Top 5 things to know about weight loss supplements

Top 5 things to know about weight loss supplements

Weight loss supplements might not be safe or effective.

1. A manufacturer does not have to prove to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that its supplement is safe and effective before the supplement is sold to consumers (you).

The FDA monitors the safety and effectiveness of weight loss supplements only after they are on the market.  Even then, the FDA does not have the resources to assure the safety of all weight loss supplements.

2. The FDA will take action against a manufacturer only after it has evidence to prove:

  • that a product on the market has caused illness or injury, or
  • that the claims on a product are false and/or misleading.

In 1994, the FDA banned the sale of supplements containing ephedra only after 16,000 documented adverse effects and 100 ephedra-related deaths.

3. Marketers of weight loss supplements do not have to prove to you or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that claims about their product are accurate or truthful.

In other words, marketers do not have to provide evidence to back up their research, studies, claims about health or weight loss benefits, or experience and qualifications of anyone endorsing the product.

4. The manufacturer is responsible for analyzing its supplement to ensure that the ingredient list is accurate and the content in the bottle matches the amount declared on the label.

An independent laboratory that tested 11 weight loss supplements found that only 6 of 11 supplements contained the key ingredients listed on the label and passed testing. One product was found to be contaminated with lead, another couldn’t be absorbed by the body, and another contained a combination of ingredients that could pose a health risk.

5. Prior to 1994, a manufacturer needed federal approval to sell their weight loss supplement. Under the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, manufacturers no longer need federal approval to sell their supplement.

Not coincidentally, the number of weight loss supplements on the market, advertising, and sales revenue have all increased since then. Nearly 300 weight loss supplements entered the market between the years of 1996 and 2001 alone (and those are only the ones voluntarily reported to the federal government).

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
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About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

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