Lipton Green Tea a Drug?

That is what the US FDA is saying. Lipton’s have received warning letters from the FDA about reference to the anti-oxidant properties of their green tea. The why in which Lipton's present the information is such that the FDA considered that they are marketing an unapproved drug.

They are using studies relating to green tea but carried out in a quite different product and environment.

I found this quite interesting because more and more food companies are getting away with claims that we as dietary supplement manufacturers cannot even use.

We have a blatant case of this in New Zealand which has been going on for years. It is a margarine (which I personally think is bad for you) that contains some plant sterols. This company markets the product on TV specifically with the claim that it will lower your cholesterol by 20%. There is no proof of this beyond the studies that have been done on plant sterols.

The studies using plant sterols were done on a controlled basis with measured doses, not someone spreading it on their bread in uncontrolled amounts. Also, the studies did not mix it with all the other chemicals found in margarine.

If a dietary supplement manufacturer were to make the same claims even though it could be administered in controlled doses with known efficacy…they would be shut down.

The same problem is cropping up with drinks and all types of foods which claim to have antioxidants and various other nutrients…but, the claims are based on studies which are totally different to the delivery form that they are being supplied in with regard to the foods and drinks. Some of the processes that those foods and drinks go through render the nutrient ineffective.

So, when you are looking at a food or drink with specific health benefits, try to look beyond the broad claim…and don’t forget to consider what else is in the product. Not much point in having a drink which may have some vitamins in it if it's loaded with sugar and other preservatives.