6 Myths (and Facts) About Weight-Loss Supplements

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MYTH: I don't need to diet or exercise if I'm taking a weight-loss supplement

FACT: Practically every supplement’s label—not to mention every weight-loss expert and dietitian—will tell you that if you want to shed pounds you’ll also need to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Even the over-the-counter drug Alli, a half-strength version of the prescription weight-loss medication orlistat, should be thought of as a boost to dieting and exercise, not a replacement for either. If you take Alli, you’ll need to stick to a low-fat diet (no more than about 15 grams of fat per meal) or you could experience some pretty unpleasant side effects. “Alli keeps your gut from absorbing some of the fat you eat,” explains Saul Shiffman, PhD, a senior scientific advisor to Pinney Associates in Pittsburgh. “So if people eat too much fat at a meal it’s flushed through, and they can feel bloated and even stain themselves.” The bottom line? Taking Alli may require a change in diet.

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