UK Weight Loss Advertising Guidelines: No More BS

weight loss BS

The Brits have an obesity problem, just like we do. And they have their fair share of weight loss products and services, just like we do. They also have someone responsible overseeing the ads for these types of services. Just like we should.

The British Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is an industry group that is funded by advertisers. You wouldn’t expect the following limitations to be imposed by industry on itself, but apparently in the UK this is possible.

So what can UK advertisers do / not do when it comes to slimming products:

  • Any claim made for the effectiveness or action of a weight-reduction method or product must be backed, if applicable, by rigorous trials on people;
  • Testimonials that are not supported by trials do not constitute substantiation.
  • Obesity is frequently associated with a medical condition and a treatment for it must not be advertised to the public unless it is to be used under suitably qualified supervision.
  • Marketers must be able to show that their diet plans are nutritionally well-balanced (except for producing a deficit of energy) and that must be assessed in relation to the category of person who would use them.
  • Marketers promoting Very Low Calorie Diets or other diets that fall below 800 kilo-calories a day must do so only for short-term use and must encourage users to take medical advice before embarking on them.
  • Marketing communications must not give the impression that dieters cannot fail or can eat as much as they like and still lose weight.
  • Marketing communications must not contain claims that people can lose precise amounts of weight within a stated period
  • Health claims in marketing communications for food products that refer to a rate or amount of weight loss are not permitted.

What brands and services in the US would fail to stand up to these standards?

(h/t to Dr. Yoni Freedhoff)

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  • Thomas Townsend

    What a WONDERFUL idea – while I think some of this in the UK is due to acceptance of some SOCIALISM aspects on their Medical support, we may be headed that way soon.

  • carol

    That last one on the list is the same as in the US (marketing/ads are considered the same as labeling in the US for food products)… and I believe some of the others as well. Just because you see/hear an ad making lots of claims does not mean it is legal here… simply that enforcement is unable to keep up with all of the BS ads/labeling.