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Are celebrity weight loss products worth buying?

May 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Celebrities can be seen on TV, magazines and billboards hawking weight loss products with their names on it. But are they worth buying?

"Celebrities are put on a pedestal and everyone wants to be like a celebrity, so they think, 'Hey, I take this pill and I'm going to look like that,'" said Lisa De Fazio, a registered dietitian.

Jillian Michaels, the Kardashians and even Ronnie Ortiz Magro from the "Jersey Shore" all want you to burn calories, flush fat and cleanse your system with their endorsed weight loss products.

Dietitian Lisa De Fazio feels stars offer powerful persuasion that appeals to teens and young adults, yet some products they're peddling contain ingredients that might be unsuitable for mainstream consumers.

One of those products is QuickTrim Burn and Cleanse.

"Cleansing and detoxing automatically means diuretic and laxative effects, so when you think of cleanse it means a lot of time in the bathroom," De Fazio said.

Senna, cascara sagrada and aloe are stimulating laxatives which can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Caffeine and guarana are stimulants found in Michaels' products, while garcinia cambogia is found in Xendrine, which is endorsed by Magro.

"The cleanse is going to have a lot more diuretic products in them and laxative effects, whereas the weight loss has more appetite suppressants and things that can actually cause anxiety and heart palpitations because you feel like you're on speed, basically," De Fazio said.

Just because it works for the endorsers doesn't mean it will for you.

"When they start to tell you it's going to do wonders for you, you have to ask yourself, 'Am I doing what Kim is doing? Is my medical history the same as her and her family?'" dietitian Ashley Koff said.

Plus, there's usually more to the program than just taking a supplement.

"It basically tells you that you need to exercise twice a day, eight in the morning and nine o'clock at night for 20-30 minutes each and only consume 800 calories a day and mainly a high protein and high vegetable diet," De Fazio said.

Checking labels is smart, but when you see "proprietary blend," it doesn't tell you much about how much of each ingredient you're getting.

"If you're making a claim that a supplement is going to promote body fat loss, that's actually a drug claim, so the supplement should be treated like a drug. Right now, the way the law is written, that isn't happening," said supplement expert Ellen Coleman.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like prescription drugs, so they don't get scrutiny from government agencies. Even if a product does have a study, it's rare you'll see it in a peer reviewed medical journal.

Check out a gallery of weird celebrity diet secrets

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