Slim chance products are slimmingBut if you think there’s a magic pill, lotion or solution out there, an adjunct professor at UND says buyer beware.
By: James R. Johnson, Grand Forks Herald
This is it. This is the year you’re going to do it. You’re going to lose that weight.
But if you think there’s a magic pill, lotion or solution out there, an adjunct professor at UND says buyer beware.
“Diet pills are more dangerous than ever,” said Francie Berg, a licensed nutritionist who works in Hettinger, N.D., and is an adjunct professor at UND’s School of Medicine, in a press release. “Many diet pills sold as food supplements today are spiked with potent undeclared drugs.”
Berg is founder, editor and publisher of Healthy Weight Journal and author of 12 books. She has reported scientific research and commentary on obesity, weight loss, disordered eating and size harassment to health professionals for more than two decades.
Her organization, Healthy Weight Network, started the Slim Chance Awards 21 years ago to alert the public to the glut of unsafe weight loss products on the market. Here’s the 2009 list.
- Most outrageous: The 2009 Slim Chance Awards lists69 weight loss products, most originating in China, that the Food and Drug Administration said contain drugs not listed on the label.
The FDA said 28 weight-loss products contained sibutramine, a controlled substance associated with high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, and the potency in the pills tested as high as three times prescription doses.
“Congress keeps loopholes open for the supplement industry,” Berg said. “New pills like these are rushed onto the market with impunity and FDA is required to jump through a long series of hoops to get them off, even after fraud is proved.”
More information can be found under “tainted weight loss pills” at www.fda.gov.
- Worst product: Berg said Hydroxycut has been linked to severe liver damage and at least one death from liver failure. Iovate Health Sciences USA, a distributor for the Canadian company of the same name, has agreed to recall 14 Hydroxycut products from the market.
Berg said their claims are that the diet products decrease body fat, control appetite, cause weight loss, enhance energy and that users can “lose up to 4-5 times the weight than diet and exercise alone.”
More information is listed at www.healthy
- Worst claim: Berg cited the TV home shopping channel QVC for four weight-loss product claims of weight loss, fat loss and cellulite loss, in violation of an earlier court order.
QVC agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges for claims made about For Women Only weight loss pills, Lite Bites weight-loss food bars and shakes, Bee-Alive Royal Jelly and Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion.
- Worst gimmick: Berg said Kinoki Foot Pads. The marketers of Kinoki Foot Pads are being sued by the FTC for claims that applying the pads to the soles of feet at night will remove heavy metals, metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, chemicals and cellulite from people’s bodies. The ads also claim that the foot pads can treat depression, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
For more, see “Detoxification” schemes and scams at www.quackwatch.org.
The Slim Chance Awards lead up to “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day” during Healthy Weight Week, Jan.17–23. But Berg offered some simple advice in a phone conversation.
“Dieting disrupts everything, throws everything out of balance,” Berg said. “If people could adopt healthier lifestyles, diet without dieting, they’d eventually arrive at their natural weight and be a lot healthier.
“Ask yourself ‘How can I be healthy at the weight I am?’” Berg said. “The idea is to be healthy rather than being thin.”
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to email@example.com.
Tags: health, francie berg, kinoki foot pads, iovate health sciences, healthy weight journal, healthy weight network, slim chance awards, food and drug administration, federal trade commission, dieting, hydroxycut, drugs, qvc