NZ Doctor complains to ASA about weet-bix

June 10, 2018

Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Complaint, ASA, Weetbix

It's always good to see people who aren't known to me in the skeptical community making complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. Dr Holmes complained to the ASA (opens new window) recently about a Sanitarium Weet-Bix advert (opens new window) for their new gluten free product. In the advert a woman says:

"I felt quite bloated and since I've been eating less gluten I feel a lot lighter and have more energy."

The doctor rightly pointed out that, despite the advert's suggestion that gluten free weet-bix would help people who experience bloating, there are many reasons for bloating and that very few people have coeliac disease and require a gluten free diet. This of course is in contrast with advice from many alternative lifestyle coaches, who are regularly telling everyone that they need to cut gluten from their diet. Apparently a third of Americans have tried to reduce or cut out gluten from their diets, even though only about 1 in 70 people should need to.

The doctor said of the advert:

"At no point does the dialogue state that this sort of product is really meant for inclusion in a gluten-free diet, as prescribed for those who are diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, for example, coeliac disease which requires antibody testing and only affects a tiny portion of society,"

Sanitarium agreed to stop showing the advert on TV.