Diet pills are not all safe…

18 02 2009

The Food and Drug Administration has discovered that many weight-loss / diet pills, many imported from China, are laced with drugs that may be potentially harmful. One such weight-loss pill, StarCaps, is promoted as an “all natural” diet pill that has papaya to help you lose weight. However, the FDA found that these pills also contain bumetanide, a powerful and potentially harmful pharmaceutical drug that can have severe side effects, which is also a violation of the law. Michael Levy, the director of the FDA’s division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance said:

“A large percentage of these products either contain dangerous undeclared ingredients or they might be outright fraudulent on the ingredients and have no effect at all. We don’t think consumers should be using these products.”

Many other experts say that even diet pills that are not secretly spiked with potentially harmful pharmaceutical drugs
can still be dangerous or detrimental to one’s health. Diet pills like StarCaps have gained a large following as a result of celebrity endorsements and advertisements in popular magazines like People.

An advertisement for StarCaps featuring the company's founder, Nikki Haskell.

An advertisement for StarCaps featuring the company's founder, Nikki Haskell.

Bumetanide is one of the banned substances by the National Football League, and NFL players who have used StarCaps and then failed drug tests, are suing Haskell, who claimed to not have known that bumetanide was in the pills. She “‘was completely devastated and remain devastated'” upon discovering this.

We need to look at this problem of unsafe diet pills (laced or not laced with harmful drugs) within a larger context. Diet pills have become increasingly popular because of society’s elevated ideal of thinness and the public’s obsession with celebrities (and when celebrities endorse diet pills, their fans who want to try to look more like them will go out and get those pills). In a culture that shoves thinness in your face any time, anywhere you go, it’s sad but not surprising that diet pills have become so popular. It’s even sadder that many individuals who consume these pills get more than they bargained for and end up facing potentially serious health consequences.


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