Effective Weight Loss

This Topic Covers:  This summary will focus on dietary supplements that have been researched through clinical trials and their results (what works and what doesn’t);  Understanding weight gain; Factors that affect your weight; Weight loss products; Lifestyle changes to assist in weight loss, and consumer protection resources.



Retrieved From -

A statistic frequently used about obesity treatment is that 95 percent of people who lose weight gain it all back. That statistic, based on a small study from 1959, is no longer valid. Much has changed in the way of obesity treatment since then. Thousands of people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off -- an encouraging fact for many that are discouraged by outdated information.

There are several different types of effective treatment options to manage weight including: dietary therapy, physical activity, behavior therapy, drug therapy, combined therapy and surgery.

Scope of Research:  Whole diet therapy has become an accepted practice for some health conditions. However, the popularity of unproven diets, especially for the treatment of obesity, has risen to a new level as the prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome among Americans has increased and traditional exercise and diet "prescriptions" have failed.

Popular diets today include the Atkins, Zone, and Ornish diets, Sugar Busters, and others. The range of macronutrient distributions of these popular diets is very wide. The proliferation of diet books is phenomenal. Recently, food producers and restaurants have been targeting their marketing messages to reflect commercially successful low-carbohydrate diets.

Public need for information about dietary supplements, functional foods, and selected strict dietary regimens has driven research on the effectiveness and safety of these interventions and the dissemination of research findings. 

Weight-loss aids are neither foods nor drugs; rather, they are classed as dietary supplements. Congress created the category of dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, in response to public pressure to loosen the FDA's tight control over a variety of products. As a result, individual nutrients, herbs, and "phytomedicinals" (plants supposed to have medicinal value) can be sold without being tested for effectiveness or safety, so long as they do not make direct health or therapeutic claims.

Within these limits, manufacturers cannot say that their weight-loss aids will cure obesity or make you lose weight, but they can make indirect claims — and this has led to a wide array of unfounded assertions on labels and in advertisements.


Alarming Statistics 

www.who - World Health Organization

Trends:   It has been estimated that the direct costs of obesity accounted for 6.8% (or US$ 70 billion) of total health care costs, and physical inactivity for a further US$24 billion, in the United States in 1995. Although direct costs in other industrialized countries are slightly lower, they still consume a sizeable proportion of national health budgets (1). Indirect costs, which are far greater than direct costs, include workdays lost, physician visits, disability pensions and premature mortality. Intangible costs such as impaired quality of life are also enormous.

Because the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension rise continuously with increasing weight, there is much overlap between the prevention of obesity and the prevention of a variety of chronic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes. Population education strategies will need a solid base of policy and environment-based changes to be effective in eventually reversing these trends.

Content Provided from New York Times by JANE E. BRODY, published: April 24, 2007:  

More than $1.3 billion a year is spent on dietary supplements for weight loss, most of which have had little or no scientifically acceptable testing for effectiveness and safety, especially when used for months. More than 20 percent of women and nearly 10 percent of men have used nonprescription weight-loss supplements, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

“Over-the-counter dietary supplements to treat obesity appeal to many patients who desire a magic bullet for weight loss,” Dr. Robert B. Saper and colleagues at the Harvard Medical School wrote in the journal American Family Physician in 2004. - Copyright ©  Trust for America's Health

The obesity epidemic is one of the country's most serious health problems. Adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980, from 15 to 30 percent, while childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. Rising obesity rates have significant health consequences, contributing to increased rates of more than 30 serious diseases. These conditions create a major strain on the health care system. More than one-quarter of health care costs are now related to obesity.

For the past five years, TFAH has issued an annual report F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America to track obesity trends and policies. We conclude that the country is failing to address the obesity crisis with the urgency it deserves. TFAH recommends that a National Strategy to Combat Obesity be created with roles for individuals, families, communities, schools, employers, businesses, insurers, and government.

FDA has identified an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful. Consumers may unknowingly take products laced with varying quantities of approved prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for weight loss.

...FDA has also alerted consumers to hundreds of products with these often deceptively labeled and harmful ingredients, including more than 80 products marketed for sexual enhancement, more than 70 products marketed for weight loss, and more than 80 products marketed for bodybuilding.

People have suffered strokes, acute liver injury, kidney failure, and pulmonary embolisms (artery blockage in the lung); some people have died. Tainted supplements often are sold with false and misleading claims like "100% natural" and "safe."


Defining Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.

  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

See the following table for an example.



Weight Range



5’ 9”

124 lbs or less

Below 18.5


125 lbs to 168 lbs

18.5 to 24.9

Healthy weight

169 lbs to 202 lbs

25.0 to 29.9


203 lbs or more

30 or higher



It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat. For more information about BMI, visit Body Mass Index.

Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skinfold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How to Calculate BMI

BMI is calculated the same way for both adults and children. The calculation is based on the following formulas:  



Measurement Units

Formula and Calculation

Kilograms and Meters

or Centimeters

Formula: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

With the metric system, the formula for BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Since height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide height in centimeters by 100 to obtain height in meters.

Example: Weight = 68 kg, Height = 165 cm (1.65 m)
Calculation: 68 ÷ (1.65)2 = 24.98

Pounds and inches

Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5” (65")
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96


Understanding Weight Gain ©  National Health Association

Reducing weight and fat seems to constantly focus on the narrow minded debate of “calories in” vs. “calories out,” so that the burden of responsibility for weight gain is routinely focused solely on the dieting and exercise habits of individuals. As a result, a panorama of quick- fix fad diets and exercise programs are held out as the answer to the prayers of the overweight, even though the millions of people who religiously adopt these approaches typically meet with failure and, even worse, reactive long-term weight gains…

… An extensive body of clinical practice and research data strongly suggest that it is imperative to consider the synergistic interaction of several key factors to solve the problem of obesity. These factors include the quantity, quality, and type of food we eat, the exercise and activity we maintain, how we handle daily and chronic stress, the emotional context of our food use, the sleep we get, the drugs and stimulants we overuse, and the impact of industrial and environmental pollution and toxicity.

…Perhaps the most common metabolic disturbance associated with weight gain is insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that carries sugar into cells by attaching to special proteins (receptors) on the surface of brain and muscle cells. These receptors act like doors in the membrane, or outer envelope, of cells. When insulin attaches to these doors, it acts like a key opening these doors so that sugar can enter the cell and be converted into energy.

However, weight gain, high fat diets, excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates, yo-yo dieting, decreased physical activity, and sleep deficiency slam these insulin doors shut making them resistant to the attachment and action of insulin…

It is important to note that the potential activity of this fat making enzyme is significantly increased during extreme dieting as a part of the starvation response so that this enzyme is poised and ready to promote dramatic, rapid weight and fat gain whenever fat and sugar intake is increased following periods of dieting and calorie restriction.

