Richard G. Petty, MD

Common Misconceptions About "Weight Loss" Supplements

My recent comments about chromium, the penalties handed down over false weight loss claims and my inability to find  any support for an apparent claim concerning probiotics and  weight gain, have lead to a flurry of questions and helpful responses.

By far the most common has been surprise. Most people assumed that:

  1. These dietary supplements are regulated and that:
  2. They are therefore safe and
  3. They have had to demonstrate that they are effective

In fact all of those three assumptions are wrong.

I have just found a most helpful article that you can download for free.

Last October at the 2006 Annual Scientific Meeting of NAASO – the Obesity Society – the results of a collaborative research program by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Survey Research & Analysis (CSRA) in Stamford, Connecticut and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Weight Loss and Eating Disorders in Philadelphia were presented. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare funded the study.

Findings from this first national survey on the safety and regulation of dietary supplements for weight loss include:

  • 65% believing that weight-loss products are tested for safety
  • 63% believing that weight-loss products are tested for effectiveness
  • 54% believing that weight-loss products are approved by the FDA
  • 64% believing that manufacturers are required to include warnings about side effects
  • 50% of African Americans and 49% of Hispanics were more likely than Whites of European origin (36%) to believe supplements are safer than OTC or prescription weight-loss drugs

Congressman John Dingell from Michigan has indicated that the new Congress will be re-visiting the issue of the FDA’s regulation of some of these supplements.

That would probably be wise.

Though as a very firm advocate for health freedom, I always worry when new regulations are proposed, simply because they sometimes lead to the baby being ejected with the bath water.

I shall continue to watch this developing story and to let you know how things develop.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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