Fending Off the Post-Holiday Diet Marketing Machine, One FDA Warning at a Time

By Rachel Walden — December 30, 2008

Dear readers, I am home, taking a bit of a vacation with a stack of library books. I have also been watching an unseemly amount of television. As a result, I’ve noticed that post-holiday weight-loss advertising is in full swing, primarily featuring and targeting women with commercials for “improving” your abs, mail-order diet food, and other products you don’t need.

This is the usual follow-up to the pre-holiday news about avoiding overeating — now they assume you ignored all of that annual advice, something is wrong with you, and buying stuff will fix that. Harumph.

Yesterday morning, a more specific warning against this post-holiday marketing came in the form of a post from The F-Word that alerts us to an FDA warning about a number of “weight loss” pills.

According to the agency:

An FDA analysis found that the undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients in some of these products include sibutramine (a controlled substance), rimonabant (a drug not approved for marketing in the United States), phenytoin (an anti-seizure medication), and phenolphthalein (a solution used in chemical experiments and a suspected cancer causing agent). Some of the amounts of active pharmaceutical ingredients far exceeded the FDA-recommended levels, putting consumers’ health at risk.

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