NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined print and Internet advertising for Celsius as part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with NAD’s initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition—an initiative designed to expand NAD’s review of advertising claims for dietary supplements.
Claims as issue included:
• “Recent scientific studies showed that Celsius burns fat as fuel and may increase lean muscle tissue when consumed before exercising.”
• “Celsius burns calories without sacrificing taste. Celsius is designed to be a healthier alternative.”
• “Good for you ingredients, such as Green Tea with EGCG, Ginger, Calcium, Chromium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, all which work together to raise metabolism, resulting in a sustained calorie burn while keeping you energized.”
• “114% greater decrease in body fat”
• “79% greater endurance performance”
• “32% greater resistance to fatigue (increased energy)”
NAD noted in its decision that the advertiser asserted it had modified most of the challenged claims for Celsius, including claims made on packaging and labeling.
In making its determinations, NAD considered the evidence submitted by Celsius, which including six separate studies—three on subjects who used the product without exercise and three on subjects who used the product in conjunction with an exercise program. NAD also evaluated whether claims related to calorie and fat burning implied that the use of the product without exercise would result in weight loss.
Following its review, NAD determined that certain claims, as modified, were supported by the advertiser’s evidence, as long as those claims are presented in the context of advertising geared to people who exercise and make clear that achieving the promised benefits of the product requires exercise. NAD found the advertiser could support claims that referenced the taste of Celsius and the product’s ingredients, as well as claims that Celsius supplementation results in “increased metabolism,” “calorie burning,” “fat loss,” “decrease in body fat,” “greater endurance performance” and “greater resistance to fatigue (increased energy).”
NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim that “Multiple studies have shown a single serving of Celsius on average burns up to 100 calories or more by raising metabolism over a three hour period, generating increased energy and alertness,” to a more general claim that Celsius combined with exercise, can burn calories.
NAD also found that the modifications made by the advertiser to its packaging and advertising materials helped to convey the “exercise” message, and were necessary and proper.
Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the specific percentage claims, claiming “78% greater fat loss,” “114% greater decrease in body fat,” “79% greater endurance performance,” “32% greater resistance to fatigue (increased energy)” and “5.5 lbs of Fat Loss,” because they are based on the results of a single study and overstate the benefits achieved.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “accepts NAD's decision as demonstrated by Celsius’ current advertising that already implements NAD’s recommendations.”
The company noted that it will take NAD recommendations into account in future advertising.