Since insulin is not attaching well in insulin resistance, the body begins to believe that there is an insulin deficiency, and overproduces insulin. This excessive insulin increases our craving for fat and sugar, reinforcing the cycle of sugar imbalance and weight gain.

Nutrition Therapy: Because of the disturbance of insulin function, eating in a way that produces excessive fat, or raises blood sugar quickly, can promote reactive weight gain. So the ideal eating plan is a plant-based diet. This eating plan is low in calorie density and fat, high in complex carbohydrates, high in plant-based proteins, high in fiber and water content, high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, and low in glycemic index.  Glycemic index is just a measure of the impact any food has on blood sugar. High glycemic foods — e.g., all refined sugar and bakery products, and white flour products (white bread, white rice, refined pastas etc.) — which raise blood sugar quickly to a high degree should be avoided. These foods tend to promote reactive weight gain.

The ideal plant-based approach contains low glycemic foods including all fresh vegetables, a variety of fresh fruits, (especially all berries, grapefruit, apples, kiwi, peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines), complex starches like lentils, beans and whole grains that include brown rice, millet, barley, and quinoa. Overcooking and over processing fruits and vegetables tend to raise their glycemic index. Therefore, fruits and veggies, should be eaten as close to the raw state as possible, or lightly steamed or sautéed, not embalmed.

The diet should contain moderate amounts of nuts, soy proteins, and avocados, and a very modest use of both 100 percent whole grain, man-made starches like bread and pasta, and man-made bottled vegetables oils. Fresh juicy fruit should be used as a substitute for refined sugary desserts whenever possible. As a strategy to eliminate an addiction to refined sugar over the next 30 days, every time you want a dessert or something sweet, have a piece or two of juicy fruit. In addition, have some fat, a few almonds or a sliver of avocado and a few celery sticks, with the fruit. This will lower the glycemic impact, slow down sugar absorption, maintain better blood sugar stability, and decrease hunger and craving. In addition, avoid all sugar additives, artificial sweeteners, and sugar substitutes.

Unfortunately, high protein animal-based diets also have dangerous levels of fat, typically 40 percent or more of total calories. Therefore, staying on this type of diet for more than 4-6 months can result in a significant increase in vascular blockage and decreased blood flow to the heart and brain, increasing the risk of stroke, and heart disease. In addition, high protein animal-based consumption significantly increases chronic constipation, migraine headaches, potential cardiac arrhythmias from mineral losses associated with the dehydration effect of high protein diets, and significant reactive weight gain over time. Animal and dairy products are too high in cholesterol, saturated fat, acidity and arachadonic acid (omega-6), that provoke systemic inflammation, weaken the immune system, and promote exaggerated hormonal changes which increase stress and reactive weight gain. While some fish may contain helpful omega-3 fatty acids (DHA), they can also contain high cholesterol, potential mercury contamination, and organochlorines, like PCB in farm raised salmon, which can disturb hormone and thyroid function to promote weight gain.

Remember, in all the years of weight loss research, the most important parameter of any eating plan to support long-term weight loss is calorie density. This is the amount of calories the diet contains per weight of food. A plant- based diet has the greatest amount of nutrients for the smallest amount of calories. A pound of salad greens is only 100 calories a pound! Eating a diet primarily composed of fruits and vegetables provides a diet that has the lowest calorie density of any diet on planet earth, and is the most effective for long-term weight loss. Furthermore, since this diet also contains the most water and fiber, it will also fill you up, provide a better sense of satiety, and eliminate craving and hunger.

Exercise Therapy: Increase physical activity and aerobic exercise. Walking, 45-60 minutes, 4-5 times a week will lower body fat and body set point, and make you more calorie efficient so that you can burn, rather than store, calories more successfully throughout your day. The combination of aerobic exercise and weight training, 30 minutes 3 times a week, can improve insulin function, help resolve the problem of insulin resistance and lower levels of insulin release, thereby reducing food and sugar craving. Exercise can also enhance the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, to improve the extent and quality of sleep, and reduce sleep deficiency related weight gain.

Stress management:  We are all capable of creating an arousal stress response whenever we perceive the events and interactions of our lives to be traumatic, threatening or stressful. During the typical stress response, also called a fight or flight response, short term increases in muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are created to provide the drive and energy to fight or run away from the perceived challenge. These actions are promoted by the hormone cortisol, and other chemical transmitters released by the glands of stress, the adrenal glands, and also to some degree by the hormones and activity of the thyroid gland.

Ongoing, unresolved stress can increase cortisol release to raise blood sugar levels and increase the production and circulation of fat. In addition, visceral, omental fat in the abdominal region has a greater number of receptors for cortisol than fat in other areas of the body,5 so that when excessive cortisol is released in response to chronic stress, it can preferentially target fat cells in your stomach area and promote the production and buildup of belly fat. The localization and increase in abdominal body fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, angina, stroke, and non-drug dependent diabetes.6 Stress, alcohol, smoking, and caffeine in all of its’ forms all increase cortisol levels, and can contribute to risky, long-term fat and weight gain.7

The stress response is an energy demanding process that has evolved as an essential survival tool. However, as the relentless pressures and demands of our hectic, modern lives drive us into a state of chronic stress, we can deplete energy reserves and move into a state of exhaustion, also exhausting the glands of metabolism, adrenals and thyroid, and interfere with our ability to lose weight. Unfortunately, instead of resolving the exhaustion with supportive stress management techniques and sleep, we often opt for stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, refined sugar and other stimulant-based drugs, supplements, and drinks, which only magnify the problem of exhaustion.

Whenever the body is stimulated chemically, stimulation is only the initial effect. As the stimulants are metabolized, you will eventually crash to the same extent that you have been stimulated. Whatever goes up has to come down with equal and opposite force! Therefore, consistent use of caffeine and other stimulants promotes long-term fatigue and depression, suppression of the thyroid and adrenal glands, and reactive weight gain. Since caffeine in sodas, chocolate, coffee, some dietary weight loss supplements, and some over the counter analgesic drugs (Excedrin) can directly stimulate excessive cortisol release, it can directly contribute to adrenal exhaustion and increased body fat and weight gain over time.

This strongly suggests that stress management techniques should be an essential part of any weight loss program. Yoga, tai-chi, chi-gung, breathing and relaxation techniques, meditation, etc., are all approaches that can provide you with an opportunity to step back from the chatter of your life, embrace some quiet moments of precious present, replenish your energy reserves, and support the weight loss process.

