Like Throwing Away $13 Billion
Diet aids don’t work to facilitate weight loss beyond the placebo effect, finds a new Swedish study. Researchers tested nine popular supplements ranging from appetite suppressants to metabolism boosters to carb and fat blockers. Unlike prescription medications, “effectiveness does not have to be proven for these to be sold,” said study leader Dr Thomas Ellrott, U of Gottingen Medical School, whose tests included guarana seed powder, fiber pills and L-Carnitine. In a blind test,189 obese participants were given either the weight loss supplements or a placebo for eight weeks. No statistical weight loss difference was found between those taking the supplements or those who received the placebos. Weight loss supplements account for more than $13 billion in annual sales worldwide.
13-Year-Old Asks for a Monster
Food and nutrition columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget of the Washington Post writes today about her worries when her 13-year-old son, influenced by extreme sports hero endorsements, asked to buy a Monster energy drink. Is it O.K. for kids, she wondered? Investigating, she discovered that it contains 160 milligrams of caffeine, about four times that in a can of Coca Cola. In addition, it contained a number of exotic additives. Most of them are probably harmless and all are on the FDA's approved food additives or GRAS (generally regarded as safe) lists. On the other hand, they probably do you no good either. More than the caffeine, the sugar dose worried Jennifer. In the end she decided that energy drinks wouldn't kill her kid, but she hopes he grows out of them.