Every year, Americans spend $35 million on weight-loss products. Weight-loss supplements are a big part of the industry. These over the counter dietary supplements can be found everywhere: celebrities endorse them in the news, and there is always a new product on the market promising a "new you." Many manufacturing companies promise quick fix weight-loss, but the dangerous side effects aren't always advertised. Not only that, but they are not even regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
"Because the FDA does not regulate or inspect these products, many can be tainted with insecticides, toxins, or even with prescription drugs," says Dr. Sue Decotiis, owner of a weight-loss practice in New York City, and creator of her own pharmaceutical grade weight-loss product. "Even if they are not contaminated, supplements often contain doses of ingredients different than those listed."
Not surprisingly, the FDA often recalls these products after users experience life-threatening side effects.
There have been countless lawsuits against these weight-loss supplement companies, but they never seem to solve the problem. So the buyer must always beware.
"Even after the FDA warns a particular company about a product, that product can be relabeled and redistributed through a different company," Decotiis explained.
Sadly, even naturally derived products can be dangerous because there is no oversight to supervise the manufacturing of these supplements. There is no labeling protocol in place to warn customers if there are harmful ingredients in them, so this information only surfaces when users report adverse side effects to the FDA and Federal Trade Commission. The potency of the ingredients in these supplements isn't properly indicated, so consumers don't know if there is enough of the weight loss ingredient in the pill to actually do anything. Ultimately, many of these supplements don't work at all, but the marketing claims aren't closely monitored either, allowing companies to pretty much advertise as they please.
Before you consider using any of these weight-loss aids, read through our slideshow to see what diet "miracles" you may want to avoid.
-Victoria Barton, The Daily Meal
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