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Food Trends: Hooray for the FDA

I was so pleased to just read the consumer update Beware of Fraudulent Weight-Loss ‘Dietary Supplements’ posted by the FDA two days ago.  Since I’ve become a dietitian, the magic bullet supplement or diet pill industry has been a thorn in my side.  I’ve had many clients and patients over the years describe their habitual visits to GNC, the Vitamin Shoppe, or lately the internet purchasing hundreds of dollars of items that are supposed to help with weight loss, melt the fat off, or expedite the burn.  Now the FDA is speaking out and I’m thrilled. 

Not only was I happy to see this consumer update, but I learned something as well.  Did you know that federal regulators have evidence that some dietary supplements contain hidden prescription drugs that haven’t been adequately studied on humans?  The FDA also found that some weight- loss drugs still contained sibutramine, which was taken off the market in 2010 because it caused strokes and heart problems.  “We’ve found other weight-loss products marketed as supplements that contain dangerous concoctions of hidden ingredients including seizure medications, blood pressure medications, and other drugs not approved in the U.S,” quotes Michael Levy, director of the FDA.

I always remind my clients that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA and do not need to get any approval prior to selling products.  As suggested by the FDA, before you start taking any dietary supplement or weight loss product check with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian. 

I’ll leave you with this. “We have seen deaths associated with these weight-loss products,” adds Levy. “Make no mistake—they can kill you.”  Is it that worth it? Take a look at the full update at this link. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm246742.htm

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