Last week an SA company was banned from using the name "Supreme Slim" for one of its products, after a Cape Town consumer activist complained there was no evidence that it had any slimming effect.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) the company Wellness Forever CC was “unable to provide proper substantiation for its marketing claims that Supreme Slim was an appetite suppressant, that it accelerated metabolism, was a ‘fat burner’ and that users could get ‘results’ without exercise”.
It also rejected the company’s claim that there were "no chemicals" present in the concoction.
ASA said that, when challenged, Wellness Forever denied that the name “Supreme Slim” in any way implied weight loss.
However, “the only reasonable inference that could be drawn from the name ‘Supreme Slim’ was that the product would result in the user becoming slimmer, or losing weight”, ASA countered.
No quick fix
Well, well! A slimming product without any slimming effects - what a revelation! And a product name that “does not imply weight loss” – how funny!
When I first read the news report, I had a really good giggle. However, soon after I started to feel rather depressed as I thought about all the other slimming products out there - all with similarly optimistic names - that still promise the world, only to leave you with an empty pocket. Why do they keep making these stupid products? Will it never stop?
You already know the answer, don’t you? As long as there are people out there desperate enough for a quick-fix weight-loss solution at any cost, the slimming industry will continue to prosper.
After the Simply Slim scare earlier this year, consumers have become acutely aware of the dangers of sibutramine. And, subsequently slimming companies have gone to great pains to assure dieters that their products are free of this substance and 100% safe. Most of these products are advertised as 100% natural without any harmful side-effects.
However, a very important message that has not hit home with consumers yet, is that “100% natural/with plant-based ingredients” does not necessarily mean safe. In fact, alarm bells should go off, as soon as you read that line. A number of these so-called natural ingredients have very harmful side-effects, some very similar to sibutramine. DietDoc has already reported extensively on this.
The long list of ingredients for Supreme Slim, for example, includes Citrus Aurantium, also known as Bitter Orange Extract. This is an ingredient found in many of the “natural” slimming products. On the Supreme Slim website Citrus Aurantium is described as “little orange fruits” containing synephrine, with powerful fat-burning activity, and no negative side-effects on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system”.
Again, alarm bells should go off! Why do they feel the need to mention that it won’t have any negative side-effects on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system? Are they already defending their product?
The truth is that the synephrine in Citrus Aurantium is a compound similar to epinephrine, an appetite suppressant which has a very long list of serious side-effects: nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, problems with urination, high blood pressure, rapid and irregular heartbeat, heart arrhythmias, angina pain, palpitations, and even heart arrest, fear, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, dizziness, faintness, flushing, tremor, muscle weakness, headache, irritability, psychotic states and most serious of all, addiction.
So, yes, these cute “little orange fruits” are very bad news indeed. And this is only ONE of the listed products. What about the rest?
Funnily enough, Supreme Slim has this weird “scientific” explanation on their website for the thirst that you will experience, which of course, in reality, is a side-effect of ingredients such as Citrus Aurantium.
Just look at their reasoning:
“Any slimming supplement requires water intake because of the detoxification and reduction of water retention. Hydration is natural and every medical journal states that humans need an intake of around 8 glasses of water per day. The content of the Supreme capsules is no different and a dry mouth may occur from time to time which ensures that you consume water. It is not strange to consume up to three litres per day whilst taking Supreme. This in turn activates detoxification, cleanses the liver, pancreas and kidneys with no side-effects.”
So, Supreme Slim helps to make you thirsty, so that you drink more water, in order for you to detox? Huh? Just drink more water. Full stop!
Oh, and a month’s supply of this product will cost you R600. Most of these slimming aids cost a small fortune. Apart from all the risks you’re taking with your health, have you considered what else you could do with R600 each month that might give you far better results? You could take out a gym membership, or join a reputable weight management group like Weigh-Less or Weight Watchers, and just think of all the healthy fruit and veggies that you could buy with that money!
The cold, hard truth of the matter is that there really is no quick fix for weight loss. The only way to effectively lose weight is to exercise more and eat less. You have to burn more energy than what you consume. And, it is completely unrealistic to expect to shake off those kilos in only a few weeks’ time, if it took you months, sometimes years, to gain them in the first place.
Please take caution: forget about those “miracle diet potions” on the market – it’s simply not worth your money, and especially not your health!
For a realistic weight loss guide, why not check out our 6 Steps to Weigh Loss here or visit our Weight Loss centre here.
- (Birgit Ottermann, Diet & Nutrition Editor, Health24, May 2010)