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Some people don’t want harsh chemicals and hormones added to their body when they’re trying to lose weight, so they turn to herbal supplements for a diet boost. However, these “natural” pills might not be as wholesome as you thought they were.

[From CNN Health]

The names of the weight-loss supplements say it all: 7 Day Herbal Slim, 2 Day Diet, and even 24 Hours Diet. Those are just three of dozens of different brands touted as all-natural ways to shed pounds, and lose them super fast.

But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these “herbal” weight-loss remedies — 69 at last count — are tainted with prescription drugs or mixtures of drugs, including laxatives, diuretics, and anti-seizure medications. And that list of 69 products will probably grow in the coming weeks, says FDA spokesperson Rita Chappelle.

“Our investigation is ongoing and quite extensive, and more products will be added to the list,” she says.

Some supplements contain rimonabant, a prescription drug rejected by the FDA for use in the United States due to safety concerns. And others contain sibutramine, a prescription weight-loss drug sold as Meridia in the United Sates. However, the supplements often contain more than one drug, and in doses three to four times what you would get with a doctor’s prescription. The supplements’ labels don’t mention the medications, much less the amount of the drug found in the pills.

“The biggest issue generally speaking with herbal over-the-counter supplements is that people don’t think they’re drugs to begin with,” says Matthew Grissinger, director of error reporting programs at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, in Horsham, Pennsylvania. Undeclared ingredients make it even more likely that a person could have interactions with prescription medications or other health risks, he says.

Someone with high blood pressure or heart failure (not uncommon in the overweight) “may already be on diuretics, so now they are literally taking two, three, four times the amount of diuretic they are supposed to,” he says.

More than 150 million people in the U.S. take vitamins and other dietary supplements, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), which represents supplement manufacturers. The group supports the FDA’s efforts and encourages “consumers to be savvy when it comes to their supplements,” said CRN’s president and CEO, Steve Mister, in a statement. “Always buy from reputable companies that you know and trust.”

The FDA does not approve or regulate dietary supplements before they come on the market; “let the buyer beware” is typically the rule of thumb.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Why not ditch the supplements altogether? Click here for 6 top secrets of fitness pros.

Herbal supplements may be BS, but you wouldn’t believe what else is!

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