Consumer Reports: Should you take weight loss supplements?

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Store shelves are packed with weight loss supplements, promising to help you drop pounds, lose inches and burn fat fast.

There are tablets and gummies and chewies and capsules, containing ingredients like green coffee beans, green tea, raspberry ketones, and garcinia cambogia.

A new Consumer Reports survey of about 3,000 Americans shows one in four has used weight loss supplements.

But that same survey found more than 90 percent couldn't lose the weight they wanted and keep it off. And about half reported at least one side effect, like a faster heart rate, jitters and digestive problems.

Consumer Reports also says: Don't equate 'natural' with safe. For example Yohimbe, an African-tree bark extract marketed as a weight-loss supplement, may cause elevated blood pressure or panic attacks.

"There's no supplement out there with enough evidence to show that it's going to help you lose weight," said Patricia Calvo of Consumer Reports. "And some unethical manufacturers even add banned prescription drugs to supplements."

In fact, hundreds of weight-loss supplements have been recalled by the F-D-A that contained drugs rarely listed on labels, linked to things like heart risks, severe hepatitis, liver failure and even death.

"The short answer is: Don't take weight-loss supplements. They're mostly unregulated, they don't really work and they could very well hurt you," said Calvo.

Instead, stick to the tried and true. Your biggest allies in the battle of the bulge are still diet and exercise.
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