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Q&A: Is Hydroxycut safe and effective?

Consumer Reports News: March 27, 2009 11:15 AM

I keep seeing ads on TV for a weight-loss product called Hydroxycut. is it safe and effective? T.D., Frazee, Minn.

Probably not. The pills contain several ingredients that may harm the liver, notably garcinia cambogia, a fruit extract. At least seven published reports have documented liver or kidney damage in otherwise healthy people taking Hydroxycut. And the high doses of caffeine in most formulations of Hydroxycut can disturb heart rhythms. Two small, industry-funded trials found that overweight adults who took garcinia cambogia for two months lost significantly more weight than a placebo group. But a larger study of the same ingredient found no benefit.

In general, you should avoid supplements marketed for weight loss. There’s scant evidence that they work and even less that they’re safe. And many brands, though not Hydroxycut, have been found to be tainted with potentially dangerous prescription weight-loss drugs.

See our recent coverage of the weight-loss supplements on the FDA's warning list, and read more on risky pills you should avoid.

   

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