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Consumer Reports: Weight-loss supplements not worth the risk

Posted January 29, 2015

Weight-loss supplements that promise quick results are all the rage. In fact, it's now a billion-dollar industry.

But supplements claiming to "burn fat fast" could impact health in a negative way over time.

Ingredients in many of them include green coffee beans, green tea, raspberry ketones and garcinia combogia.

According to a Consumer Reports survey of 3,000 readers, about 25 percent of people use them to lose weight. Of those 750 people, about 675 couldn't keep off the weight they dropped.

About half of those people reported at least one side effect, such as a faster heart rate, jitters or digestive problems.

Products promoted as "natural" weren't always safe, according to Consumer Reports. 

Yohimbe, an African-tree bark extract marketed as a weight-loss supplement, may cause elevated blood pressure or panic attacks.

"There's no supplement out there with enough evidence to show that it's going to help you lose weight," Consumer Reports' Patricia Calvo said. "Some unethical manufacturers even add banned prescription drugs to supplements."

Hundreds of weight-loss supplements have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration that contained drugs rarely listed on labels – drugs linked to heart risks, severe hepatitis, liver failure and even death.

"The short answer is don't take weight-loss supplements," Calvo said. "They're unregulated, they don't really work, and they could very well hurt you."

Consumer Reports says stick with diet and exercise, two things proven to help.


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  • Catherine Edwards Feb 2, 2015
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    It's so dumb that products like these are supposed to affect your body, like a prescription medicine does, but are not regulated. I want to know what is on the shelves is safe and effective.

  • Randy Smith Jan 30, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Never fails!

  • Todd Jenkins Jan 30, 2015
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    Hmm. Backing up from the table and daily exercise always works.