Losing weight ranks as one of the top New Year’s resolutions every year. Many people want fast, easy ways to shed those extra pounds. Ads promoting diet pills, special powders or weight-loss patches are everywhere (television, internet, print, etc.). These products typically guarantee quick results with little or no effort needed. However, many are ineffective and can do more harm than good.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, approximately 15% of U.S. adults have used some sort of weight-loss supplement at some point in their lives. However, many of these adults do not even know what is in the supplement or where it came from. The U.S. Government Accountability Office states little is known about weight-loss supplements and if they are effective, but they are costly and some ingredients can interfere with certain medications.
If you’re considering using a weight-loss product, consult your doctor. A doctor can give you proper recommendations based on your physical status and weight loss goals.
In addition, BBB offers these tips:
- Don’t buy into words like “breakthrough,” “secret,” “exclusive” or “miraculous” in advertisements. These buzzwords are used to grab your attention and entice you into buying fraudulent products.
- Beware of promotions claiming easy weight loss while eating your favorite foods. Healthy eating is a vital part of losing weight.
- Be cautious when purchasing any drugs or supplements online. Medications may come from outside the U.S. and may contain harmful ingredients. Also, if an online company does not disclose its location or contact information, it may be a scam.
- Beware of high-pressure sales tactics and limited-time offers.
- Be wary of free trials. Know when the free trial begins and ends and if you should call to cancel future charges.
- Take product testimonials with a grain of salt. These people may be paid actors. Plus, testimonials aren’t substitutions for scientific proof of products’ effectiveness.
- Remember, no diet pill or miracle cream can result in permanent, long-term weight loss. Permanent weight loss requires a change in lifestyle – healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
- Keep in mind, money-back guarantees are only as good as the companies making them.
A common misconception is the FDA has reviewed all dietary supplement products in circulation. However, manufacturers don’t need FDA approval before selling dietary supplements. Take it upon yourself to research what you put into your body.
As you consider weight-loss products, check out businesses before you buy. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301 for a list of BBB Accredited Businesses and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. The FDA (www.fda.gov) can also provide information on advertised diet products.
John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.