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Consumer Reports Made Dangerous Weight-Loss Supplement

Tim Boyer's picture
Anyone can make a weight loss supplement to sell

Find out why the highly respected protector of consumers―Consumer Reports―knowingly made a weight loss supplement that they admit is dangerous.


It seems fantastical. Even alarming. According to a recent article written by Consumer Reports health and food writer Lauren Cooper, Consumer Reports admits to making a dangerous weight loss supplement—as a lesson to consumers. Their point: that anyone―even without special training or education―can create a dietary supplement product in their home and make money off of it without FDA approval.

“We have found people manufacturing supplements in residential basements and in labs that were smaller than a bathroom,” says Lyndsay Meyer, an FDA spokeswoman quoted for the Consumer Reports story.

Here's why Consumer Reports advises consumers not to take diet pills.

How to Make a Dietary Supplement

To show consumers how easy it is for someone to put together a dietary supplement, they formulated their own weight loss concoction using potentially harmful (but legal to buy) ingredients and naming it “Thinitol,” and explained the process in three easy steps as summarized below.

Step #1: Research and Development. Three types of ingredients consisting of extracts and chemicals typically used in commercial weight loss products, a dash of diuretic and some legal stimulants associated with appetite suppression were chosen for their specific formulation.

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Step 2: Procurement. A simple Google search using the phrase “how to make a supplement” provided them with sources of the chosen ingredients, empty gelatin capsules and a capsule-filling device, white pill bottles with sealable tamper-proof lids, and packaging materials all for under $200 and delivered within 10 days. Some instructional YouTube videos assisted their project efforts as well.

Step 3: Manufacturing. Their “laboratory” consisted of desk space in an editors’ office where the ingredients were mixed by hand, poured into capsules and then sealed with a hair dryer and labeled using a laser printer and some design software. The article states that, “The whole process took about 10 minutes.” Approximately 80 capsules of their “Thinitol” supplement was made, but of course never released to the public. However, had they chosen to, Ms. Cooper writes that all it would have taken to put their product up for sale is a simple form to register with the FDA.

The point of all of this is to show consumers that when it comes to buying supplements that they have to be especially careful and vigilant in their buying decisions of supplements that are not required to have FDA approval. In spite of the FDA’s efforts to stem the tide of supplement scams, unscrupulous makers and marketers continue to prey on consumers with the desire to lose weight easily and quickly. Through shady if not down-right illegal activities such as those demonstrated by Consumer Reports, it’s surprisingly easy for anyone to set up a supplement scamming operation.

And if you think that it's just home-grown supplements you need to worry about, here's what Consumer Reports has to say about Evening Drug Ad Commercials that Lie to Consumers.

For an additional warning about how some makers and marketers of supplements operate, here is an article that shows a Humorous Video from the FDA about Weight Loss Fraud.

Reference: Consumer ReportsWe Made This Weight-Loss Supplement―It was easy. It was fast. And it’s dangerous.”

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