Saturday, March 28, 2009

The FDA shit-list

I ran across this recent consumer alert from the FDA regarding diet products that the FDA deems as unsafe.

FDA News

March 20, 2009

Consumer Inquiries:

FDA Uncovers Additional Tainted Weight Loss Products
Agency alerts consumers to the finding of new undeclared drug ingredients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expanding, for the second time, its nationwide alert to consumers about tainted weight loss products containing undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The FDA has identified additional weight loss products (Herbal Xenicol, Slimbionic, and Xsvelten) and new undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients (fenproporex, fluoxetine, furosemide, and cetilistat). The current list now includes the following 72 products:

2 Day Diet
Fatloss Slimming
Slim 3 in 1 M18 Royal Diet
2 Day Diet Slim Advance
Slim 3 in 1 Slim Formula
2x Powerful Slimming
Herbal Xenicol
Slim Burn
3 Day Diet
Imelda Fat Reducer
Slim Express 4 in 1
3 Days Fit
Imelda Perfect Slim
Slim Express 360
3x Slimming Power
JM Fat Reducer
Slim Fast*
5x Imelda Perfect Slimming
Lida DaiDaihua
Slim Tech
7 Day Herbal Slim
Slim Up
7 Days Diet
Slim Waist Formula
7 Diet
Miaozi MeiMaoQianZiJiaoNang
Slim Waistline
7 Diet Day/Night Formula
Miaozi Slim Capsules
8 Factor Diet
Natural Model
Eight Factor Diet
Perfect Slim
Slimming Formula
21 Double Slim
Perfect Slim 5x
24 Hours Diet
Perfect Slim Up
999 Fitness Essence
Phyto Shape
Super Fat Burner
Powerful Slim
Body Creator
ProSlim Plus
Super Slimming
Body Shaping
Reduce Weight
Trim 2 Plus
Body Slimming
Royal Slimming Formula
Triple Slim
Cosmo Slim
Sana Plus
Venom Hyperdrive 3.0
Extrim Plus
Slim 3 in 1
Waist Strength Formula
Extrim Plus 24 Hour Reburn
Slim 3 in 1 Extra Slim Formula
Fasting Diet
Slim 3 in 1 Extra Slim Waist Formula
Zhen de Shou

* This product should not be confused with the line of meal replacement and related products that are marketed as conventional foods under the brand name “Slim-Fast®”. The manufacturer of Slim-Fast®, Unilever United States, Inc., maintains that the Slim Fast product which appears on this list is not in any way associated with, sponsored or approved by, or otherwise related in any way to the Slim-Fast® brand of meal replacement and related products.

“These tainted weight loss products pose a great risk to public health because they contain undeclared ingredients and, in some cases, contain prescription drugs in amounts that greatly exceed maximum recommended dosages,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Consumers have no way of knowing that these products contain dangerous drugs that could cause serious consequences to their health.”

On Dec. 22, 2008, the FDA warned consumers not to purchase or consume 28 different products marketed for weight loss. On Jan. 8, 2009, the FDA expanded the list of tainted weight loss products to include 41 additional tainted products. The FDA will continue to update this list as warranted.

The products listed above, some of which are marketed as dietary supplements, are promoted and sold on various Web sites and in some retail stores and beauty salons. Some of the products claim to be “natural” or to contain only “herbal” ingredients, but actually contain potentially harmful ingredients not listed on the products' labels or in promotional advertisements. These products have not been approved by the FDA, are illegal, and include the following undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients:

* sibutramine (an appetite suppressant available by prescription only and a controlled substance)
* fenproporex – a controlled substance not approved for marketing in the United States;
* fluoxetine – an antidepressant available by prescription only;
* bumetanide – a potent diuretic available by prescription only;
* furosemide – a potent diuretic available by prescription only;
* rimonabant – a drug not approved for marketing in the United States;
* cetilistat – an experimental obesity drug not approved for marketing in the United States;
* phenytoin – an anti-seizure medication available by prescription only; and
* phenolphthalein – a solution used in chemical experiments and a suspected cancer-causing agent that is not approved for marketing in the United States.

