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Steer clear of weight-loss scams

Get-slim-quick schemes can be tempting. But pills, teas and herbal supplements that promise to help you lose weight quickly or melt fat in certain parts of your body don't work, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"These products can be dangerous," says Wendy Walker, MPH, R.D., L.D., CNSC, Lake Regional Clinical Nutrition assistant manager. "Harmful side effects might include an increased heart rate or blood pressure, stroke, seizure, or even death."

Fad diets aren't much better. Plans that make you eat the same foods over and over again (grapefruit or cabbage soup, anyone?), avoid entire food groups or drastically cut your calories might work for a little while. But you can't do them forever. And rapid weight loss can lead to health problems like gallstones.

Losing weight the healthy way

You should aim to lose one to two pounds per week by doing things you can stick with in the long run. That means eating right, keeping your portions in check and being more physically active.

"If your weight loss stalls, talk with your doctor," Walker says. "Ask for healthy resources — like a dietitian or a proven weight-loss program — to get you on track."

Additional sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Heart Association; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease

Yes, you can

Give yourself a fighting chance in the weight-loss battle. Get support at our weight management class and follow-up support group, led by Wendy Walker. See dates at

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