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Why is it in our nature to desire to be skinny? Not healthy, we want to be skinny!! I believe it is crucial to examine the root cause of issues like obesity in America. Why do Americans, both women and men alike, feel the need to be thin? The media plays a huge role here, creating impossible standards in magazines, on television and in movies. If people think they need to look like Lara Flynn Boyle to be beautiful, therein lies the root issue. If we are all trying to achieve almost impossible standards of beauty and ideals based on what the media is telling us, then we need to take a closer look at that. I also believe that eating has become much more of a grab and go function, rather than a process to be savored and enjoyed in the company of others.

With that being said, so many Americans have a large amount of weight to do, and want it gone quickly. I am here to tell you there are no quick fixes, when it comes to weight. I know it is earth shattering news! I wish it were different, but it simply isn’t.

Diet pills and supplements have become very popular over the last 20 years. So, let’s look at these supplements. There are very few prescription diet medications. Just because they are prescription doesn’t make them any better. But, it is important to remember “natural” supplements are not FDA approved. When a drug is FDA approved, there are governmental regulations that make standards for each pill that is produced. This means the ingredients in one pill, is the same as the ingredients in the next pill – in the same bottle. When a pill is not FDA approved – no herbal supplements are – then each pill in the bottle may not contain the same amount of ingredient. So, basically from pill to pill you do not know if you are getting the same amount of herb.

Here are the facts about supplements:

1) Manufactures of supplements do not need to prove that their supplement is effective before selling it. Makers of supplements can basically place any claims they choose on the bottle, without actually proof that they do what they say. The FDA controls this with prescription medication, not so with supplements

2) Manufactures of supplements do not need to inform consumers about side effects even when the ingredients are known to cause side effects. For example, bitter orange – a common herbal ingredient in weight loss supplements – causes high blood pressure and racing heart rate. But when bitter orange is sold, there is no requirement that consumers are informed about these side effects.

3) Little is known about the health effects of combination herbal supplements. Each herbal ingredient may have its own positive and negative effects on the body. When many different herbal ingredients are in the same supplement, the effect on the body is usually not understood – even by experts.

4) The amount of ingredients listed on labels is often inaccurate. Some experts estimate that 1 in 4 supplements sold have labeled quantities that are inaccurate. Usually there is too little of an ingredient, but sometimes there is too much. Recently, over 100 people became ill when a multivitamin contained 200 times the labeled amount of selenium.

Many dietary supplements – which I’ll refer to as supplements – are extremely helpful in preventing illness; for example, folic acid can prevent birth defects, and calcium and vitamin D can prevent fractures.

Information is power. It is important to know what we are putting in our bodies. Research has shown that diet and exercise are still the most important means of weight loss. While this is very frustrating, and a nice little safe pill would be wonderful. That pill simply doesn’t exist, and in fact some supplements in the market could cause detrimental damage to your health and your body. Be cognizant of what you put in your body. Take time to eat good foods. Your body will thank you!