In a country and world that has become pretty reliant on pills and supplements for weight loss, it’s important to know the dangers that taking such pills can pose to your health. Even the most natural of supplements aren’t always what they seem, and if you’re always putting your body at risk by taking supplements that promote weight loss.
What’s Really Inside
The scariest thing about dietary supplements that many people don’t realize is that we aren’t even exactly sure what’s in them. Many doctors advise against diet pills because the manufacturers often add in potentially harmful ingredients without including them on the label.
“Originally, the makers would throw in something like caffeine to give you a kick,” ConsumerLab.com president Dr. Tod Cooperman said. “Now they’re adding in compounds you find in prescription drugs without including that information on their labels.”
A recent study showed that several weight loss and body building supplements contained a dangerous drug known as oxilofrine, which can cause nausea, vomiting and ultimately cardiac arrest.
“This is not a drug you want to play around with and we found supplements that contained extremely high amounts,” Harvard researcher Peter Cohen, M.D., said.
Don’t Always Trust The Internet
Some dietary supplements that have been sold on the Internet are sold that way so that the manufacturer can avoid dealing with regulators — meaning that although you might think what you’re taking is helping you lose weight, it might be putting you at risk for some serious health problems.
“If a weight loss supplement is working, it could be due to a stimulant whose safety is unproven,” cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston said. “Even if you lose weight, you may have unpleasant, even dangerous cardiac side effects.”
Countless people have experienced the dangers of dietary supplements bought on the Internet, including Australian man Matthew Whitby — who lost his liver and almost died after taking a supplement purchased online.
“I didn’t think something you could buy online or just over the counter did the damage that it did to me,” Whitby said of the liver failure he experienced as a result of the drug he bought online. “They didn’t say anything about ‘could cause liver failure.’”
Natural Doesn’t Always Mean Safe
Lots of companies push the idea of herbal supplements for weight loss, but it isn’t always what it seems. Manufacturers have certain leeway with natural supplements that allow for them to market them however they choose, which means that you might not be getting something that’s completely natural.
“Federal law was changed in 1994, so dietary supplements no longer need approval from the FDA before they can be marketed. This has turned the market for dietary supplements and herbal medications into a buyer beware free-for-all,” physician Stephen Kamelgarn explained.
“This has been made worse by the fact that many of these supplements can be sold over the Internet, so consumers really have no idea what they are getting. In 1994, GNC settled a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission for deliberately mislabeling many of their supplements; many not containing any of the stated ingredient.”
Stick To What Works
The fact is, you’re much better off sticking to what everyone knows works when it comes to losing weight — diet and exercise. A healthy diet full of fiber, protein and other nutrients that promote an increased metabolism, mixed with a regular exercise routine that helps to keep you active and burn fat and calories, is the most effective and safest way to lose weight at a good pace.
Diet supplements are tempting because of the supposed quick results, but just because you lose weight quickly and easily doesn’t mean it’s actually helping you. In fact, it could cost you your life if you’re not careful.