How Seriously Should You Take Diet Pill Claims?

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The next time you see or hear an ad claiming that some dietary supplement will help you lose 10 pounds in two days, take it with a grain of salt.

That’s the advice of researchers in the United Kingdom who say, “Evidence for most dietary supplements as aids in reducing body weight is not convincing.”

None of the reviewed dietary supplements can be recommended for over-the-counter use. Reviews of dietary supplements were included only if they were based on the results of randomized, double-blind trials.

Data on the following dietary supplements were identified: chitosan, chromium picolinate, Ephedra sinica, Garcinia cambogia, glucomannan, guar gum, hydroxy-methylbutyrate, plantago psyllium, pyruvate, yerba maté and yohimbe.

The reviewed studies provide some encouraging data but no evidence beyond reasonable doubt that any specific dietary supplement is effective for reducing body weight,” write the researchers.

—American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2004

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