A Dessert That Helps You Slim?

According to today’s (8 July 2011) METRO, a food manufacturer has produced a dessert which, it is implied, will help you diet.

…a food manufacturer claims to have created a dessert that is not only the least calorific in the country but also could quash sugar cravings. Bio-Synergy’s caramel flavoured Skinny Mousse is less than 50 calories and contains chromium, a mineral thought to help regulate blood sugar levels.

I regret I have not provided a link; I can’t find the item on their website. Google did find me the manufacturer’s website where I found this gem:

The New Guilt Free Indulgence

With Less than 50 Calories per serving

Bio-Synergy would like to introduce the newest product in the Skinny range. The lowest calorie and healthy dessert on the market, Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse!

The new guilt free indulgence Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse will hit the chillers in the Dairy aisle at the start of July! This low calorie dessert is enhanced with chromium which contains naturally occurring amino acids which helps
suppress your sugar cravings.

For advice from our nutrition and training experts: nutrition@bio-synergy.co.uk and training@bio-synergy.co.uk

This set off the woodar – particularly the bit about chromium containg amino acids so I emailed the “nutrition experts”:

I note with interest the information on your website regarding your new Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse:

“This low calorie dessert is enhanced with chromium which contains naturally occurring amino acids which helps suppress your sugar cravings.”

I have three questions and an observation with regard to this statement:

Q1. How much chromium has been added to each portion?

Q2. What peer-reviewed evidence is there that chromium suppresses sugar craving?

The observation is that chromium is an element and does not contain amino acids. I appreciate that whoever wrote the information on the website may have misunderstood the science which leads to my third question:

Q3. In what form is the chromium in this dessert? ie is it in elemental form or a compound? If so, which one(s)?

Yours sincerely

John Hawcock
[Address given]
[phone number given]

Received a reply from Daniel Herman which in full is:-

John,

Thanks for your email.

EFSA have approved the benefits of Chromium and our products are all reviewed by Public Analysts who also advise UK trading standards.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards,
Daniel

Sent from Bio-Synergy

Doesn’t exactly answer my questions. I shall be responding to this effect shortly.

I also found the Daily Mail’s version of the story:

It’s the stuff of fantasy for desperate dieters. Not only does a new dessert on sale at Tesco contain fewer calories than an apple, but according to claims from its manufacturers, the creamy pudding could actually help slimmers to lose weight.

The 60-calorie mousse, made by drinks company Bio-Synergy, contains a natural ingredient that can actually reduce the desire to binge on sugar, the store claimed today

The caramel-flavoured treat a dessert which contains chromium, a mineral said to cut sugar cravings.

Tesco say the ingredient has been the subject of numerous studies and clinical trials and has been approved by EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) as a food supplement.

Clinical trials eh? No links of course so the next step was to contact Tesco, as it would appear to be they who are making the claim.

I searched Tesco’s website but could not find anything remotely resembling a Press Office. Most of the email addresses given are to people who want to sell you stuff. The best I could come up with was one for customer services. I haven’t been a customer since Shirley Porter was in Leader of Westminster Council but I could not find anything better so I sent them this:

I note that in today’s Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2012262/Tesco-launch-diet-mousse-fewer-calories-apple–help-LOSE-weight.html)that your stores are now selling Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse “which contains chromium, a mineral said to cut sugar cravings.

“Tesco say the ingredient has been the subject of numerous studies and clinical trials and has been approved by EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) as a food supplement.”

I would be grateful if you could give me the references for these studies and clinical trials, including links if they have been published online.

Yours sincerely

John Hawcock
[address given]
[phone number given]

I have received an auto-response but nothing further as yet. When I get anything else I’ll let you know.

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8 Responses to “A Dessert That Helps You Slim?”

  1. Chris Smith Says:

    And also, the last time I checked, ‘Chromium’ is an element, and contains protons, neutrons and electrons, but not ‘amino acids’.

  2. jaycueaitch Says:

    I pointed this out to Bio-Synergy. Note the reply which does not actually answer this point or indeed any of my questions. My reply was;

    “Hi Daniel.

    Thanks for your prompt response. Unfortunately it does not answer any of my questions.”

  3. Canalon Says:

    http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1732.htm
    Might be what you are interested in. Appears that the effect claimed by the manufactures are not strongly supported by data.

    • jaycueaitch Says:

      Thanks for that. Yes, Mr Herman’s claims do seem to be at variance with EFSA data. Despite his claim that EFSA have “approved the benefits”.

  4. Curianth Says:

    My guess is that the chromium will be in the form of chromium picolinate, because that’s been described elsewhere as “chromium chelated with picolinate – a natural amino acid metabolite” (see ).

    Some references here: , and two significant points: “Because of the popularity of taking chromium supplements for blood sugar regulation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the clinical evidence and concluded that the relationship between chromium picolinate intake and insulin resistance is highly uncertain. More research is needed.” And: “Some studies suggest that chromium may improve lean body mass (namely, muscle) and reduce body fat. However, despite the popularity of chromium (especially chromium picolinate) for weight loss, the effects are small compared to those of exercise and a well-balanced diet.” Nothing about chromium’s role in “suppressing sugar cravings”, as far as I can tell.

  5. Neuroskeptic Says:

    I love the word “woodar”, well done.

    • jaycueaitch Says:

      It’s not original to me. Can’t remember where I first encountered it – probably the Bad Science forum

  6. A Fourth Year of Steam « Letting Off Steam Says:

    [...] News is by no means the only purveyor of health quackery examined. I looked at Bio-Synergy’s pseudoscientific gobbledygook in support of their allegedly slimming-aid [...]

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