Benecol advert banned over misleading health claims

A Johnson & Johnson advert for a yoghurt drink has been banned for exaggerating the product's health benefits.

The television ad for Benecol yoghurt drinks began with a voiceover saying: "Did you know two out of three adults have high cholesterol? Just like Linda here, until she discovered that ... certain foods lower cholesterol.

"Like Benecol which is proven to lower cholesterol by up to 10% in just three weeks."

Two viewers complained that the claim "two out of three adults have high cholesterol" was misleading. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Two viewers complained that the claim was misleading, and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) challenged whether the ad made unauthorised health claims.

Johnson & Johnson added that many respected medical organisations in the UK were currently using the same or similar statements in their literature.

Johnson & Johnson said total blood cholesterol levels of higher than 5 mmol/l were considered high or raised, and 2011 World Health Organisation statistics showed the prevalence of raised cholesterol to be 65.6% for males and 65.7% for females.