The weight loss industry is huge, raking in $61.6 billion in 2012 in the US where 2 out of 3 adults are overweight. The holy grail of these weight loss seekers, and therefore the manufacturers, is the magic pill that will result in weight loss without the need for food restrictions or exercise. Many food supplement makers claim to have made the breakthrough, but unfortunately it is not true. And what makes it worse is that some of these “miracle” products not only fail to cause weight loss but contain ingredients that are downright dangerous.
Herbal products and food supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so long as they make no therapeutic claims. By and large, these companies can pretty much throw anything they want into the mix if it is generally recognized as safe for human consumption. Typically, weight loss product manufacturers merely engage in misleading the public by making thinly-veiled claims of instant weight loss with the use of the products, but the products themselves are relatively harmless, though ineffective. But there are some products that have been found to contain substances that have been previously pulled out of the market by the FDA because they posed significant health risks to the public.
Two of these dangerous ingredients are sibutramine and phenolphthalein, found in several weight-loss products separately or in combination. Sibutramine was a diet drug that had been banned from the US in 2010 when it was found to cause damage to the heart. Phenolphthalein is a laxative that is believed to cause cancer. The FDA has published warnings to the public regarding consumption of products containing these substances.
Consumers who may have succumbed to the lure of easy weight loss may be well served to check out the list of ingredients in the slimming products they are using. The inclusion of either sibutramine or phenolphthalein or both should set the alarm bells clanging. If you or a close family member has already suffered injury or death from the use of these and similar products, a personal injury claim may be in the cards. Consult with a product liability lawyer to get an assessment of the case.