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Old 11-16-2005, 11:45 AM   #1  
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Default ConsumerLab test weight loss supplements, finds concerns

Consumer Lab regularly tests dietary supplements. They don't test the claims, however, they only test the products to see if the ingredients match the labels. Since dietary supplements are not regulated, we all know that they may not contain what the label says.

You can read the full report if you are a subscriber of Consumer Lab, which is currently $24 a year. I can't copy the full report here, but I can include some snippets that may be important to a lot of us.

Two popular products were tested for their caffeine levels. Testing found 448 mg of caffeine per day in one (Xenadrine®-EFX™), equivalent to the caffeine in 11 cups of coffee — despite its label claim that "the recommended dose of this product contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee". [Although not listed as an ingredient on the product tested, be aware that some lots of Xenedrine EFX also list bitter orange as an ingredient.] The other product (Zantrex™-3) was found to pack a whopping 1,223 mg of caffeine per day — equivalent to 30 cans of cola. Consumers should be aware that weight loss products may contain large amounts of caffeine — with potential side-effects including insomnia, nervousness, tremors, gastric irritation, nausea, headache and increased urination. Doses larger than 250-300 mg per day have been associated with irregular heart rhythm.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
One product (Rainbow Light® Food Based Garcinia-Max Diet System) was tested. It provided the labeled amount of HCA but also contained 2.6 micrograms of lead — five times the amount allowed by the State of California in a supplement without a warning label.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:52 AM   #2  
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That's too much caffeine even for me!!

Seriously, how scary! I just don't understand why these supplements are not - at the bare minimum - required to have accurate labels.
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:17 PM   #3  
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Yes, you wonder why this doesn't fall under a simple truth-in-advertising statute. If I make a ... floor wax ... and I put chemical XYZ in it, but don't put that on the label, I would be held accountable, no?
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:50 PM   #4  
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Supplement companies are misleading the public?!?

I'm shocked!
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:39 PM   #5  
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A pity they didn't test all those "Hoodia" pills to see if they actually CONTAINED any hoodia (even though the lauded appetite-suppressant properties of the plant only work when the plant is consumed FRESH, not in pill/capsule form... )

I suspect that there will be little or no actual hoodia in most (if not all) of the pills currently being pushed by the supp marketers (and even if there IS hoodia in them, probably another type of hoodia other than hoodia gordonii from the African San territory, since it is a protected plant and very hard to find in the wild).

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Old 11-16-2005, 08:14 PM   #6  
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Wow, the caffeine amount in the two diet pills is a real shocker ... enough to kill me, actually. I can't have much caffeine (arrythmia) ... so would never chose pills like that in the first place, but for people who don't know what condition they may have, that's really dangerous ...
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:29 PM   #7  
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Just knowing they have caffeine at all is enough to make me warn people away from them when I'm asked. I don't (don't!) understand the allure of pills anyway. I'd rather eat real food and not worry about what might be in some little pill.
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Old 11-23-2005, 01:56 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by GreatBigMonsterMomma
Just knowing they have caffeine at all is enough to make me warn people away from them when I'm asked. I don't (don't!) understand the allure of pills anyway. I'd rather eat real food and not worry about what might be in some little pill.
In a's MARKETING. The allure of the advertisements (although I find the vast majority of them to be pandering and insulting!) and infomercials. The advertisers know EXACTLY what to say to get people's hopes up...and their Visa cards out.

In his book The Fat of the Land Michael Fumento writes of at least one survey which asked formerly obese people if they had a choice - would they be obese again or suffer some other sort of disfigurement, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON said that rather than be fat again they would choose to be deaf, dyslexic, diabetic or have heart disease; while more than 90% said they would rather have a limb amputated than be obese again; and close to 90% said they would rather be BLIND than be obese again...and what's more every single one of the persons surveyed said they would rather be NORMAL weight rather than be severely obese multimillionaires!

