'Miracle' weight loss? Stay away, warns FDA

It's the season to get fit, but the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to stay away from “miracle” weight loss products when meeting their New Year's resolutions.

“Many so-called 'miracle' weight loss supplements and foods, including teas and coffees, don’t live up to their claims,” FDA regulators said in a statement. “Worse, they can cause serious harm.”

Regulators said they have found weight-loss products tainted with prescription drug ingredients such as sibutramine. That was an approved ingredient in a drug called Meridia that was taken off the market in 2010 for causing heart problems and strokes.  

The Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act does not require FDA approval for supplemental dietary drugs. Manufacturers are responsible for making sure the products are safe and that the claims made about their drugs are true. 

Slim-K, Slim-Vie, Bee Slim and V26 Slimming Coffee are among the products that the FDA has placed on its list of tainted weight loss products. 

FDA regulators say the warning signs that a product is tainted include promises of a quick fix and the use of the words “guaranteed” or “scientific breakthrough. Consumers should also be wary, the agency said, if the product is marketed in a foreign language, through mass emails or as an herbal alternative to an FDA-approved drug. 

Before taking any weight loss product, the FDA suggests checking with a healthcare professional. 

Though the administration has approved drugs like Belviq, Qsymia, and Contrave to help people manage long-term weight loss, Dr. James Smith, acting deputy director of the FDA’s division of metabolism and endocrinology products, said the only natural way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in.