In fact, Americans spend more than $2 billion on weight-loss dietary supplements every year. In many cases, these supplements could be jeopardizing their health, according to the federal Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health.
A national survey found that less than one-third of adults in the U.S. who take a supplement to lose weight talk to their doctor about it.
It’s normal to wish for an easy answer when it comes to losing weight. Weight loss takes a lifetime commitment to healthy eating and regular exercise. Before you buy the latest weight-loss product promising to “melt belly fat” and “increase your metabolism,” consider these five facts about dietary supplements:
- Weight-loss products marketed as dietary supplements sometimes contain prescription-drug ingredients, controlled substances and ingredients that have not been tested or studied.
- The evidence that dietary supplements can reduce body weight or stimulate weight loss is “inconclusive and unconvincing, and the cost of these products can be considerable,” according to the NIH.
- If a dietary supplement is natural, it does not mean it is safe. Dietary supplements can interact with prescription medications you may take. Many weight-loss products also contain multiple ingredients that have not been tested to ensure they’re safe to take all at once.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates weight-loss dietary supplements but does not scrutinize them closely because they’re not classified as drugs. Unlike drugs, weight-loss supplements don’t have to be approved by the FDA. It’s up to the supplement manufacturers to make sure their products are safe and their labels are not misleading.
- It is against the law for manufacturers to promote dietary supplements to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Federal health authorities urge anyone considering taking a weight-loss supplement to talk to their health provider first. It’s especially important for people who have any type of medical condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease or heart disease to be careful with supplements.
+ Find help losing weight at Bon Secours Weight Loss Institute. Our comprehensive program considers the unique needs of each individual. We offer medically-supervised weight loss programs, nutrition and fitness coaching as well as surgical weight loss at Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center.