The marketers KNOW that people desperately DO NOT WANT TO BE FAT and use that knowledge - along with their own half-truths and lies - to peddle their wares. As I've said different whatsoever from the snakeoil carpetbagger peddlers of the 19th century who would sell their 'miracle cure' nostrums to their 'marks'.
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Old 01-14-2006, 07:53 PM   #9  
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I don't agree with both the anti- weight loss supplement people or the pro ones. I go on a case by case basis and I find myself a little irritated by a bias without fully reading and understanding what is out there and is legit. Why? Cause we all already gotta deal with the B.S. that all the weight loss companies throw at us through there ads and we can't be fully sure what's in their supplements. Heck I can't even say I am sure what's in my prescription medication right now, esp. with all the news coming out about various meds that have very negative side effects that some of these companies make. People need to realize that it aien't just the supplement companies anymore. In my opinion the legal fda overseen companies were the ones who started the bull and these supplement companies are just taking a lesson from them but going further cause there environement allows it.
For one I hear about hoodia and I can't believe everything that the patent company owner says. I don't believe that all those pills out there don't contain any effective legit hoodia either. I do believe the number that do have the proper type and amounts are probably equivlant to the number of fingers I got on my hand. They hold a patent on the P?? active ingrediant and still this is a weak one cause patent LAW makes it a weak hold on an ingrediant that is naturally occuring. This is the part people don't realize. If they made a star trek hologram machine then they would have a full patent. Instead they just found caffeine in a plant. This is just an example of how idiot it is to believe that this company truly is the only one that can make the ingrediant avaliable and do so effectively.
Second, even when they come out with there's that doesn't mean it will be effective. WE don't know if this stuff is safe long term or will work in the way they are producing it. We don't even know if they are gonna take short cuts or are producing it safely.
Maybe they also say they are the only ones cause they know they got no way to keep there hold until 2008. I don't know. But, don't take a position based on one fact and a lot of opinion. The opinion is what the company is saying, the fact is a weak one. The only thing close to fact is the study which is a toss up depending on who observed it and conducted it. The only other one is that it kills appetite according to the reporter and the african tribe. What else is fact. NOthing. Only people taking the darn things for a period of time will show the truth. So take those hoodia pills now sold cause then maybe the rest of us will find out if they got anything besides what we can confirm through finding out what's in the pill through lab work.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:42 AM   #10  
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But you *do* know what's in your prescription, if you ask for a prescribing information sheet. It will show you down to the molecular composition what it's made of. It will list all the inactive ingredients. And then they are required by the FDA to keep their ingredients close to that amount by law.

If you ever find me a PI sheet for Metabolife, let me know, I'd love to look at one.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:49 AM   #11  
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There is a reason - it's politics. Most supplements are manufactured in states like Utah and Nevada because of the nice, dry air, and the "favorable regulatory climate."

The supplement manufacturers are large donors to the campaigns of their senators and representatives.

So, when the FDA asks for regulatory authority over supplements, the drug manufacturers go tp the guys like Orrin Hatch and say "Hey, you're a senior senator. Get these awful regulatory agencies off our backs."

And he does.

Hey, I'm from Michigan. Want to hear about mileage standards for automobiles, or why SUVs don't count for car company emission standards?

We subscribe to Consumer Reports, so we can get this independent information.

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Old 08-05-2006, 11:16 AM   #12  
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Originally Posted by funniegrrl
Yes, you wonder why this doesn't fall under a simple truth-in-advertising statute. If I make a ... floor wax ... and I put chemical XYZ in it, but don't put that on the label, I would be held accountable, no?
It is a real mess.

What got my attention was that the latest bunch of tests I saw had some of the ingredients accurate, but not all of them were digestable.

What use is something if it isn't in a form your body can use?
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:08 AM   #13  
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0.0 I am so glad I read this-I'm very caffeine sensitive, two cans of cola sends me through the roof a Zantrex would probably hospitalize me. Seriously.
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:27 PM   #14  
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Default Research your products first

I work for a company that makes nutritional supplements including weight loss supplements (not one of the companies mentioned and board rules say I can't tell you who I do work for).

The FDA is slow to take action against any company but a lot of the more visible supplements out there are sold by small companies that aren't big enough for the FDA or FTC to care about. They go after big money. That's also why a company can produce a bad product for years before any action is taken. The government takes action after they are making enough money to be worth their effort.

For the consumer this sucks because there is no protection where you need it most. To help protect yourself I recommend you:
  1. Avoid sites that are single product sites
  2. Never do business with a company that doesn't publish their address and phone
  3. Read the fine print on the return labels, and
  4. Look for reviews of the company or product that are not on their site

That won't rule out all bad product, but will certainly improve the odds you get what you want.
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