- Virtually all weight-loss supplements, even moderately effective ones, contain either amphetamine-like herbs or laxatives.
- Amphetamines speed the heart and nervous system, tend to aggravate rather than mitigate high blood pressure and other side effects of being overweight, and can be addictive.
- Laxatives—potentially dehydrating, particularly in children—can also be addictive.
- Both amphetamines and laxatives tend to lose their power over time, forcing users to raise the dose, often to dangerous levels.
Before purchasing a diet supplement, consider this: Were the scores of over-the-counter weight-loss remedies safe and effective, they wouldn't rely for sales on Sunday morning infomercials and endorsements from trumped-up diet experts. Given that obesity and overweight are among the most common 21st-century ills, any product that actually helped people to get thin quickly, safely and with minimum effort would sell itself. Thanks to the tragic loss of a young ballplayer, Congress is finally stepping up to the plate in an effort to regulate diet supplements. But for now, prudence and common sense are our best protection: Rather than throw your money away on worthless and possibly dangerous over-the-counter diet aids, consider sending a note to your congressperson demanding their regulation.
Diet Supplements 101