A 'merit less publicity stunt' is how Beverages Partners Worldwide describes a lawsuit from CSPI -Center for Science in the Public Interest a non-profit consumer product watchdog, challenging the claims of their new drink.
According to the company, its product Enviga is designed to ' gently burn' more calories and hence, an aid to calorie counting.
The product an artificially sweetened, green tea soft drink is laced with EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate which scientists of the company claim, enhances metabolism, which translates to burning calories.
"The accumulated body of scientific research shows that a combination of caffeine and green tea extract high in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) invigorates metabolism to gently increase energy use," Nestle researcher Dr. Hilary Green said in the Beverage Partners Worldwide statement.
Yet CSPI is not impressed.
The CSPI's litigation unit was set up in 2004 with the aim of curbing deceptive labeling, marketing campaigns or other practices that potentially harm consumers' health.
In addition Richard Blumenthal the Attorney General for Connecticut has given a week to the company, which is an amalgamation of Coca-Cola and Nestle to produce scientific proof that supports these claims or else be sued.
According to him Enviga is nothing but 'voodoo nutrition', just another highly caffeinated diet soda drink which is over-priced.
Enviga is comprised of carbonated water, calcium, concentrated green tea extract, so-called "natural flavors", caffeine, phosphoric acid, and the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium.
Claims of Enviga stem from a 72 hour- study carried out on normal weight individuals who were given drinks containing amounts of caffeine and EGCG equivalent to 3 cans of Enviga. The participants expended more energy and burned 106 calories accordingly.
When the study was presented at a conference of the Obesity Society, the publishers of the journal Obesity, the society disputed the study's conclusions, stating "it is improper to state or imply that the results of this study supports any weight loss" claim.
No test of Enviga has lasted more than three days and a European study found that EGCG and caffeine did not increase energy expenditure after one month and did not help people lose weight.
A longer-term Japanese study appeared to show that a tea fortified with EGCG and caffeine did help people lose more weight than a control tea, but the study was conducted by a tea company and the participants were 38 of the tea company's male employees.
Blumenthal says his office is investigating the claims made by Coca-Cola and Nestle regarding Enviga.
Blumenthal has demanded copies of all scientific studies, clinical trials, tests and papers that prove the calorie-burning claim by next week and says promises of weight loss must be supported by science, not magic.