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Steve McFarland
Steer Clear of Supplements

Steer Clear of Supplements

Oh, to lose weight effortlessly. For millions, it’s a lifelong pursuit that has mixed results. It’s human nature to want a quick fix and the so-called “experts” are always poised to take advantage of our impatience. The weight loss products that hit the market boggle the mind; like the tablets you put in your showerhead that are supposed to melt away the pounds.

If that example sounds incredible, it helps illustrate a point: always examine dietary and health supplements with a critical eye. Anything that promises to reduce weight in no time with little effort on your part is too good to be true. Same for sexual or male enhancement products. Not only are many ineffective, but some can be harmful to your health.

Despite the warnings, BBB still gets calls, texts and emails from consumers who can’t believe that supplement they just purchased doesn’t work. Or, they paid for a product that never shipped. Even worse, victims tell BBB they are now locked into a subscription when they thought they were making a one-time purchase.

So how can you tell if a pill, tablet or cream is legitimate? How do you know if an offer is real and you won’t lose your money?

  • Just say no. Avoid products that claim to shed weight without diet or exercise. Pass up any product that promises miraculous results without any effort.
  • Read the fine print. Many companies will lock you into recurring shipments, which means you’ll see a charge you thought you didn’t authorize on your credit card every month.
  • Beware of celebrities. It’s easy to stick a photo of a celebrity on an ad and say they endorse the product. Usually, it’s false.
  • Beware of fake reviews. Don’t get sucked in by glowing reviews; most are fake.
  • What free trial? You may not have to pay for the first shipment, but eventually you’ll find yourself paying, and perhaps every month thereafter.
  • Cancel, please. Again, that one-time purchase could turn into a subscription to products you don’t want and don’t work. We can’t stress it enough: read the fine print.

Then, there are the Three Rs: Research, Review and Report.

  • Before you buy, research the company or product.
  • Write a review of the company at
  • Report a scam to BBB ScamTracker so others will know to be on the lookout.

The FDA is an important ally in the fight. This site lists all of the weight loss and dietary products that have been recalled. Some contain additives that come with health risks such as heart, liver or kidney failure. And would you believe they don’t always list these additives or possible side effects on the packaging? The National Institutes of Health is another great resource.

If all this is overwhelming, we get it. That’s why there’s one person who always has your back. Talk to your doctor about your weight; he or she will help you chart the right course toward weight loss and better health.

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