Dieting group LighterLife has been slammed for promoting weight loss programmes that go against “good medical and nutritional practice”, thus breaking advertising code.
LighterLife was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority for a number of social media posts – one featuring the actress Denise Welch with text claiming that “Denise lost 2st in just 2 months”.
Others included a claim that a woman had “lost 3st 9lb in just 5 and a half months with LighterLife”.
The ASA received one complaint, challenging whether the ad complied with rules on weight-loss advertising, with the threshold at 2lbs a week.
LighterLife argued that Welch was classified as being “overweight” and at “high risk” of health problems,and that her rate of weight loss was in line with those on a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD).
The woman in the second advert, Janet Nadowski, was “obese” , and her initial weight lsos was in line with the code, and medical practice, it argued.
According to the ASA:
They explained that all clients undertook an initial medical screening and assessment with LighterLife when starting or restarting any programme.
They only accepted those overweight or obese clients onto a programme without medical supervision who did not have any co-morbid conditions, although all clients were advised to seek and follow medical advice from their own GP before starting a programme.
However the watchdog upheld the complaint, saying it had received no evidence that Welch's weight loss rate was compatible with the code. It also upheld the complaint on the second advert, saying the programme for Nadowski should not have been advertised to the public without certainty that all future participants would be medically supervised throughout.
LighterLife has been told to remove the adverts and to “ensure that rates of weight loss were compatible with good medical and nutritional practice” in future.