"It's surprising to me that people buy them because they think they are medicinal products. A sucker is born every minute," said
Chitosan, chromium, green tea -- they're touted as fat blockers, muscle builders and calorie burners, but Huntington Hospital internal medicine expert Dr. John de Bexeidon says you shouldn't believe any of the hype, because none of these herbs are regulated.
"So they can make any claim they want and the claims never have to be based in reality," said Dr. de Beixedon.
He says when you boil them down the active ingredients are basically diuretics, laxatives and stimulants.
"There is no weight loss over a long period of time and it's almost a placebo effect," said Dr. de Beixedon.
While many ingredients are ineffective, Dr. De Beixedon says beware of bitter orange and country mallow, which are similar to ephedra, also known as muhuang.
"So if you ever see the something that says 'muhuang' on them, don't take it, because it can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, incredible nervousness," said Dr. de Beixedon. "Like caffeine, but even more deleterious."
Alli, a drug designed to block dietary fat, has been through rigorous testing since it's based on the prescription drug Xenacol.
Even then, Dr. de Beixedon tells his patients to stay away.
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