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The Truth about Weight Loss Supplements

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weight loss supplements If one of your New Years’ resolutions is to lose weight in 2015, you may be tempted to invest in some sort of weight loss supplement. However, a new Consumer Reports survey suggests that might not be a good idea. It turns out most of us are mistaken about both the safety, and the effectiveness, of these quick “weight-loss” formulas.

  • More than 25% of survey participants believed the weight-loss supplements would help them lose more weight than other methods. But keep in mind that these products don’t have to be proven effective before hitting store shelves.
  • A quarter of Americans believe the products have fewer side effects than most over-the-counter or prescription medications. But about half the people in the survey said they experienced at least one side effect when using a weight loss supplement. These included a rapid heart rate, jitteriness, digestive problems, dry mouth, or another side effect.
  • A third of those who took supplements didn’t lose any weight. And only 9 percent of those surveyed said they lost all the weight they hoped to lose and kept it off. However, most of the people that lost weight while taking a supplement were also dieting or exercising, which may have been the main reason for weight loss.

“If you’ve spent money on something you think will help, you’ll probably pay more attention to what you’re eating. Taking the pill acts as a reminder,” says Pieter Cohen, M.D., a physician at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance who studies supplements.

Your best bet? Instead of resorting to a quick weight loss supplement, try switching to any low-carb or low-fat diet. This includes popular programs such as Atkins, the Zone and Jenny Craig. They all support healthy eating habits, and result in an average weight loss of 18 pounds in six months.

SOURCES:

Consumer Reports’ Survey Finds Americans Mistaken About Safety and Effectiveness of Weight-Loss Supplements. Press Release. Consumer Reports. Dec 2014.

Taking diet pills? Don’t waste your money. News Report. Consumer Reports. Dec 2014.

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