The FDA has inspected a number of companies associated with the sale of these illegal products and is currently seeking product recalls. Based on the FDA’s inspections and the companies’ inadequate responses to recall requests, the FDA may take additional enforcement steps, such as issuing warning letters or initiating seizures, injunctions, or criminal charges.

The FDA advises consumers who have used any products containing these ingredients to stop taking them and consult their health care professional immediately. The FDA also encourages consumers to seek guidance from a health care professional before purchasing weight loss products.

The health risks posed by these products can be very serious and include high blood pressure, seizures, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), palpitations, heart attack, and stroke. Sibutramine, a controlled substance, was found in many of these products at levels much higher than the maximum daily dosage for Meridia, the only FDA-approved drug product containing sibutramine. These higher levels of sibutramine can increase the incidence and severity of these health risks. Fenproporex, another controlled substance, can cause arrhythmia and possible sudden death.

Health care professionals and consumers should report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax or phone.

* Online:

Information on these products for consumers and health care professionals can be found at:

To learn more about the FDA’s initiative against unapproved drugs see the FDA’s Compliance Policy Guide at:

For drug safety information, see: FDA's Drug Safety Initiative.

Chugging right along (not!)

I am really having a difficult time in maintaining my weight loss. I stopped going to my Weight Watchers meetings a few months ago because of the cost. I lost my lifetime status (they only allow you to gain 2 pounds to stay free) and I had other pressing issues for my money, like taking ukulele lessons and my son's therapy for his autism.

Not only did the WW meetings get cut, but going down to the salad bar and buying my lunch stopped. That five to seven bucks a day was a treat I could no longer afford, so I started taking frozen entrees to work most of the time. I do go out maybe once every week or two if I can find a two for one coupon and split the cost with a friend. Seven bucks for a salad is too much. I used to be able to get it for five dollars just a few short months ago. Food prices seem to be going through the roof, both for groceries and eating out.

I don't know what it is with salt, but now I seem to crave it constantly since I've been eating those high sodium TV dinners. Most of them have like 700 mg of sodium. I get home and want nuts or chips or some kind of salty munchie every day. I know that's not helping my weight situation any, but a stalk of celery has no appeal to me whatsoever.

You know, you would think that losing weight would be so cheap because you are eating less food, but it is one of the most expensive things I have come across in my life. The programs, the foods, health clubs and exercise equipment, and on it goes. Despite all the costs, it really only comes down to you making it happen. All diets work if you work them, but there is no magic bullet. You are the one who makes the choices. Nobody is stuffing food in your mouth. That is something we do to ourselves. We know how we are supposed to eat and that we need to exercise to lose weight. Knowing it and doing it are two different things altogether.

Time to get back to doing what we need to do to lose weight. Two pounds a week or bust.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

5 Ways to Cut Back on Saturated Fat

Here are some great tips from

The American Heart Association recommends that we limit saturated fat—to about 7% of calories. Here’s how to reduce sat fat in your diet:

1. Healthy Heart - Eating less saturated fat (from meats and high fat dairy foods) is a key step you can take to help lower blood cholesterol for heart health.

2. Sat Fat Sense - To reduce the saturated fat in your diet, think "liquid": use oils instead of solid fats like butter or shortening.

3. Focus on Fats - Canola, soybean and olive oils are good fats to use for stir-frying, cooking and some baking because they have less sat fat than many other options.

4. Up with Unsat Fat - Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats from olives, nuts and avocados may help lower blood cholesterol. But fats are high in calories so keep portions small.

5. Down-Size - Cut meat amounts in chilis and casseroles in half to cut down on saturated fat which can raise blood cholesterol. Add beans for extra protein and fiber instead. Or, go meatless a few times each week.