The UK's advertising regulator has backed Unilever after the food giant attracted complaints over a TV ad for spread brands including Flora and Bertolli.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled today (26 August) that Unilever had not breached food advertising rules with a spot for Flora, Flora Pro-Activ, Bertolli and I Cant Believe Its Not Butter spreads.

The ASA received complaints arguing that Unilever had "exaggerated" the health benefits associated with polyunsaturated fat spreads. Viewers also claimed that Unilever had "encouraged the consumption of unhealthy levels of the spreads", the ASA said.

Unilever's ad had stated that "not all fats are bad" and said the fats found in the four spreads brands were "essential".

The ASA brushed off claims that Unilever's ad had encouraged viewers to consume "excessive" levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).

"We noted that the ad referred to the intake of the products only as part of a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle and considered that it was sufficiently clear that encouragement to consume PUFAs, or essential fatty acids such as n-6, was made in that context only," the ASA said.