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I have written a few posts and it is sometimes hard to find the one you want. Here is a list of some of the most popular/ useful ones and a quick summary. I hope you can find what you are looking for.

Follow Bot Watch on Twitter (@MLMBotWatch) or Facebook to keep upto date.

How to leave an MLM This helps people who are in an MLM and want to leave but are worried about how they should go about it. It can be a stressful time. This is also useful if you have already left and are grappling with the emotions that are left.

Network Marketing is a cult. This title is not as mad sounding as you think. It provides an analysis of what a cult is and how MLMs fit the criteria. This is quite a stressful read if you have been involved but things may make a bit more sense to you after reading.

MLM and the Enterprise Allowance This is a continuing investigation which is nearing completion. The article lays out the problem and the beginnings of my sleuthing. More progress has been made and it will be updated when completed. The Enterprise Allowance is a government scheme that funds new businesses.

You are not an independent Business Owner A quick look at what these words mean and how ridiculous they sound when applied to someone involved in MLMs. Quite funny, and a good one to link to in an argument with someone involved in MLM!

Directory of MLM information This one provides general MLM information and then gives an alphabetical list of some of the MLMs we have come across and details on them. I need to update it a bit to reflect some of the companies failing and creating new scandals, but it is a good place to start looking for information.

How to help someone in an MLM. This is a good read if you have a fried or relative involved in an MLM and you are at a loss as to what to do. You may be worried about damaging your relationship with them. This article will help you through the difficulties and offer practical advice.

In need of an alternative/ extra income? This is a resource for people who are in need of earning some money and need an alternative to MLM. This could be useful for someone who has been considering an MLM or people who are leaving and are still left with the problem of wanting to make money at home. I gain nothing from any of the links in this article. No affiliate marketing going on here.

The things MLMs say (or MLM Bingo) People arguing for MLMs will always come up with the same tiring arguments all the time. Here, they are laid out and explanations given as to why they are not true. If you get in an argument with someone in an MLM, refer them to this piece.

MLM Expectation vs Reality This was produced in partnership with someone who was quite high up in Forever Living. She spills the beans on what she was promised and what actually happened once she joined. The themes are relevant to all MLMs. It is quit an eye opener.

Forever Living using sick children, Great Ormond Street Hospital and a charity to make unsubstantiated health claims. This is an investigation that exposed some lies that some people were caught telling. The title tells you all you need to know.

People who care about you are worried A good one to link to if you have a friend or relative who has become embroiled in MLM but you don’t know how to approach them. People have actually sent this to people and had good results. It could also help you get your own thoughts together and working out why you are worried.

Are you or someone you know in an MLM? Having doubts? Aimed at people who have just joined an MLM and are thinking ‘what on earth have I got myself involved in here?’ Maybe it was going well at first but now the doubts are creeping in. Read this to find out what is happening to you.

Making False Health Claims. Part 1 and Making False Health Claims. Part 2 These explain the laws around making heath claims for products in the UK. This covers medicines, herbal remedies and any products that claim to alter the body’s functions. Seen an advert for a product that can cure diabetes or help you lose weight? These articles help you work out if those claims can be made, and if not, what you can do about it.

Contents page

Lean Java Bean coffee

Lean Java Bean coffee is starting to be promoted by poor, deluded bots who have found their last MLM did not work. They are hoping that this is the one that will make them millions. After all, it is clinically proven, everyone likes coffee and everyone needs to lose weight without putting in any effort right? Surely they can’t lose? After all, their last coffee MLM had problems because the meanies wouldn’t let them promise weight loss miracles. This one will apparently. They sell weight loss coffee and expensive ‘tools’ aimed at self improvement (read ‘brainwashing products’)

Let’s look at the claims made and the evidence behind them. Then we’ll look at the law and see if they should be making these claims.

Here are some of the claims being made out there…

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Wow! That’s quite some coffee! The list of claims is significant and promises quite a lot. The addition of ‘clinically proven results’ sounds quite impressive and has obviously convinced the people trying to sell it.

So what are the ingredients? They seem to be-

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I went to the website of the actual company , through clicking on a rep’s link, and found some details about the amazing ingredients. There are 3.

Ingredient 1.

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20 people is a very, very small sample of people to base any conclusions on. Even if it is without ‘side affects’. The dose quoted is 500mg, how much is in the coffee? We don’t know because that isn’t disclosed on the label. It could be 1mg for all we know. Let’s see if we can find the research that was done to come up with these claims.

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The above article summary is from the Super Citrimax part of the Lonza website.  Lonza manufacture Citrimax.  If you understand research (as I do), you will notice that there are only 24 participants which is pathetically low. More tellingly, the results are not as good as they are making out. It says at the end that ‘body weight tended to decrease (P=0.1)’. For a result to be statistically significant, ie the results are what they say they are, the P value needs to be less than 0.05. This means the research does not show Citrimax does anything except reduce how much energy the people consumed. It has no effect on feelings of fullness or weight loss.

Three other research papers are cited on the super Citrimax website, but none of them describe anything resembling the research cited by Java Bean. Another study stated results but they were not all statistically significant. Even more tellingly, it was described as a pilot study. This is a type of study that is done as a practice run to see if it is worth running a bigger study. There is no mention of a bigger study. Either they didn’t do one or no significant results were found.

Ingredient 2.

