‘Shark Tank’: The Sharks expose a gimmicky weight loss bar and advise the audience not to buy it
‘Shark Tank’ is not only a great platform for raising capital for businesses but also as a marketing platform for entrepreneurs to spread the word about their unique products. There are several businesses that didn’t receive funding from the “sharks” but still went on to become successful businesses thanks to the exposure and no doubt the quality of the product.
On the premiere episode of season 11, which aired on September 29, we saw two men -- Barret Jacques and Carmichael trying to raise $500,000 funding for 20% stake in their weight-loss snack bar called ‘MinusCal’. The presenters put up a short musical performance to explain the science behind their snack bar. They talked about how their bar helps fight fat from entering the body through “cholive”. In case you’re wondering what cholive is then you’re not alone. All the sharks had the same question and the presenters tried their best to explain. They described it as a “proprietary all-natural blend derived from fermented green tea”. They claimed that it could lower cholesterol.
Mark Cuban roasted the presenters because he felt that they were contradicting themselves. Although their publicity material clearly stated “weight loss” as one its claims, the presenters kept stating that it wouldn’t do much for weight-loss. The presenters themselves ended up confusing themselves with the science behind the product. This resulted in all the sharks backing out from investing in the venture, and Mark clearly told the audience not to buy the snack bars as he believed it to be a scam.
Fans too felt that the pitch was underwhelming and not up to the mark. A fan posted on Reddit, “Minus Cal is one of the most embarrassing pitches I’ve ever seen. Mark has consistently gone after products like that and they should have been more prepared to deal with him. He absolutely tore them apart. And Robert pointing to “Weight Loss” on their sign was devastating.”
Another fan broke down the science behind the product, “While I despise bogus health pitches, we could at least discuss the background science related to the Minus Cal pitch. The claim to use a green tea fermentation extract. Green teas have been considered a cholesterol and/or weight lowering botanical for centuries. So that part isn't a stretch. They also seem to be claiming or implying some similarity to drugs like Xenecal/Orlistat/Alli. Those drugs have been certified scientifically as lowering some cholesterol form and being associated with weight loss. They're not miracle drugs, and they have side effects and usage limitations. But they are standard drugs used for treating obesity. To really oversimplify it, these categories of substances all work with enzymes and lipids to reduce triglycerides and outcomes do include increased excretion of fast and related weight loss. It's worth noting that no ethical physician would prescribe them as a way to offset eating fatty foods as prescribing them must be done in conjunction with low-fat diet. My best guess is these guys are piggybacking on established science but that their specific foods haven't been tested on a scale and credibility to claim they significantly reduce calories, cholesterol or weight. They're probably just harmless and overpriced, with some kind of "green tea extract" like everything else has on the label.”
New episodes of 'Shark Tank' season 11 air at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.