Pop Goes the Weight Loss Claim: NAD Turns Thumbs Down on Mulberry Bush Product

The NAD (along with the FTC) continues its emphasis on weight loss claims. A recent NAD decision highlights the NAD initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition to expand NAD's review of dietary supplement advertising claims. NAD launched an inquiry into advertisements made by New Nordic US Inc. concerning its Mulberry Zuccarin dietary supplement. The company's advertisements claimed, among other things, that the supplement stabilized blood sugar levels, helped over 1,500 customers lose weight, and assisted an individual in losing six dress sizes. New Nordic agreed that its claim that "1,500 customers lost weight" was not supported by the "level of scientific evidence consistent with other allowable claims reviewed in previous NAD decisions." Consequently, it agreed to discontinue its use of the statement until it could establish sufficient evidence. The company, however, cited several studies and other evidence as support for its other claims. Consistent with the FTC's recent fine tuning to its competent and reliable scientific evidence standard, the NAD looked at New Nordic's studies with a jaundiced eye, noting that they were conducted on the active ingredient in the product rather than the product itself, that dosage levels were different and that many were conducted on animals rather than humans. Not surprisingly, NAD concluded that the evidence submitted was insufficient to support New Nordic's claims and recommended that New Nordic discontinue its claims. The company agreed. Given its partnership with the CRN, look for more dietary supplement matters to come before NAD. – Randy Shaheen and Quin Landon

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