In addition, our emotional responses to the conditions of life are intimately tied to our perception of the events and information we encounter. With the exception of major catastrophic trauma, negative stress and emotional upset are typically not in the event, but rather in the perception of the event, so that perception feeds emotion and together shape the strategies, behaviors, and solutions we create to solve the problems at hand. For example, our emotional relationship with food can also provoke abnormal eating behavior, especially since so many of us have been entrained from childhood to use food for comfort and distraction whenever life gets difficult and overwhelming…

So even as adults, we often attempt to satisfy our ongoing needs for pleasure, physical well-being, emotional nourishment, and spiritual comfort with devastating calorie-dense comfort foods (high fat and refined sugar), that give us the illusion of well-being, while only increasing obesity, dissatisfaction and even self-loathing.

So take some time to incorporate lifestyle changes that improve body and brain balance to support your brain reward system. Take a closer more conscious look at yourself and evaluate what you are using food for. Try to understand the context of your food use as well as the content of what you are eating.

Sleep:  The work of sleep medicine suggests that sleep deficiency is one of the leading causes of weight gain. Adults need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep a night, while children need 9-10 hours. Sleep deficiency can be defined as less than 4-6 hours a night. Sleep deficiency promotes abnormal food craving, blood sugar instability, stress, and potential weight gain.

Sleep deficiency is perceived by the body as a major stressful event. As a result, cortisol levels are increased, thereby increasing the circulation and stores of body and belly fat. Sleep deficiency also worsens the problem of insulin resistance, provoking the overproduction of insulin, and increasing the craving for fat and refined sugar. In addition, sleep deficiency increases the amount of ghrelin, a natural appetite stimulant, and decreases the amount of lepten, a hormone produced by fat cells that signals the brain that we’ve had enough to eat. So sleep deficiency can interfere with satiety signals and promote overeating. And since insulin resistance is increased by sleep deficiency, the craving for fats and refined sugar will also be increased at the same time, promoting a greater tendency to overeat these foods and increase weight gain.  See Sleep Therapy Section

Pollution and Toxicity:  Research in England, Canada, and the United States suggests that the most overweight people are found in cities and areas with the greatest amount of industrial and environmental pollution.9 In the U.S., the 10 fattest states are in the industrial South of our nation.10 They are connected either to the Mississippi River, the most polluted river in the U.S., or in the case of West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia are home to some of the top 20 mercury polluting power plants in the nation.  While these areas may foster lifestyles that support poor eating habits and sedentary behavior, it appears that the increased levels of industrial pollutants may be contributing to the epidemic of obesity independent of other factors.

Mines, refineries, and factories regularly release toxins into the environment. Some of these pollutants are capable of disrupting key biological hormones, affecting the fertility of mammals and invoking changes that may be involved in reactive weight gain. Organochlorines — e.g., the pesticides DDT, its’ breakdown product DDE, and PCB (found in farm-raised salmon) — can decrease the levels of thyroid hormones, slowing down the metabolic rate of the body, and interfering with weight loss. These pollutants act directly on the sympathetic nervous system to interfere with weight-regulating hormones, and the receptors on fat cells, that may be involved in reactive weight gain.11

Some industrial pollutants like bisphenal-A, an estrogen mimic used to make clear hard reusable plastic products, and flame retardants, can signal dormant pre-adipocytes (baby fat cells) to grow into mature fat cells.12 As fat cells grow, it is harder to keep weight down. This increase in weight urges the detoxifying systems of the body to slow down and simply store more and more toxins in the growing mass of available fat. As a result, the body becomes increasingly fatter and more toxic. In some cases, these chemicals may elicit inflammatory responses and toxic effects on brain, liver, and kidneys.13 This may eventually overwhelm the body’s detoxification pathways. Under this pressure, the body tries to dilute these toxins by making new fat cells in which to store them, since these chemicals are usually soluble in fat, thereby reinforcing an ongoing cycle of toxicity, fat, and weight gain.

Lifestyle Changes:  Obesity is a major health problem with devastating consequences of disability, disease, and death. However, it is a problem that can be solved if we are willing as individuals to address a constellation of causative lifestyle factors. There is no simple quick-fix solution. Yet, while the solution requires disciplined lifestyle choices by the individual, it also requires that countries and governments shoulder some of the responsibility, and take action to address the toxic by-products of the industrialization and urbanization of modern society. It is imperative that we create more emotional and spiritual balance in our lives, and realize that we must stop digging our graves with our teeth. At the same time, businesses and corporations must also be more accountable for their actions, and legally pressured if necessary, to realize that they can’t keep poisoning people and the environment for profit.  


Why Diet Pop and Colas Make You Fat and Sick


Reference Source -

Effective weight loss starts with diet changes and exercise, one of the first changes is to stop drinking all diet pop all colas, all carbonated beverages - including diet pop, which is the worst.

Get the Aspartame out of your diet! Why, ASPARTAME (NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc.) the sweetener in diet pop is very acidic, with a pH of 1.5 to 2.5 - that is 100,000 times more acid that your body wants to be. Aspartame has a pH of 1.5! All life dies at a pH of 4.5. Because of this your body creates fat cells to store the extra acid or in this case Aspartame. This is why people who drink diet pop just get fatter.

Your kidneys are the prime pH balancing organs in your body. The body wants to have a general pH of about 7. So when you drink pure water with pH of about 7 or a little higher - you are balancing the pH in your kidneys, and balancing the general pH in the body. When the pH is right the body can release and dispose of stored acids, which are filling the fat cells. This why some clients have had such drastic weight reductions in such a short amount of time, just drink water.

Why is pH so important? If your pH is correct you will have a much less chances of contracting a chronic condition, such as cancer, arthritis, or even the common cold. There is a direct correlation between pH and your immune system. The Immune system works at its most optimal level, when the body pH is 7.0 - or slightly alkaline.

So when you drink just one diet pop - you drive your pH down, shutting down the immune system, and setting yourself up for a disease to take hold. Drink just one diet pop or cola, you will then have to drink 32 glasses of water with a pH of 7 or more to balance your pH.

Scientists have found that healthy people have body fluids that are slightly alkaline, 7.1 to 7.5 pH. Scientists and doctors have also found that over 150 degenerative diseases are linked to acidity, including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, gall and kidney stones, and many more. All diseases thrive in an acidic, oxygen poor environment.  

Keep in mind that a drop in every point on the pH scale is 10x more acidic than the previous number--i.e. from 7 to 6 is 10x, from 7 to 5 is 100x etc. From 7 to 2 is 100,000x more acidic, colas are in the approximate 2.5 pH range. Almost no soda (pop) is higher than 3.0. Diet sodas are the worst as they have the highest acid content. Actually diet sodas cause you to gain weight because they alter the blood chemistry, making changes in your metabolism, leading to a slower metabolic rate. The best liquid to drink is water.

