Weight Loss Supplements Don’t Work for Most People, Study Finds

Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 , before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hearing to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. (AP Photo)
Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 , before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hearing to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. (AP Photo)
Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 , before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hearing to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. (AP Photo)

 

(Time) – In a survey of 3,000 Americans, researchers at Consumer Reports report Tuesday that most are confused about how weight loss supplements make it to market, and that means they aren’t fully informed about how safe or effective the pills are. What’s more, of those Americans who have tried such pills to lose weight, very few met—and maintained—their goal.

About 20% of those who use diet supplements to lose weight believed they were safe and tested by the Food and Drug Administration. But unlike prescription drugs, supplements aren’t regulated under the strict criteria that require manufacturers to perform rigorous safety and effectiveness testing before getting approved. Instead, supplements are regulated more like foods, so they are assumed to be safe unless they’re shown not to be by reports from users.

Meanwhile, roughly 20% of those surveyed believed that the supplements were safer than more stringently regulated prescription drugs because they were “natural.”

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