FDA Warning Not Without Merit -- What You Should Know About Diet Aids

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The December alert issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to purchase or consume 25 products claiming weight loss benefits. Of the 25 products listed in the warning, many are manufactured in or contain ingredients from China or Japan and not deemed compliant with U.S. standards. However, there are many weight management products sold over-the-counter that are compliant and clinically shown to work.

The December alert, issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warned consumers not to purchase or consume 25 products claiming weight loss benefits. Of the 25 products listed in the warning, many are manufactured in or contain ingredients from China or Japan and not deemed compliant with U.S. standards. There are, however, many weight management products sold over-the-counter that are compliant and clinically shown to work. As those struggling with weight resolve to shed unhealthy pounds in the New Year, it is increasingly important to know what to look for before choosing a weight loss aid. Here are some tips to help you determine which diet aid may be right for you.

Look for Diet Aids with Full Formula Clinical Trials
Many products claim an "ingredient" or "ingredients" that "may help with" or are "demonstrated" to aid in weight loss. Mixing together multiple ingredients can, however, alter the effect of any one ingredient's attributes and result in a less-than-effective diet aid. Look for products with clinical trials conducted on the full formula, such as Slim Shots, SlimFast, or Alli. These products' formulas, in their entirety, have been clinically shown to be effective in weight management.

Look for Diet Aids that Suppress Your Appetite and Help You Reduce Calories
Weight loss, pure and simple, is a result of eating less and burning more calories than you consume. Transitioning from super-sized to right-sized food portions can be made less difficult with the use of an appetite suppressing diet aid. Slim Shots, for example, is a stimulant-free appetite controller that has been clinically shown to help users reduce calories up to 30% each day and works for 8-hours. SlimFast, although a meal replacement product, helps to control the appetite for up to 4-hours.

Look for Products with No to Low Side Effects
Educate yourself on a product's ingredients and talk with your physician and pharmacist before using any diet aid. Common diet aid ingredients such as Green Tea, Cocoa, and Guarana are stimulants and can cause heart palpitations, jitters, or nervousness. Fiber ingredients like Glucomannan provide a sense of fullness, but that fullness is often described as bloating. Fat blocking products, like Alli, can cause loose, runny, even unpredictable bowel movements when users do not adhere to the strict low-fat diet. In short, it is important to know how the product works, how it may interact with other medications you are taking, and whether the possible side effects are tolerable for you before purchasing or using the product.

Look for Product Dosing Requirements to Understand the True Cost of the Aid
Products that appear to give you more for your money are often more expensive. This is due to the dosing requirements for the full benefit of the aid. For example, the suggested retail price on a 30-count box of Slim Shots is $39.99 while a 60-count starter kit of Alli costs $49.99. While it appears that Alli provides more for your money, the opposite is true. Here is why: the recommended dosing for Slim Shots is 1 time per day while Alli's recommended dosing is 3 times per day. This equates to a 30-count box of Slim Shots lasting a full 30-days at a cost of $1.33 per day versus Alli's 60-count starter kit lasting just 20-days at a cost of $2.49 per day.

Look for Diet Aids Promoting Healthy Eating and Exercise
The key to healthy weight loss and sustained weight management is balance - eating healthier and in the proper portions and burning the calories you ingest. A good guide for a nutritionally balanced diet is the FDA Food Pyramid and exercise can be as simple as spending 15 minutes in the morning and evening jumping rope, taking a brisk walk around the block with your dog, walking through a mall, or even playing tag with your kids.

As you consider losing those unhealthy pounds in the New Year, remember that good quality diet aids can help you accomplish your goals, but changing the lifestyle behaviors that lead to weight gain is ultimately up to you.

For FDA Alert information, see http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01933.html
For information on Slim Shots, see http://www.slimshots.com
For information on Alli, see http://www.myalli.com
For information on SlimFast, see http://www.slimfast.com

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Robin Bonnema

Robin Bonnema
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