Nearly 80% of weight loss shakes in UK lie about their claims, research finds

Research shows that nearly three-quarters of weight loss drinks are making “untrue” claims [Photo: Getty]
Research shows that nearly three-quarters of weight loss drinks are making “untrue” claims [Photo: Getty]

Recent research reveals that nearly 80% of weight loss drinks sold in the UK are making claims that are either ‘exaggerated’ or ‘untrue’.

As obesity rises in the UK and more people look to diet/lose weight quickly, turning to meal replacement drinks or ‘shakes’ seems like a good idea, but are they really helping us lose weight at all?

In one of the first studies to examine what’s actually in weight loss drinks in comparison to what’s printed on their labels, new research has found that nearly three-quarters of ‘shakes’ don’t comply with EU Nutrition and Health regulation and are unauthorised, states Eureka Alerts.

Basing their research on 50 weight loss drinks sold in the UK, analysts discovered that only 10 of them provided the right information to meet all requirements, with the rest falling below average and officially incapable of being classed as a ‘meal replacement for weight control.’

In fact, 79 per cent of claims made by these products were found to not be compliant with EU regulations.

Talking to the Independent, King’s College London’s professor and leading Nutritional expert, Dr Kelly Johnston said of the problem: “Manufacturer’s misleading labelling is confusing consumers about the healthiness and nutritional quality of meal-replacement shakes.

“Some of these claims are clearly exaggerated and many are simply untrue.”

There's a huge market for protein shakes. [Photo: Getty]
There’s a huge market for protein shakes. [Photo: Getty]

Shocked by their findings, researchers sent out over 240 questionnaires to volunteers in order to understand what people thought about weight loss drinks – and more specifically, why they thought they were good for them.

They discovered that people thought they understood and responded well to claims such as “low fat” (95 per cent), “low calorie” (95 per cent) and “high protein” (94 per cent).

However, more than half of the people questioned didn’t understand what “protects against chronic diseases” (48 per cent) and “low GI” (53 per cent) meant – neither of which are authorised, nor should be included on a weight loss drink label.

“What we see from this group of consumers is that they generally have false perceptions about the efficacy of such products,” Johnston explained.

“In other words, even if they understand the claims, they often don’t believe what they are reading.

“This study highlights the need for better enforcement to ensure products for sale meet the legally required compositional and labelling criteria which will both protect consumers whilst ensuring fair market competition.”

Our advice? From now on, read the labels carefully and make sure you understand what you’re drinking.

Seek professional advice if you’re unsure, because you should only be practising healthy weight loss.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for non-stop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyleUK.

Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

The Nordic Diet: What is it and why should we all be doing it?

You won’t believe the effect cutting out alcohol can have on your body

8 small things you can do each day to lose weight