Celebrity chef ‘Paleo’ Pete Evans’ alkaline water brand has been found in breach of advertising standards over “untruthful and misleading” claims that it can improve bone health.
The Ad Standards Community Panel upheld a complaint against his ‘Alka Power’ alkaline water product that is sold through retail supermarkets such as Woolworths. Evans receives royalties from sales of the bottled water, which has a pH of 9 and is promoted with health claims including that it deactivates pepsin, detoxes the pancreas, increases bone density and changes blood viscosity.
The Panel sought independent expert advice, which stated that while consuming alkaline forming foods and beverages may assist in reducing bone resorption and maintaining bone density, there was no evidence that it could increase bone density.
“The Panel considered the statement “increase” and considered that maintaining bone density is not the same as increasing bone density, and therefore determined that the statement “increase” is untruthful and misleading to consumers,” it stated in its ruling released on 9 February in response to the complaint
The expert advice cited evidence from a study that found bone metabolism markers (parathyroid hormone, PTH, and C-telopeptides, CTX) decreased at four weeks after consumption of alkaline water, but not acidic water, “indicating a reduction in bone resorption”.
It also noted data from the Framingham Osteoporosis study that evaluated BMD changes using dual photon and dual x-ray absorptiometry in elderly people. Over the four year evaluation period, it showed that BMD was better maintained in participants consuming an alkalinizing diet.
“Thus, there is evidence that consuming alkaline foods, and alkaline water, can reduce bone resorption and assist with maintaining BMD,” the expert adviser told the panel
The Ad Standards Panel therefore required the marketers of Alka Power water to change their claims to “may assist in maintaining bone density”.