50% of a green tea bag and half a cup of coffee in one litre of water‚ to be drunk throughout the day‚ will result in weight-loss ... There is no objective evidence to support these claims."

Herbex did not respond to the complaint. They have previously stated that as they are not ASA members‚ they do not submit to the advertising watchdog’s jurisdiction.

The ASA said: "In the absence of a response from the [Herbex]‚ the ASA has no alternative but to rule based on the information submitted by the complainant."

It believes reasonable viewers would think the product will help them lose weight "over and above that of simply following a diet and exercising".