Herbal weight-loss products: how informed are we?
Keywords: herbal weight-loss products, knowledge, efficacy, health care professionals, dieticians, pharmacists
AbstractObjective: Non-prescription, weight-loss products are advertised as quick-solution alternatives to long-term lifestyle changes. Design: Cross-sectional descriptive. Setting: Free State province. Subjects: Fifty-six dietitians registered to the Free State branch of the Association of Dietetics in South Africa, excluding lecturers and students, and 88 pharmacists working in the Bloemfontein area. Outcome measures: Structured telephonic interviews were conducted with 25 dietitians and 46 pharmacists to ascertain whether or not they had heard of the individual ingredients listed in non-prescription, weight-loss products and if they knew if each of these ingredients were scientifically proven to induce weight loss. Results: Most dietitians and pharmacists reported that they had heard of green tea extract (92% and 89%), chromium picolinate (76% and 59%), apple cider vinegar (100% and 96%), lemon juice (100% and 87%) and alcohol (100% and 91%), respectively, being ingredients in weight-loss products. More dietitians and pharmacists reported that, to their knowledge, green tea extract (52% vs. 26%), chromium picolinate (52% vs. 15%), apple cider vinegar (64% vs. 33%), lemon juice (80% vs. 64%) and alcohol (76% vs. 61%), were not scientifically proven to be effective in attaining weight loss. Both groups included a percentage who were not familiar with the ingredients, or who thought that these ingredients had been demonstrated to be effective, despite no conclusive evidence existing in the literature. Conclusion: Healthcare professionals need to actively educate themselves about non-prescription weight-loss products in order to guide the public and reduce consumer confusion.
How to Cite
van den Berg, L., & Walsh, C. (2013). Herbal weight-loss products: how informed are we?. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 26(2), 91-93. Retrieved from http://sajcn.co.za/index.php/SAJCN/article/view/696
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