Several diet supplement pills on the market claim to be natural, herbal ways to lose weight. The term “herbal” triggers consumers into thinking natural extracts are a safe cure for disease including obesity. However, herbal treatments are not always safe, and in some cases, they are dangerous. Hydroxycut was advertised as a safe way to lose weight, but it was recalled by the Federal Drug Administration in May 2009.

The Main Ingredient in Hydroxycut Responsible for Weight Loss

The original, main fat burning ingredient in Hydroxycut was ephedra. After 2004, Hydroxycut re-released its product as ephedra-free. The diet supplement went through several formula changes since consumers claimed that the product did not work as well for weight loss. The latest main ingredients used by Hydroxycut are caffeine, green tea extract, and guarana. Green tea and guarana contain caffeine, so people trying to lose weight consumed high doses of caffeine. This led to severe adverse health conditions, and the subsequent FDA recall on the product.

Side Effects of Hydroxycut to Lose Weight

According to the FDA, there have been 23 reported cases of serious side effects from Hydroxycut use. Many patients report the first side effects after taking the drug are a rapid heartbeat and chest pains. The most serious side effect reported by the FDA is liver damage. Of the reported liver damage cases, there was one death from Hydroxycut intake. Liver damage signs include jaundice, fatigue and abdominal pain. Seizures and cases of rhabdomyolysis and cardiovascular damage were also reported. The FDA urges consumers to return the product, and to stop using Hydroxycut products.

Losing Weight the Healthy Way

The recall on Hydroxycut is another sign that there is no magic pill that or diet supplement that cures obesity. The best way to lose weight is to cut calories and change lifestyle habits. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, proteins and moderate carbohydrates balances nutrition and provides the body with energy for daily activity. Combine healthy eating with an exercise regimen and the body will lose weight in time. Any diet supplement that promises rapid weight loss should be avoided, and speak to a physician before purchasing any type of weight loss pill.

While the typical answer of “diet and exercise” may not be what patients want to hear, consuming diet supplement pills can lead to serious damage to the heart, kidneys or liver. Severe obesity can be treated using lap band surgery to help patients lose weight. Always speak to a physician before changing diet habits or using medication for weight loss.