Considering Weight-Loss Supplements? Shop with Confidence
As more and more people struggle to lose extra weight, many of us have contemplated weight-loss dietary supplements. But do they work? The short answer: For long-term weight loss and health, nothing beats a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, a multitude of products exist, some with preliminary research supporting certain effects.
The most important tip-off that a supplement may not be legitimate or pure are claims that are too good to be true. Products that promise quick action (“Lose 20 pounds in 10 days!”), that tout a revolutionary new scientific breakthrough, or that are marketed as having actions similar to FDA-approved weight-loss medications should raise a red flag. These products may contain unapproved or potentially harmful ingredients, including prescription medications.
Be supplement savvy
In addition to paying attention to aggressive product claims, a few tips will help you make the most of any dietary supplement you decide to try.
- Talk to your doctor or dietitian about whether a supplement is right for you before adding it to your self-care routine.
- If you take prescription medications; have a heart condition, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or high blood pressure; or have anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, do not use weight-loss supplements without your doctor’s guidance. Some products can significantly worsen these conditions.
- Read labels. Be especially cautious with products manufactured in a foreign country or whose marketing materials are in a foreign language.
- Watch out for testimonials from people who claim outrageous weight-loss success. Companies selling a product often make up their own testimonials.
- Supplements that boost metabolism or suppress appetite may aid weight loss, but most are considered safe only for short-term use of four to six weeks, even in healthy folks.
- If you think you’ve had a bad reaction to a dietary supplement, notify the FDA through their website or by phone. This is the only way to make sure harmful products are taken off the market.