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Fatalities become known: slimming products can endanger health
Anyone who has decided to get rid of the overweight kilos of the holidays in the new year should not rely on slimming products. Most diet pills cannot keep their promise of miracle and some even pose a deadly health risk.
Reduce weight after the lush holidays
If you want to get rid of winter bacon faster after the lavish holidays, you shouldn't necessarily rely on slimming products. While these often promise true miracles, they usually do little to help. In the worst case, they can even have fatal consequences. The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) points this out in a current communication. In particular, funds that are offered on the Internet can seriously damage health.
Food supplements must not have any medicinal effects
Slimming products are often to be found on the market in the form of medicinal products as tablets, capsules or in powder form under the name of food supplements (NEM).
As the experts explain, unlike medicinal products, nutritional supplements are only intended to provide the body with additional vitamins, minerals and other substances to supplement the normal diet.
Food supplements must therefore not have any medicinal effects - and therefore no weight loss effects without reduced calorie intake.
In addition, food supplements do not go through an official approval process in which the health safety must be demonstrated in advance. The manufacturer or importer who is responsible for the safety of his products must report his food supplement to the BVL before placing it on the market.
Illegal substances added
According to the Federal Office, some traders are trying to make their slimming products effective by adding illegal substances to them.
Such products are mainly sold on the Internet and are often offered as "100% natural" or "purely herbal" food supplements.
However, they contain undeclared pharmacologically active substances in high doses.
The often used dangerous admixtures include sibutramine, a substance that was used as an appetite suppressant to reduce excessive obesity in medicines.
Although it was banned in the EU as an active pharmaceutical ingredient in 2010 due to its massive side effects, foods that contain sibutramine are still being found. In some cases, the sibutramine levels were far above the therapeutically used doses. There were even deaths.
According to the BVL, the products were products sold as food supplements or infusion beverages, which were offered as "slimming tea" or "weight loss coffee".
Industrial chemical in diet pills
In addition, products from the Internet often also contain chemical-synthetic illegal admixtures, such as 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), an industrial chemical that is used in the synthesis of dyes, wood preservatives, insecticides and explosives.
If DNP is taken in a low dose over a longer period of time, the liver, kidney, blood formation, cardiovascular and nervous system can be damaged. There have been several deaths in various countries in recent years due to the consumption of products with illegally added DNP.
For example, in England, where a young woman is internally banished after taking dinitrophenol tablets, according to British media.
Ventricular fibrillation and heart attack
The BVL also points out that some dietary supplements that are declared as "purely herbal" contain harmful natural substances such as synephrine, which are said to increase energy consumption, reduce food intake and increase gastric activity.
Synephrine is found in small amounts in many citrus fruits, in slimming products it is usually offered in high amounts in combination with caffeine, whereby the substance is often hidden behind the name bitter orange extract and caffeine behind the name of vegetable extracts such as guarana, coffee or green tea extract.
Synephrine and caffeine both affect the cardiovascular system. Taking such combination products can have dangerous consequences, ranging from sleep disorders, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat to ventricular fibrillation and heart attacks.
Tips for consumers
In its communication, the BVL also has some tips for consumers. Since dietary supplements must not have a pharmacological effect, one should always be skeptical about quick and unrealistic promises of success.
Caution should also be exercised with products that are sold exclusively on the Internet. Experience reports and recommendations in discussion forums and chat rooms often turn out to be camouflaged advertising.
Dietary supplements should not be purchased by individuals. When shopping online, the imprint of the provider can be checked for completeness.
Since funds from abroad can possibly be regarded as medicinal products in Germany, there is a possibility that the import is prohibited, the goods are confiscated by customs and a notification is made.
Because products from the Internet can contain dangerous illegal substances, you should inform yourself about the unknown ingredients before buying.
If in doubt, get specialist advice before ordering products to supplement your diet, for example from a doctor or pharmacist. (ad)