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Billions spent on weight loss products
[Posted: Wed 26/11/2008 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Obese people are spending billions of euro every year on food products that imply they aid weight loss, when in fact, they are totally ineffective, a UK nutritional expert has warned.
According to Prof M E J Lean of the University of Glasgow, unlike medicines, food products that are marketed for health reasons are not subject to the same stringent research trials and controls and as a result, consumers are often misled.
He pointed out that it is already illegal for unsubstantiated claims to be made about the composition or nutritional function of food, e.g. that they are low in fat or help lower cholesterol. A food also cannot claim to treat or prevent a disease, including obesity.
However many unsubstantiated health claims are still made or implied. Misleading marketing can be found within brand names and images on packaging, in shelf or shop names, or on websites which suggest that products help weight control, are slimming, or are ‘health foods’, when there is no evidence.
Prof Lean said he is concerned that obese people have been fooled into parting with billions of euro every year on products that cannot help them. In 2000 alone, people in the US spent $35 billion (€26.9 billion) on weight loss products, many of them making false and unsubstantiated claims.
He added that of all the hundreds of products currently on sale to help people lose weight, only energy-restricted diets and exercise, the drugs orlistat (Xenical) and sibutramine (Reductil), and in some cases bariatric (stomach reduction) surgery, are safe, effective and cost-effective. The remainder, he said, are either not effective or not safe.
Obesity continues to be a major health problem throughout the developed world, including Ireland. A new report released by the Department of Health this week revealed that almost one in four Irish adults are now obese.
Prof Lean made his comments in the British Medical Journal.
|Anonymous Posted: 28/11/2008 10:24|
xenical is now avaialble at half strength as an over the counter medecine. It's called alli
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