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Lonza describe the two studies that were done on Chromemate. The first one had 4 groups of 10. Just ten! LDL cholesterol, and therefore total cholesterol, were reduced in the small group that took Chromemate. Three other cholesterol related numbers were not affected. Again, this was a pilot study with no follow up. The other ‘study’ wasn’t a study at all, rather, it was someone theorising how Chromemate might be useful for atheletes.

Ingredient 3.

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I found the website that is linked to this ingredient. It is pretty disturbing. It has to be visited really to truly take in the horrors of this product. Cocaine leaves without the cocaine? What?

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The ingredients are listed here. The reasoning for including these ingredients are mostly traditional use claims, such as

Annatto Leaf Powder

Annatto Leaf Powder – the rainforest tribes have used the entire plant as medicine for centuries. The Piura tribe as an aphrodisiac and astringent, and to treat skin problems, fevers, dysentery, and hepatitis uses a tea made with the young shoots. The leaves are used to treat skin problems, liver disease, and hepatitis. The plant has also been considered good for the digestive system. The Cojedes tribe uses an infusion of the flowers to stimulate the bowels and aid in elimination as well as to avoid phlegm in newborn babies. Traditional healers in Colombia have also used annatto as an antivenin for snakebites. The seeds are believed to be an expectorant, while the roots are thought to be a digestive aid and cough suppressant”.

 

So, are the claims made for the coffee based on trustworthy facts?

There has been no research done to test the Lean Bean Java coffee.

The claims come from research and traditional claims made for individual ingredients.

The research is flimsy at best.

We don’t know how much of the ingredients are in the coffee itself.

 

I conclude that there is not enough evidence for the claims that are being made for the coffee.

 

Legally allowed claims

But surely, for the company (and the people selling and buying it from them) to make these claims, they must have pretty solid grounds? They are making claims that their product can interact with the body and change how it works, bringing about changes. This means it is a medicine in UK law and a drug in US law. The MHRA regulates medicines in the UK and they say this-

“A medicinal product is:

  • any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties of preventing or treating disease in human beings
  • any substance or combination of substances that may be used by or administered to human beings with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying a physiological function by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or making a medical diagnosis”

If  product is to be sold as a medicine, it needs to have a licence from the MHRA. Is Lean Bean Java coffee or any of the three ingredients listed as a medicine?

I searched the MHRA’s list of licenced medicines.  The following ingredients were not on the list- Lean Bean Java, Macoca, Chromemate and Citrimax (with and without the ‘super’). This means they are not an authorised medicine so no medical claims can be made about it or the ingredients.

I decided to search the European Medicines Agency (EMA). They keep a register of medicines and herbal remedies for the whole of Europe. I searched for the same ingredients. Guess what? There is no record of any of the ingredients there either.

I then looked up some of the other ingredients on the EMA. Ginseng root can be claimed to be able to treat tiredness and weakness, but not if it is in combination with other herbal medicines.  There is no good science for it, and a few side effects, but this ingredient can only be claimed as a herbal remedy if it has been authorised by the MHRA in the UK. Looking this up, the only Ginseng products that are allowed to make these claims are from two companies that make it in tablet form.

Green tea extract was searched for next. The EMA are still evaluating the evidence. The MHRA have not licenced any green tea products based on their herbal use.

I then looked up all the other ingredients on the EMA and MHRA websites and found no mention of any of them. I won’t bore you with the links to each search. You can have a look yourself if you like.

Legally then, no one can claim that Lean Java Bean or any of its ingredients can affect metabolism or have any noticeable effects on the body. Looking back at the images in the beginning of this post, there are many claims being made about the physical effects of this product on the body. These are very, very wrong, as well as misleading.

 

What can be done?

Companies should not be allowed to get away with making misleading and illegal claims about their products. There are safeguards in place to prevent these lies from being made and products sold under false pretences. The legal body in the UK that monitors these adverts is called the Advertising Standards Authority. They refer to a set of rules called CAP that set out what can and can’t be said. Their website says they were set up keep adverts ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.

If you see any adverts about Lean Java Bean coffee claiming they cause any physical effect on the body’s functions, you can complain to the ASA. It is a really simple process and you can do it anonymously if you like. Normally, if you complain about an MLM, it is the rep who was selling it that got in trouble and they took the blame. The company reprimanded them or fired them (so much for being an independent business owner). In this instance, however, the claims seem to be coming direct from the company (Vitae Global).

Background to the company.

I tried to look up this company at Companies House but there seems to be no trace of them. I wanted to see their history and the owners’ details for some clues as to what they might be upto. A little look around shows a facebook page that has been deleted, and a  Behind MLM review that has been deleted. I found this review, but be warned, it tries to sell you his method of recruiting but it has a lot of information.

Here is a video message for the founders who are joining before the company launches. Jim Britt literally promises you will be rich very quickly and very easily. I investigated the company further but I began to be drawn down a rabbit hole so I extricated myself and decided not to bother.

For now, I would just like to concentrate on the fact that the health claims are bogus, illegal and come straight from the company.

 

What you can do

Please complain to the ASA if you see any of these illegal health claims for this coffee. It needs to be stopped. The complaint form is straightforward to fill in. You will need to take a screengrab and note the time and place that you saw the advert.

The basis for the complaint will be that the health claims are not allowed as the product is not a medicine or herbal remedy as regulated by the MHRA. Let us know how you get on…

 

 

 

Lean Java Bean coffee