Are herbal diet pills a big fat con?

Slimming pills have an obvious appeal for anyone struggling to lose weight, offering a quick fix with no real hardship.

In the UK we spend £9 million a year on slimming aids, and the market is growing. Herbals diet pills have become increasingly popular, with their promise to help people lose weight 'naturally'.
But, doctors recently warned about the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter herbal remedies for treating illness and some experts are concerned about herbal diet pills, too.
'Some contain stimulants or appetite suppressants, which work on hormoneproducing organs such as the thyroid and hypothalamus, so you should always check with your GP before taking them,' explains Dr Damien Downing, medical director for the Alliance for Natural Health.

In 2005, Chinese herbalist Anna Yang, who had been practising in the UK since 1992, was fined £30,000 after prescribing pills containing fenfluramine hydrochloride. This substance is used to help patients feel fuller, but is potentially fatal, causing constriction of the arteries, high blood pressure, fatigue and shortness of breath. One patient, Paula Williams, was rushed to hospital after taking the pills.

Consumers should avoid taking pills available only online, as their pedigree is dubious at best, and may not comply with EU regulations, says Dr Downing.
But, do over-the-counter herbal diet pills work? We asked Lorraine McCreary, a registered NHS dietician who runs Dietscotland, a clinic specialising in weight loss and eating disorders, and Nargis Ara, a consultant pharmacist, to examine the ingredients to see if they could help you shift pounds more easily. We then rated them.

Source - Daily Mail