Buyer beware when it comes to weight loss supplements

EMBED </>More Videos

Consumer Reports says there is a big buyer beware. (WPVI)

Every New Year people resolve to lose weight, and many of them turn to pills or powders as part of their plan.

In fact, Consumer Reports says Americans spend billions of dollars on weight loss supplements every year.

But there is a big buyer beware.

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.

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

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

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

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

Consumer Reports says to lose weight successfully, practice portion control, eat more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and reduce your sugar intake.

Another tip: Eat more meals at home. That gives you more control over the calories you take in.

Related Topics:
healthconsumerhealthcheckdiet
(Copyright ©2017 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.)