The Low-Carb, High-Fat diet, colloquially called the Banting
diet after William Banting, has taken South Africa by storm with a
recent endorsement by Professor Tim Noakes.
In a recent decision of the Advertising Standards Authority of
South Africa's Directorate ("the ASA Directorate"),
in the case of CMT Labs / G Downs and others / 2015-2439F,
the Directorate had to consider complaints by a number of
individuals against the use of the following claims on CMT
Labs' Facebook page, website and on its product packaging:
an advertisement headed "Banting Support Range;"
"an all-natural supplement support range to assist the
body in maintaining optimal health and functionality for
individuals following the banting/LCHF lifestyle;"
a "seal of approval" containing the words
"Approved BANTING Friendly;" and
the range of products was described as "Banting
Simplified...Premium Nutrition and Supplementation for Your Banting
The Complainants argued that the claims were dishonest and
misleading and therefore contrary to Section II, Clause 2 –
honesty and Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – misleading claims,
respectively, of the Advertising Standards Authority's Code of
Advertising Practice ("ASA Code").
Clause 2 of Section II of the ASA Code states that
advertisements should not be so framed as to abuse the trust of the
consumer or exploit its lack of experience or knowledge or his
Clause 4.2.1 of Section II states that advertisements should not
contain any statement or visual presentation which, directly or by
implication, omission, ambiguity, inaccuracy, exaggerated claim or
otherwise, is likely to mislead the consumer.
In this regard, the Complainants alleged, inter alia, that none
of the products presented by CMT Labs ("the Respondent")
had been "banting certified" as they are not used or
recommended in any of the literature that sets out the nutritional
therapy of the eating plan; the products do not have functions
which conform with the nutritional therapy; they questioned who had
"approved" the products as being "banting
friendly" as there is no authority that can do so; and that
anyone who knows about the nutritional therapy and lifestyle would
not condone the supplements as the Banting eating plan is all about
eating natural, actual food and not chemicals.
As no response was received from the Respondent to the
complaints, the Directorate ruled based on the available
The Directorate found that the hypothetical reasonable person
will interpret the claim that the products were "Approved
BANTING Friendly" to mean that the products had been approved
by some entity as being compatible with, and/or complimentary to
the practice of banting. As there was no evidence presented to show
this was true, the claim was found to be misleading.
With regard to the claim "Banting Simplified...Premium
Nutrition and Supplementation for Your Banting Lifestyle" and
"An all-natural supplement support range to assist the body in
maintaining optimal health and functionality for individuals
following the banting/LCHF lifestyle," the Directorate
considered the Real Meal Revolution website which contains detailed
information about the concept of banting and, in the absence of any
argument by the Respondent refuting the complaint and submissions,
it found that as the Banting diet focused on eating real food based
on a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat, it did not appear
to incorporate the taking of supplements. The Respondent's
advertising was therefore found to be misleading and likely to
exploit consumers' lack of knowledge regarding the subject of
the Banting diet.
The Directorate accordingly ordered, inter alia, that the claims
be withdrawn and that they may not be used again in the current
format in the future.
While it is tempting for advertisers to jump onto the bandwagon
of a craze, care must always be taken to ensure that claims are
capable of substantiation and are not misleading.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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