There are many products labeled as natural weight loss solutions, but what does that label really mean? Advertisers would like us to believe that natural weight loss products are safer and more likely to succeed than other methods of losing weight. However, this is not always the case.
So how can consumers make an informed decision about natural weight loss programs?
First, it is important to understand exactly what the word “natural” means: not resulting from synthetic processes, or in accordance with the body's appropriate responses. This sounds pretty good, until one reflects that severe illness can be considered a natural weight loss method, as it is appropriate for a healthy, well-functioning human body to respond to illnesses by using up energy reserves, such as those stored in fat, so that there is sufficient energy to heal.
Secondly, Americans must remember that most natural weight loss supplements are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets quality and efficacy standards for medications and food products. This means that the claims about the effectiveness and safety of most natural weight loss products has not been proved through the same rigorous testing as other drugs and food sources. As a result, reliable information about dosage, side effects, and drug interactions may be unavailable or incomplete.
A consumer considering a product advertised as natural weight loss must pay attention to what is not said about the product. Because many of these products are subject to legal restrictions only under false advertising laws, what is not said about a product can give consumers a good idea about what is not known or not guaranteed about a natural weight loss product.
One example of this can be seen in herbal supplements which are often advertised as natural weight loss products. In the medicinal traditions from which these natural weight loss supplements are drawn, there are often specific instructions as to what part of the plant is used, when it must be harvested, and how it is prepared. If a manufacturer does not specify which part of the plant is used or offer information about the growing and harvesting of the plants, it may indicate that the product contains a less effective, even toxic part of the plant.
In addition, the presence of a substance in a natural weight loss solution does not necessarily mean that the product contains the proper amount. If a particular percentage or amount of an active ingredient is not specified, manufacturers may have added a considerable amount of fillers to only a trace amount of the ingredient for which you purchased a product.