BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends USPlabs Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims for AP Dietary Supplement

New York, NY – April 16, 2013 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that USPlabs LLC, modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s “AP Dietary Supplement.”

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Challenged claims included:

  •  “Don’t eat carbs without it.”
  •  “Award winning nutrient partitioning agent.”
  •  “Ultimate carb solution.”
  •  “Clinical study demonstrates first dose effectiveness.”
  •  “University studied.”

In this case, the advertiser’s primary source of claims support was a pilot study conducted at the University of Memphis.

Generally speaking, NAD noted, a pilot study is a small scale preliminary study conducted in order to evaluate feasibility, time, cost, adverse events, and effect size in an attempt to predict an appropriate sample size and improve upon the study design prior to performance of a full-scale research project.

NAD appreciated that this study was randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over design, but had serious reservations about a sample size of only ten exercise-trained subjects when evaluating the statistical significance of its findings. NAD noted that the study’s authors stated the following:

“[We] did not conduct a power analysis to determine the optimal sample size necessary to observe a given effect in our outcome measures. It was our objective in this initial study to generate data to determine the general pattern of response in blood glucose and insulin following use of the supplement. These data could then be used for planning potential larger future studies related to the tested supplement. Our small sample size, although consistent with studies of this nature, as well as our failure to include a power analysis, is a limitation of this work.”

Following its review of the evidence, NAD recommended USPlabs LLC, discontinue claims referencing “clinical” or “university” studies.

NAD further recommended that the advertiser modify the claim “Award Winning Nutrient Partitioning Agent” to disclose that the designation was awarded by “Planet Muscle Magazine” in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

NAD noted in its decision that the advertiser voluntarily agreed to add language to future advertisements to clarify that the supplement does not serve to “block” carb or render them indigestible.

To avoid potential consumer confusion, NAD recommended the advertiser modify the advertising to note that the supplement “may help” or is “designed to help” the body “better use” carbohydrates.

In its advertiser’s statement, the company said it would take NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising “with the goal of always producing accurate and substantiated advertiser.”