Most degenerative diseases we call "Old-Age Diseases" like memory loss, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, and many more are actually life style diseases caused by acidosis, the lack of supplements, what acids we ingest, what nutrients we don't ingest, or toxins we don't properly eliminate.


…In the case of systemic lupus, we are finding it has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers. Also, with methanol toxicity, the victims usually drink three to four 12 oz. cans of them per day, some even more.

ASPARTAME... It is NOT A DIET PRODUCT!!! The Congressional record said, "It makes you crave carbohydrates and will make you FAT". Dr. Roberts stated that when he got patients off ASPARTAME, their average weight loss was 19 pounds per person. The formaldehyde stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs… Link to Aspartame - Read Precautions

So what is an alternative?

Stevia is an herb that has been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. It is calorie - free, and the powdered concentrate is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Is widely used all over the world. In Japan, for example, it claims 41% of the sweetener market, including sugar, and was used in Japanese Diet Coke until the company replaced it with aspartame to "standardize" worldwide. There have not been any reports of toxicity with stevia, which is consumed by millions of people daily. 


Treatment Strategies

To lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.1

Once you've achieved a healthy weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity most days of the week (about 60—90 minutes, moderate intensity), you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term.

What You Need to Know Before Getting Started - Weight loss can be achieved either by eating fewer calories or by burning more calories with physical activity, preferably both. A healthy weight loss program consists of:

  • A reasonable, realistic weight loss goal

  • A reduced calorie, nutritionally-balanced eating plan

  • Regular physical activity

  • A behavior change plan to help you stay on track with your goals

Keep in Mind

  • Calories count

  • Portions count

  • Nutrition counts

  • Even a small amount of weight loss can lead to big health benefits

  • Strive to develop good habits to last a lifetime

  • Discuss weight loss with your doctor before getting started


What Do I Ask My Doctor?

Before you start a diet, talk to your doctor or nurse about a healthy weight-loss plan that’s right for you. Screening and counseling for obesity are covered under the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance provider.

It helps to have questions for the doctor or nurse written down before your appointment. Print out this list of questions, and take it with you the next time you visit the doctor. You may want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.

  • How does my weight affect my health?

  • Do I have a health problem that is causing me to be overweight?

  • How will losing weight help me?

  • What is a healthy weight for me?

  • How much weight do I need to lose?

  • How long should it take me to lose weight?

  • What are healthy ways to lose weight and keep it off?

  • How do I change my eating habits?

  • What kinds of physical activity do I need to do?

  • Could a weight-loss program help me?


Step-by-Step Guidelines to Getting Started

Step 1: Make a commitment. Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it helpful to sign a written contract committing to the process. This contract may include things like the amount of weight you want to lose, the date you'd like to lose the weight by, the dietary changes you'll make to establish healthy eating habits, and a plan for getting regular physical activity.

Step 2: Take stock of where you are. Consider talking to your health care provider. He or she can evaluate your height, weight, and explore other weight-related risk factors you may have. Ask for a follow-up appointment to monitor changes in your weight or any related health conditions.

Keep a "food diary" for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat. By doing this, you become more aware of what you are eating and when you are eating. This awareness can help you avoid mindless eating.

Next, examine your current lifestyle. Identify things that might pose challenges to your weight loss efforts. For example, does your work or travel schedule make it difficult to get enough physical activity? Do you find yourself eating sugary foods because that's what you buy for your kids? Do your coworkers frequently bring high-calorie items, such as doughnuts, to the workplace to share with everyone? Think through things you can do to help overcome these challenges.

Finally, think about aspects of your lifestyle that can help you lose weight. For example, is there an area near your workplace where you and some coworkers can take a walk at lunchtime? Is there a place in your community, such as a YMCA, with exercise facilities for you and child care for your kids?

Step 3: Set realistic goals. Set some short-term goals and reward your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 40 pounds and to control your high blood pressure, some short-term eating and physical activity goals might be to start eating breakfast, taking a 15 minute walk in the evenings, or having a salad or vegetable with supper.

Focus on two or three goals at a time. Great, effective goals are —

  • Specific

  • Realistic

  • Forgiving (less than perfect)

For example, "Exercise More" is not a specific goal. But if you say, "I will walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week for the first week," you are setting a specific and realistic goal for the first week.

Remember, small changes every day can lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By achieving your short-term goals day-by-day, you'll feel good about your progress and be motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks, can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated.

Being realistic also means expecting occasional setbacks. Setbacks happen when you get away from your plan for whatever reason – maybe the holidays, longer work hours, or another life change. When setbacks happen, get back on track as quickly as possible. Also take some time to think about what you would do differently if a similar situation happens, to prevent setbacks.

Step 4: Identify resources for information and support. Joining a weight loss group or visiting a health care professional such as a registered dietitian, can help. Find family members or friends who will support your weight loss efforts. You might have coworkers or neighbors with similar goals, and together you can share healthful recipes and plan group exercise.

Step 5: Continually "check in" with yourself to monitor your progress. Revisit the goals you set for yourself (in Step 3) and evaluate your progress regularly. If you set a goal to walk each morning but are having trouble fitting it in before work, see if you can shift your work hours or if you can get your walk in at lunchtime or after work. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly.

If you are consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on your
pathway to success.

Reward yourself for your successes! Recognize when you're meeting your goals and be proud of your progress. Use non-food rewards, such as a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, a sports outing with friends, or a relaxing bath. Rewards help keep you motivated on the path to better health.


Setting Goals For Weight Loss

Improving Your Eating Habits - Making sudden, radical changes to eating habits such as eating nothing but cabbage soup, can lead to short term weight loss. However, such radical changes are neither healthy nor a good idea, and won't be successful in the long run. Permanently improving your eating habits requires a thoughtful approach in which you Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce

  • REFLECT on all of your specific eating habits, both bad and good; and, your common triggers for unhealthy eating.

  • REPLACE your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.

  • REINFORCE your new, healthier eating habits.

Create a list of your eating habits. Keeping a food diary for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat and the time of day you ate it, will help you uncover your habits… Use this diary  (PDF-36k) to help. 

Highlight the habits on your list that may be leading you to overeat. Common eating habits that can lead to weight gain are:

·         Eating too fast

·         Always cleaning your plate

·         Eating when not hungry

·         Eating while standing up (may lead to eating mindlessly or too quickly)

·         Always eating dessert

·         Skipping meals (or maybe just breakfast)

Look at the unhealthy eating habits you've highlighted. Be sure you've identified all the triggers that cause you to engage in those habits. Identify a few you'd like to work on improving first. Don't forget to pat yourself on the back for the things you're doing right.

