Flush Yourself Thin

Another blow to the unregulated supplements industry – the FDA has revealed that dozens of top selling “natural” weight loss supplements are actually full of dangerously high doses of prescription laxatives and diuretics.

The names of the weight-loss supplements say it all: 7 Day Herbal Slim, 2 Day Diet, and even 24 Hours Diet. Those are just three of dozens of different brands touted as all-natural ways to shed pounds, and lose them super fast. But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these “herbal” weight-loss remedies — 69 at last count — are tainted with prescription drugs or mixtures of drugs, including laxatives, diuretics, and anti-seizure medications. And that list of 69 products will probably grow in the coming weeks, says FDA spokesperson Rita Chappelle. “Our investigation is ongoing and quite extensive, and more products will be added to the list,” she says. Some supplements contain rimonabant, a prescription drug rejected by the FDA for use in the United States due to safety concerns. And others contain sibutramine, a prescription weight-loss drug sold as Meridia in the United Sates. However, the supplements often contain more than one drug, and in doses three to four times what you would get with a doctor’s prescription. The supplements’ labels don’t mention the medications, much less the amount of the drug found in the pill

According to the story, many of these weight-loss supplements are manufactured in China. One of the most popular is StarCaps, which is promoted by Kathie Lee Gifford. StarCaps has been found to contain bumetanide, a dangerously strong prescription diuretic. Last fall the NFL suspended several major players for using bumetanide to mask steroid use. The manufacturer agreed this week to recall StarCaps, but so far only two other makers of the 69 named products have agreed to recalls.