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Why Diet Supplements Don’t Work

You’re desperate to lose a few pounds and move toward a healthier lifestyle and you see ads everywhere for diet supplements that will allow you to do just that. It’s tempting to want a quick fix to your weight worries, but diet supplements won’t lead you to a healthier life. In fact, pills and products themselves can be downright dangerous and it’s never a good idea to compromise your health to see a new number on the scale. Despite the fact that there are natural, healthy options for reducing sugar and losing weight without putting dangerous chemicals into your body, one in four Americans have turned to weight-loss supplements to help them reach their goals. Unfortunately there is no proof that these supplements work. Here’s why it’s best to avoid diet supplements all together.

There is little oversight of diet supplements.

If you’ve seen advertising for diet supplements you know that they claim to help you melt pounds, boost metabolism and have increased energy. The label may even use words like “proven.” But the truth is that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t closely oversee supplements. Anyone can claim their product is “guaranteed” or a “scientific breakthrough” without having proof to back those claims up. Still, many consumers are convinced by this marketing. Unlike medicines, which must be proven safe before they go to market, supplements are considered safe until proven otherwise by the FDA. For us, that’s just not good enough.

You don’t actually know what’s in diet supplements.

Alarmingly, many weight loss supplements are so harmful that the FDA has started paying attention. Many brands have been found to contain unsafe ingredients that consumers don’t realize they’re ingesting. “The agency has found hundreds of products that are marketed as dietary supplements but actually contain hidden active ingredients (components that make a medicine effective against a specific illness) contained in prescription drugs, unsafe ingredients that were in drugs that have been removed from the market, or compounds that have not been adequately studied in humans,” the FDA warns.

Those hidden ingredients in diet supplements can cause dangerous side effects.

The FDA recalls weight loss supplements that have been proven to be dangerous, but often those products are able to later re-enter the market. However, a Consumer Reports survey found that two-thirds of products that had been recalled and re-entered the market still contained dangerous ingredients. Because of this, it’s not surprising the same study found that half of people who used weight loss supplements experienced side effects including a rapid heart rate or constipation. This is a higher rate of side effects than for most supplements. “Of all dietary supplements, the ones for weight loss seem to cause the most harm — sometimes liver failure and even death,” Pieter Cohen, M.D., a physician at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance who studies supplements, told Consumer Reports.

The active ingredients in diet supplements might be barely legal.

Hidden ingredients aren’t the only ingredients you have to worry about when taking weight loss supplements. One popular ingredient in mainstream weight loss supplements is 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), which hasn’t been studied in humans. However, it is similar to another compound that the FDA has banned because it was known to cause cardiovascular issues and raise blood pressure. Wanting to lose weight and get healthy can leave you feeling desperate. However, rather than looking for a quick-fix and opening yourself up to danger, it’s better to learn to avoid sugar and develop a diet and exercise routine that fits your needs. That way you can rest assured that you’re taking a holistic, safe and natural approach to weight loss.