I’m sure most of you have noticed that every third person you encounter these days is taking and/or selling some sort of “wellness, diet, nutritional” drink. I’ve written about this topic before and many of you know I’m not a fan of the “miracle in a bottle” concept of solving health problems. I do understand the appeal of the drinks. However, I’ve become very concerned lately about some of the outrageous health claims made by a few enthusiastic followers. Their testimonials not only put others at risk, but they may be setting themselves up for litigation.
So…I know some of you will balk at taking the advice of a fat woman, but I feel it’s my duty to ask you to please consider these ten points:
- The FDA does not review these products before they are put on the market. They only take steps to warn consumers or remove products if they appear to be unsafe. In 2011 “Lose Weight Coffee” was on their watch list for containing the banned ingredient, Sibutramine. This is their statement: “This notification is to inform the public of a growing trend of products marketed as dietary supplements or conventional foods with hidden drugs and chemicals. These products are typically promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, and body building, and are often represented as being “all natural.” FDA is unable to test and identify all products marketed as dietary supplements that have potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Consumers should exercise caution before purchasing any product in the above categories.”
- Companies can NOT legally make “specific health claims” for their products. They are only allowed to make “dietary guidance statements” and many of these are vaguely worded. However, some companies are smart enough to cover their legal obligations with this statement: “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” It is dangerous for users or dealers to ignore that and make specific claims about these drinks curing diabetes, migraines, hypertension or anything else.
- Anyone and everyone can provide you with a “testimonial” about how their favorite product is the reason for their health, happiness, and longevity!!! Last year 100-year-old Dorothy Howe gave her testimony: “I put my health down to whisky and cigarettes (15 a day). I only drink when I’m out but my doctor said I wouldn’t be alive without them. I’m still alive and I can lift my elbows – it’s great. I’ve had a great life and God has treated me very well. I’ve been very lucky.”
- Any chemical can be toxic over time, in large quantities, or in combination with medications. I am amazed that most people I’ve talked with do NOT know what is in the drinks they consume or understand how they work. Another thing to keep in mind is that even though individual ingredients have good reviews and are approved by all the proper agencies the “proprietary blend” or combination of them used in your drink is unlikely to have the approval of anyone except the company that made it. Some products contain up to 30 ingredients!
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. One website I checked says their product is “designed to meet all your daily nutritional needs”. Seriously think about that for a moment. Not possible.
- Many ingredients used in weight loss drinks interfere with prescription and even OTC medications and should not be used without consulting your doctor. Yet, many people do not see their doctors or have routine blood tests done before consuming these products.
- Most of these products should NOT be given to children. Most companies make that statement on websites and labels.
- Dealers for these products are recruited to SELL products and make money! They are not trained health professionals.
- You can’t equate the quality or benefits of a product with the company’s religious or moral values. Just because a fast food restaurant closes on Sunday does not mean they make a healthy sandwich (900-1000mg sodium!) And just because a manufacturer espouses Christian values, that does not automatically make their product the best health drink for you.
- Think before you drink! Read about the product you are considering. Talk to your doctor about it.
I promise this is the last time I’ll write about this. Just been on my mind for several days since I read an alarming claim on FB.