“The barrage of advertising leads us to think there’s a magic way to melt away 5 kgs – even when we have no evidence that supplements work,” Dr. Pieter Cohen, a physician at Harvard Medical School who studies supplements, said in a Consumer Reports news release.
“The labels on weight loss supplements look like those on over-the-counter medications, and the supplement facts are organised like nutrition facts labels,” he added. “There’s no way for consumers to tell the difference.”
So it’s perhaps not surprising that the new survey of nearly 3 000 Americans found that about 20 percent of respondents were misinformed, believing, erroneously, that the U.S Food and Drug Administration guarantees the safety and effectiveness of weight-loss supplements.
All of that scientific-looking labelling “gives you the sense the products are being scrutinised by the FDA,” Cohen said, even though the agency plays no such role when it comes to supplements.
More than a quarter of respondents to the survey said they had tried a weight-loss product in the past, and believed the product was safe and would help them lose more weight than other methods.