Create a list of "cues" by reviewing your food diary to become more aware of when and where you're "triggered" to eat for reasons other than hunger. Note how you are typically feeling at those times. Often an environmental "cue", or a particular emotional state, is what encourages eating for non-hunger reasons. Common triggers for eating when not hungry are:

·         Opening up the cabinet and seeing your favorite snack food.

·         Sitting at home watching television.

·         Before or after a stressful meeting or situation at work.

·         Coming home after work and having no idea what's for dinner.

·         Having someone offer you a dish they made "just for you!"

·         Walking past a candy dish on the counter.

·         Sitting in the break room beside the vending machine.

·         Seeing a plate of doughnuts at the morning staff meeting.

·         Swinging through your favorite drive-through every morning.

·         Feeling bored or tired and thinking food might offer a pick-me-up.

Circle the "cues" on your list that you face on a daily or weekly basis. Going home for the Thanksgiving holiday may be a trigger for you to overeat, and eventually, you want to have a plan for as many eating cues as you can. But for now, focus on the ones you face more often.

Ask yourself these questions for each "cue" you've circled:

  • Is there anything I can do to avoid the cue or situation? This option works best for cues that don't involve others. For example, could you choose a different route to work to avoid stopping at a fast food restaurant on the way? Is there another place in the break room where you can sit so you're not next to the vending machine?

  • For things I can't avoid, can I do something differently that would be healthier? Obviously, you can't avoid all situations that trigger your unhealthy eating habits, like staff meetings at work. In these situations, evaluate your options. Could you suggest or bring healthier snacks or beverages? Could you offer to take notes to distract your attention? Could you sit farther away from the food so it won't be as easy to grab something? Could you plan ahead and eat a healthy snack before the meeting?

Replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones. For example, in reflecting upon your eating habits, you may realize that you eat too fast when you eat alone. So, make a commitment to share a lunch each week with a colleague, or have a neighbor over for dinner one night a week. Other strategies might include putting your fork down between bites or minimizing other distractions (i.e. watching the news during dinner) that might keep you from paying attention to how quickly — and how much — you're eating.

Here are more ideas to help you replace unhealthy habits:

  • Eat more slowly. If you eat too quickly, you may "clean your plate" instead of paying attention to whether your hunger is satisfied.

  • Eat only when you're truly hungry instead of when you are tired, anxious, or feeling an emotion besides hunger. If you find yourself eating when you are experiencing an emotion besides hunger, such as boredom or anxiety, try to find a non-eating activity to do instead. You may find a quick walk or phone call with a friend helps you feel better.

  • Plan meals ahead of time to ensure that you eat a healthy well-balanced meal.

Reinforce your new, healthy habits and be patient with yourself. Habits take time to develop. It doesn't happen overnight. When you do find yourself engaging in an unhealthy habit, stop as quickly as possible and ask yourself: Why do I do this? When did I start doing this? What changes do I need to make? Be careful not to berate yourself or think that one mistake "blows" a whole day's worth of healthy habits. You can do it! It just takes one day at a time!

Do I have to give up my favorite comfort food?

No! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balance them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Some general tips for comfort foods:

  • Consume them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month. You'll be cutting your calories because you're not having the food as often.

  • Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar. Be careful! This technique works well for some people, but others may find it is too tempting to have their favorite food available, even in smaller amounts.

  • Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare it differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size. For more ideas on how to cut back on calories, see Eat More Weigh Less.


Keeping It Off

‘© All rights reserved. is an ad-free non-profit resource for supporting better mental health and lifestyle choices for adults and children.’

Follow a healthy and realistic eating pattern. You have embarked on a healthier lifestyle, now the challenge is maintaining the positive eating habits you've developed along the way. In studies of people who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year, most continued to eat a diet lower in calories as compared to their pre-weight loss diet.2 For more suggestions regarding a healthful diet, visit Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight.

Keep your eating patterns consistentFollow a healthy eating pattern regardless of changes in your routine. Plan ahead for weekends, vacations, and special occasions. By making a plan, it is more likely you'll have healthy foods on hand for when your routine changes.

Eat breakfast every dayEating breakfast is a common trait among people who have lost weight and kept it off. Eating a healthful breakfast may help you avoid getting "over-hungry" and then overeating later in the day.

Be Active

Get daily physical activity. People who have lost weight and kept it off typically engage in 60—90 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week while not exceeding calorie needs. This doesn't necessarily mean 60—90 minutes at one time. It might mean 20—30 minutes of physical activity three times a day. For example, a brisk walk in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. Some people may need to talk to their healthcare provider before participating in this level of physical activity. (Link to Exercise Therapy)

Stay on Course

Monitor your diet and activity. Keeping a food and physical activity journal can help you track your progress and spot trends. For example, you might notice that your weight creeps up during periods when you have a lot of business travel or when you have to work overtime. Recognizing this tendency can be a signal to try different behaviors, such as packing your own healthful food for the plane and making time to use your hotel's exercise facility when you are traveling. Or if working overtime, maybe you can use your breaks for quick walks around the building.

Monitor your weight. Check your weight regularly. When managing your weight loss, it's a good idea to keep track of your weight so you can plan accordingly and adjust your diet and exercise plan as necessary. If you have gained a few pounds, get back on track quickly.

The Caloric Balance Equation

When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime, the bottom line is – calories count! Weight management is all about balance—balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses or "burns off."

A calorie is defined as a unit of energy supplied by food. A calorie is a calorie regardless of its source. Whether you're eating carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or proteins, all of them contain calories.

Caloric balance is like a scale. To remain in balance and maintain your body weight, the calories consumed (from foods) must be balanced by the calories used (in normal body functions, daily activities, and exercise).


Long-term Successful Weight Loss Models 

Reference Source -

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36 percent of adult Americans attempt to lose weight, and 56 percent attempt to maintain their current weight or keep from gaining weight.

How do people successfully lose weight and keep it off? Healthy low-calorie and low-fat diets as well as high levels of physical activity are the foundation for success, according to the researchers who maintain the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a database of people who have self-reported successful weight loss and maintenance of weight loss.

Although the criteria for entry into the NWCR is the achievement and maintenance of weight loss of 30 pounds or more for at least one year, the average NWCR participant has lost about 60 pounds and kept it off for about five years.

When participants were asked questions about how they maintained their weight loss, the NWCR researchers found that:

  • 92 percent limited their intake of certain foods (one example: eating at fast food restaurants less than once a week).

