By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Last year, Americans spent billions on weight loss supplements, but a new survey shows there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation about diet supplements.
A new Consumer Reports survey says about a quarter of dieters will use weight-loss supplements. Trisha Calvo with Consumer Reports says, “On the bottle they make a lot of claims. People want something that’s going to make weight loss easier, but it’s really not out there.”
Consumer Reports surveyed three thousand people and found just nine percent of supplement users said they met their weight loss goals and kept the pounds off. But a lot more got some results they didn’t want.
“About half of the people in our survey who were taking weight loss supplements experienced some kind of side effect such as dry mouth or digestive issues, jitteriness, shaking,” says Calvo.
The survey also found 20 percent of people think the Food and Drug Administration guarantees the safety of weight loss supplements. But the FDA regulates them much like foods, meaning they’re considered safe unless they are shown not to be.
Dr. Louis Aronne, a weight loss expert says, “Someone’s gotta do a study that shows that it works. Just saying that it works, just advertising that it works, that’s not enough.”
Experts say labels on weight loss supplements often look like what’s on over-the-counter medications, so people might think they’re reliable.
Also, the survey showed that more than one-third of those taking diet supplements also take prescription medications, a combination that can cause dangerous complications.