A Consumer Reports survey reveals new facts about consumers’ perceptions of and experiences with weight loss supplements. The survey shows that 20% of Americans believe that the FDA guarantees the safety and effectiveness of weight loss supplements, even though the FDA’s role is more nuanced than that. It also found that about 50% of those who tried a weight loss supplement experienced at least one side effect, and that many people who take a weight loss supplement don’t inform their doctor of their choice to do so. Nevertheless, while weight loss supplements have been a problem area for the supplement industry—some have been found to be contaminated with drugs and the science can sometimes be suspect—the picture is more complicated than the survey suggests.
Even though the FDA does not approve supplements for safety and efficacy before they come onto the market, the FDA does monitor supplements for safety once they hit store shelves, and the agency has the authority to take legal actions against dangerous products or irresponsible manufacturers.
There is no indication that Consumer Reports independently verified that the above-mentioned side effects were in fact caused by the weight loss supplements, meaning that they may have been caused by something else.
Two-thirds of those taking a weight loss supplement actually lost weight; although, 85% of them were also on a diet or exercise program.
That being said, it is always very important to consult with a health care practitioner before starting a weight loss supplement. It’s also crucial to purchase supplements from reliable, mainstream brands (ones that follow federally required Good Manufacturing Practices) and from trusted retailers.
Source: Consumer Reports