  • They consumed an average of 1400 calories per day, of which 24 percent of calories was from fat, 19 percent protein, and 56 percent carbohydrates.

  • They ate five times a day, on average.

  • They burned an average of 2,800 calories a week through exercise (an equivalent of about 400 calories day).

  • 75 percent weighed themselves regularly - at least once a week.

  • About one-third described weight maintenance as hard, one-third as moderately easy, and one-third as easy.

  • 42 percent reported that maintaining their weight loss was less difficult than initially losing the weight.


Reference Source - - The National Weight Control Registry

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance.

Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time

Learn from the Statistics -

We have also started to learn about how the weight loss was accomplished:

  • 45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program.

  • 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.

  • 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.

There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.

  • 78% eat breakfast every day.

  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.

  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.

  • 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

NWCR's Research Findings

The National Weight Control Registry’s Research Findings: To date, we have published articles describing the eating and exercise habits of successful weight losers, the behavioral strategies they use to maintain their weight, and the effect of successful weight loss maintenance on other areas of their lives. Link to NWCR's Research Findings


Ranking Weight Loss Programs 

Reference Source - - Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

PCRM contacted ten weight management and lifestyle improvement programs to determine the availability of cholesterol-free, healthful menus or foods. We graded programs according to whether they promote low-fat, plant-based foods, which research has shown to be the most effective approach to obesity and major diseases.

Four programs received an excellent rating. Most of these programs mirror the effective nutritional approach of the leading researchers who run them. They do not focus on portion size and, in fact, lay little if any blame on their clients’ appetites. Instead, they use foods that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates while avoiding animal products, oils, and overly refined products.

The commercial strip-mall centers are a very distant second, retaining substandard diet guidelines and packaged foods that are usually too similar to those that caused clients’ weight problems in the first place.

The Jenny Craig program is in a class of its own at the bottom of the list. Jenny Craig clients have to buy its line of packaged goods that contain animal products and too much fat.


Four programs achieved an outstanding rating for using low-fat, unrefined, plant-based foods for achieving and maintaining weight loss and good health.

  • The McDougall Program at St. Helena Health Center
  • NEWSTART Lifestyle Program at the Weimar Institute 
  • Wildwood Lifestyle Center 
  • Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI)


The next five programs retain an obsolete approach that focuses on skimpy meal portions rather than on making serious changes in the content of animal products and fat. They offer few low-fat, vegetarian choices despite evidence that such foods are the most effective for weight control.

  • Weight Watchers

  • Inches-A-Weigh Nutrition & On-Site Exercise Centers

  • Physicians Weight Loss Centers (PWLC)

  • Diet Center Worldwide

  • Nutri/System


  • Jenny Craig, Inc.

Reference Source -

Jan. 9, 2013 -- The best diet plan for overall health may not cost a thing.

A new ranking of diets by U.S. News & World Report gives top honors for best overall diet to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Originally developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to lower blood pressure, the diet plan is available free online

Experts also ranked top diets in seven other categories, including weight loss, diabetes, heart-healthy, commercial, easiest to follow, plant-based, and healthy eating.

Weight Watchers won best weight loss diet as well as easiest to follow and best commercial diet.

The DASH diet tied with The Biggest Loser diet as the best diet plan to prevent and manage diabetes. The DASH diet was also named best diet for healthy eating, while the Mediterranean diet won best plant-based diet.

Ranking the Best Diets - The rankings are based on reviews of 29 diets by a panel of experts in diet nutrition,  obesity, food psychology, diabetes, and heart disease. The panel rated each diet’s effectiveness in the following seven categories:

  • How easy it is to follow

  • Short-term weight loss

  • Long-term weight loss

  • Nutritional completeness

  • Safety

  • Diabetes prevention and management

  • Heart disease prevention

Best Overall Diets

  1. DASH Diet (4.1 stars) -- The blood-pressure-lowering diet beat out other better-known diets for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent and control diabetes, and promote heart health.

  2. TLC Diet (4.0 stars) -- The National Institutes of Health created the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet to lower cholesterol levels. Experts say it’s a well-rounded, healthy diet, but it requires a “do-it-yourself” approach as opposed to the hand-holding provided by some commercial diet plans.

  3. Mayo Clinic Diet (3.9 stars) -- This diet plan got high marks for its safety and nutrition. Experts say it is moderately effective for weight loss.

  4. Mediterranean Diet (3.9 stars) -- With an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and other healthy foods, the diet got some of the highest scores for nutrition. But experts say some Americans might have a problem sticking to a diet that requires giving up processed foods and sugary drinks.

  5. Weight Watchers (3.9 stars) -- Experts said the commercial weight loss diet plan was the easiest to stick to thanks to a strong emphasis on emotional support.

Best Weight-Loss Diets

  1. Weight Watchers (3.8 stars) -- The diet plan uses a points system to help people lose weight and keep it off. Weight Watchers beat other diet plans for both short-term and long-term weight loss in experts’ ratings.

  2. The Biggest Loser Diet (3.5 stars) -- The diet based on the television show of the same name is built around healthy food and regular exercise. Experts said it required a lot of grunt work and may be hard to maintain for long-term weight loss.

  3. Jenny Craig (3.5 stars) -- Experts rated Jenny Craig highly effective as a weight-loss diet, but a few questioned whether dieters can expect to keep the weight off after they are weaned off the diet’s prepackaged, portion-controlled foods.

  4. Raw Food Diet (3.5 stars) -- This diet is dominated by plant-based foods never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the raw food diet delivers both short-term and long-term weight loss, experts say such a restrictive, labor-intensive diet isn’t for everyone.

  5. Volumetrics (3.4 stars) -- The diet is based on eating foods that are low in calories and high in volume to help people feel full while losing weight. It got high marks for nutrition, but the diet requires lengthy meal preparation.


Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You

The Partnership for Healthy Weight Management encourages providers of weight loss programs to follow voluntary guidelines for providers of weight loss products or services to give you basic information about their methods. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a weight loss program - Finding a Weight Loss Program that Works for You

Informing Consumers: When you start shopping for a weight loss program, ask providers whether they follow the Voluntary Guidelines for Providers of Weight Loss Products or Services from the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management. If a program provider doesn’t know about the Guidelines, suggest they contact the Partnership at the Federal Trade Commission’s…read the entire Voluntary Guidelines Providers Weight Loss Products Or Services at the Partnership's website.

Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program

Weight Loss for Life


How to Evaluate Weight Loss Products & Services

Advertising claims for weight loss products and services inevitably over-promise. The products and services themselves almost always under-deliver. Changing your diet and exercising more are the keys to successful weight loss. Find out how to evaluate weight loss and fitness claims before you buy products or services that claim to make it fast or easy to slim down or shape up

How to Weigh the Claims in Diet Ads

Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads - Whether it’s a pill, patch, or cream, there’s no shortage of ads promising quick and easy weight loss without diet or exercise. But the claims just aren’t true, and some of these products could even hurt your health. The best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and get more exercise. Don’t be hooked by promises, testimonials, or supposed endorsements from reporters; all you’ll lose is money.

Claims to watch out for include:

Lose weight without diet or exercise! - Getting to a healthy weight takes work. Take a pass on any product that promises miraculous results without the effort. The only thing you’ll lose is money.

Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods! - Beware of any product that claims that you can eat all the high-calorie food you want and still lose weight. Losing weight requires sensible food choices. Filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits can make it easier to say no to fattening sweets and snacks.

Lose weight permanently! Never diet again! - Even if you’re successful in taking weight off, permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes. Don’t trust any product that promises once-and-for-all results without ongoing maintenance.

Just take a pill! - Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that there’s simply no magic way to lose weight without diet or exercise. Even pills approved by FDA to block the absorption of fat or help you eat less and feel full are to be taken with a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular exercise.

Lose 30 pounds in 30 days! - Losing weight at the rate of a pound or two a week is the most effective way to take it off and keep it off. At best, products promising lightning-fast weight loss are a scam. At worst, they can ruin your health.

Everybody will lose weight! - Your habits and health concerns are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all product guaranteed to work for everyone. Team up with your health care provider to design a nutrition and exercise program suited to your lifestyle and metabolism.

Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream! - You’ve seen the ads for diet patches or creams that claim to melt away the pounds. Don’t believe them. There’s nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight.

Other tip-offs to a fraud include:

Claims that one product does it all and cures a wide variety of health problems - "Proven to treat rheumatism, arthritis, infections, prostate problems, ulcers, cancer, heart trouble, hardening of the arteries and more."

Suggestions the product can treat or cure diseases - "Shrinks tumors," "Cures impotency," or "Prevents severe memory loss."

Words like scientific breakthrough, miraculous cure, exclusive product, secret ingredient, or ancient remedy - "A revolutionary innovation formulated by using proven principles of natural health-based medical science."

Misleading use of scientific-sounding terms - "Molecule multiplicity," "glucose metabolism," "thermogenesis," or "insulin receptor sites."

Phony references to Nobel Prize winning technology or science - "Nobel Prize Winning Technology," or "Developed by two times Nobel prize winner."

Undocumented testimonials by patients or doctors claiming miraculous results - "My husband has Alzheimer's disease. He began eating a teaspoonful of this product each day. And now, in just 22 days, he mowed the grass, cleaned out the garage, weeded the flower beds, and we take our morning walk again."

Limited availability and a need to pay in advance -"Hurry. This offer will not last. Send us a check now to reserve your supply."

Promises of no-risk "money-back guarantees - "If after 30 days you have not lost at least 4 pounds each week, your uncashed check will be returned to you."


Protect Yourself from Weight Loss Fraud

FDA’s Health Fraud Scams website pulls together videos on how to avoid fraudulent schemes, and offers information about products that have been seized, recalled or are the subject of warnings from the agency.

Video Tips to Protect You from Weight Loss Scams

Health Fraud Scams (Videos from FDA)

Health Fraud Scams - Weight Loss

Being Fooled by Empty Diet Promises

Don't Be a Victim  (You could lose so much more than weight) - A message from the FDA warning about the dangers of fraudulent weight loss products, the deceptive ads used to market them, and tips on how to protect yourself.

HCG Dangerous to Dieters - There are no HCG products--sold online or in stores--that are approved for weight loss. For your own safety, do not use them. FDA and FTC are warning companies selling these products that they are breaking the law. For more information, watch this Consumer Update video.


Consumer Precautions

It’s everywhere - on TV and radio, on the Internet, in magazines, and on flyers posted on your car windshield and telephone polls - ads describing a miraculous way to lose weight quickly. The truth is that if there really is a miracle cure, 64.5 percent of adult Americans would not be overweight. But, that is a fact.  Numerous products and programs offering weight loss solutions are available to consumers, who must be properly educated on how to evaluate which ones are effective, safe and offer realistic results.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has brought numerous cases of deceptive advertising over the years against providers of diet pills, potions, and devices, and against commercial diet clinics.

If you think that you have taken a product of concern, or feel that you are a victim of a fraudulent service, file a complaint.

How to File a Complaint: 

File a Consumer Complaint Form and report fraudulent weight loss product claims to the FTC. You also can contact your state Attorney General.

If you find a website you think is illegally selling human drugs, animal drugs, medical devices, biological products, foods, dietary supplements or cosmetics on the Internet, complete a form at the FDA's website, Reporting Unlawful Sales of Medical Products on the Internet.

If you have experienced an illness or injury with a dietary supplement marketed as a weight loss product, or have a general complaint or concern about food products, take the following steps:

1) Contact MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:


Related Information for Consumers:


  • for dietary supplements, select 2

  • for drug products, select 3

  • for medical devices, select 4

  • for biologics, including human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products, select 6

2) The FDA would like to know when a product causes a problem even if you are unsure the product caused the problem or even if you do not visit a doctor or clinic. When you report your adverse event, problem or concern, have the following information ready:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the person who became ill

  • The name and address of the doctor or hospital providing medical treatment

  • A description of the problem

  • The name of the product and store where it was bought

3) Report the problem to the manufacturer or distributor listed on the product's label and to the store where the product was bought.

For Health Professionals: If you are a health professional, you can report adverse events related to patient use of dietary supplements. Your patients' identity is kept confidential. Make your report to the FDA's MedWatch by calling their hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088 or completing appropriate forms on the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program website.

U.S. Postal Service (USPS): Postal inspectors investigate crimes, such as fraudulent marketing promotions, that use the U.S. Mail. A crime is considered mail fraud if it originates in the mail, by telephone or on the Internet and is carried out in the U.S. Mail. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the law enforcement branch of the USPS:

In the past, the USPIS has stopped orders from the manufacturer of a nationally advertised grapefruit pill when the company broke a consent agreement prohibiting unsubstantiated claims that with their product, consumers would "lose greater amounts of weight than scientific evidence showed."

If you think you are a victim of weight loss fraud by mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the USPIS or contact your local postal inspection service.

Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB is a self-regulated organization supported by businesses to provide reports to consumers about companies. The BBB works with law enforcement agencies to stop fraud. Check out a company, file a complaint, find tips on preventing fraud, and information on dispute resolution at the BBB website.


