BBB and the FDA Issue Alerts about Weight Loss Supplements

April 29, 2014

This time of year folks are preparing to go to the beach, and for many, that means losing weight. While some consumers will turn to the gym and others modify their diets, BBB warns consumers that some weight loss supplements make outrageous claims that you can lose substantial weight over a short period, without changing your lifestyle.

Claims about dramatic results from weight loss supplements are not new. Unfortunately, internet ads are exposing many more consumers to products that don't deliver what they promise.

Some ads for supplements involve phony "before and after" photos, promise that a product can help burn away 15 to 45 pounds a month without dieting or exercise, promise permanent weight loss, fail to disclose whether their advertised results are typical and even use the logos of well-known news organizations to peddle their pills, powders and creams.

More than 4,300 complaints about weight loss supplements were filed with BBB nationwide in 2013. Those complaints detail misleading advertising, paying for but not receiving merchandise, refund and exchange issues, and adverse reactions due to the use of a supplement.

Dietary supplements do not require FDA approval before being sold. It is left to manufacturers to ensure products' safety.

The FDA and Better Business Bureau warn consumers to steer clear of products that claim to be an alternative to an approved drug or have similar effects to prescription medication.

Consult your healthcare provider - Certain products or their ingredients can interfere with performance of prescription medication, worsen existing health conditions or cause problems for women who are pregnant or nursing.

Research the supplement - Check out products' and manufacturers' Business Reviews at The Food and Drug Administration,, also is a great resource for researching supplements and their ingredients.

Be skeptical of exaggerated claims - Ignore any product that promises out of the ordinary results or dramatic changes within a short period. There are no instant fixes.

Be selective about your online research - Rather than doing a quick search through an online search engine, when you look for information on supplements, use respected websites run by the government, a university or reputable medical database.