18/03/2011 12:02 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Experts Issue Fake Slimming Pill Warning

Let's admit it, we've all been tempted by weight-loss advertisements that promise quick-fix solutions to jelly bellies and podgy thighs. You know the kind of thing: 'Magic diet pill' or 'Melts fat away' and 'Lose weight without dieting or exercise'.

tape-measure-diet-pills Diet pills that sound too good to be true usually are. Photo" Corbis, Tom Grill

But slimming pills that offer quick and easy ways to shed pounds don't live up to their claims, say experts from the US government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And worse still, some of them can be harmful.

The FDA scientists claim dozens of products touted as natural or herbal dietary supplements contain potentially dangerous compounds that haven't been tested properly or even hidden prescription drugs. Some, for instance, were found to contain a prescription drug that was banned because it caused heart problems and strokes.

And while many of these products are marketed in the US and other countries outside of the UK and Europe, thanks to the internet you can buy them no matter where in the world you live.

Banning dodgy diet pills is a huge task, however, the experts say. So they've issued advice to dieters, including being wary of any promises such as 'lose 10lb in a week, words such as 'guaranteed' or 'scientific breakthrough', and products that are marketed via mass emails.

Ask yourself if it sounds too good to be true, the experts also advice. If the claims for a diet product seem exaggerated or unrealistic, if they are described as 'quick and effective' or 'totally safe' or similar, steer well clear.

Have you ever tried slimming pills that have promised quick and easy weight gain? Did they work?

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