Adverse Products – Safety Issues

In the last few years, FDA has discovered hundreds of dietary supplements containing drugs or other chemicals, often in products for weight loss,  sexual enhancement, or bodybuilding. These extras generally aren't listed on the label — and might even be sold with false and misleading claims like “100% natural” and “safe.” They could cause serious side effects or interact in dangerous ways with medicines or other supplements you're taking.

People have suffered strokes, acute liver injury, kidney failure, and pulmonary embolisms (artery blockage in the lung); some people have died. Tainted supplements often are sold with false and misleading claims like "100% natural" and "safe." To recognize tainted products, look for:

  • products claiming to be alternatives to FDA-approved drugs or have effects similar to prescription drugs

  • products claiming to be legal alternatives to anabolic steroids

  • marketing materials primarily in a foreign language

  • promises of rapid effects or results

Find more on tainted products marketed as dietary supplements at FDA's website.


Tainted Weight Loss Products

FDA has identified an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful. Consumers may unknowingly take products laced with varying quantities of approved prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for weight loss.

Remember, FDA cannot test all products on the market that contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market.

A History of Action - Among the substances found in products that are marketed as dietary supplements and that contain hidden or deceptively labeled ingredients are:

  • the active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs or their analogs (closely-related drugs).

  • other compounds, such as novel synthetic steroids, that do not qualify as dietary ingredients. 

Where FDA investigations have discovered tainted products marketed as dietary supplements, the agency has issued warning letters and conducted seizures and criminal prosecutions. 

FDA has also alerted consumers to hundreds of products with these often deceptively labeled and harmful ingredients, including more than 80 products marketed for sexual enhancement, more than 70 products marketed for weight loss, and more than 80 products marketed for bodybuilding.


Dietary Supplements Consumer Alerts

Search for Listings of Tainted Dietary Supplements and/or Weight Loss Products here - Drugs Resources For You Consumers - Buying Using Medicine Safely Medication Health Fraud

Sign up here Get Consumer Updates by E-mail to receive email notification alerts of dietary supplement recalls. When you subscribe to this service, you will receive an e-mail message each time there is an update on the FDA page(s) you select.


Credible Weight Loss Dietary Supplement Recommendations

Retrieved From -

Note: just like any drug natural supplements are "natural drugs" and you should consult your physician before taken them as part of any weight loss program.


Green tea contains compounds called catechins, a class of antioxidants which have been associated with an increased metabolism and the ability to stimulate fat burning. In a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a group of men who consumed 690 milligrams of green tea extract per day lost more weight in three months than a control group (an average of 5.3 pounds versus. 2.9 pounds). Previous studies have shown that green tea causes weight loss in women, too.


Guarana is a plant native to parts of the Amazon rain forest. It has black seeds that are rich in caffeine, with approximately double the caffeine of coffee beans. The caffeine is a stimulant and is thought to raise energy expenditure, however, it could also stimulate the central nervous system and heart, and may result in anxiety and rapid heart rate in larger amounts.


After ephedra was taken off the market in 2004, bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) a herb similar to ephedra, started to become more popular. It contains compounds similar to ephedrine called synephrine and octopamine. Bitter orange may raise blood pressure, increase heart rate or cause abnormal heart rhythms.


The Hydroxycitric Acid found in Garcinia Cambogia has several different effects on the body. The most notable of these effects is its ability to inhibit the uptake of carbohydrates that are stored in the body as fat. By prohibiting the fat storage, the carbs are burned as energy thereby increasing energy levels and decreasing fat levels. HCA also works to prevent cravings for sugar heavy and carbohydrate heavy foods, balance the blood sugar levels, and increase the serotonin levels in the brain which signal to us that we are full faster.


The principle behind 5-HTP for weight loss is that it seems to have a marked effect on the chemical Serotonin which is naturally produced in the brain. Serotonin plays an intricate part in the mechanisms of sleep, mood and hunger. 5-HTP has been used in studies to help people in the fight against obesity. There is sufficient evidence to prove that 5-HTP, when used as a dietary supplement, will work as an effective weight loss aid. 

Safe and reliable weight-loss solutions have never been so easy! Dr. Oz explores the latest diet trends, fitness regimes and lifestyle changes to provide you with the safest, easiest and fastest ways to shed any unwanted pounds. - Dr. Oz's recommendations and warnings on dietary supplements for weight loss.


Calorie Calculator

Calorie Calculator - Find out how many calories are in a particular food or meal. Search for specific foods or browse the database.

CALORIES Burned - calculate how many calories you are burning doing your favorite activities.

Calories to BURN to Reach Goal Weight - Set a target date and calculate the number of calories you need to burn to reach your goal weight.

BMI Calculator - Use the BMI calculator and chart to get your BMI score and determine what that means for your health.

Body FAT Calculator- Calculate approximately what percentage of your body weight is fat.

Meal and Snack Calculator - If you want to lose, maintain, or gain weight, this tool will calculate the number of calories that are right for you.

Get Moving Calculator: Exercise/Calories Burned  - Physical activity (no matter how big or small) burns calories and this calculator estimates the calorie expenditure.

Diet Assessment Calorie Calculator - If you've lost a significant amount of weight, increased your exercise or made changes in regard to eating and exercise, use the Diet Assessment Calorie Calculator to find the appropriate calorie level based on the changes you've made in your lifestyle.

Calculate Your Daily Calorie Needs  - Find the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain your current weight. If you're overweight, use the average healthy weight recommended for your height.


Dining Out Options 

Healthy Dining Finder 

Search for restaurants offering healthy dining choices in your neighborhood by zip code. Find many tantalizing and dietitian-approved Healthy Dining menu choices that restaurants nationwide are dishing up to help you enjoy eating out as part of your healthy lifestyle. Use calories, fat, saturated fat, and price ranges to find delicious, nutritious meals that are right for you.

Healthy Weight: Rethink Your Drink

Many people don't realize just how many calories beverages can contribute to their daily intake. Calories from drinks can really add up. This document provides you with options for reducing the number of calories in what you drink.


Where To Get More Help - The Weight-control Information Network provides the general public, health professionals, the media, and Congress with up-to-date, science-based information on weight control, obesity, physical activity, and related nutritional issues.


TOPS Tools - Find useful articles and news on fitness and nutrition, plus tools to help you plan and track various aspects of your weight management efforts. - Provides evidence-based information to manage weight and improve health. - Find information and ideas to achieve a healthy weight for you and your family. If you are a health professional, you will find resources to assist your clients and patients with their efforts to attain and maintain a healthy weight. - Topics cover the science of portion sizes, mindless eating, and eating behaviors. - The Council on Size & Weight Discrimination

Provides information on eating disorders, “sizism,” the non-dieting movement, and size discrimination.