Professor Stephen Powis urged people too avoid quick fix solutions to help them get fit and lose weight in 2020, warning some are “too good to be true”.
As medical director of NHS England, he said it was right for people to try and get fitter and healthier but that many high street fads were harmful or, at best, ineffective. NHS England says diet pills, detox teas, and appetite suppressants are all best avoided.
Products claiming to help people lose weight quickly while reducing appetite and fatigue can have damaging side effects including diarrhoea, heart problems and even cause unplanned pregnancies by interfering with oral contraception, the NHS said.
Prof Powis said: “It’s always a good time to try to get in shape, and new year’s resolutions are a great time to make a change, but the reality is there’s a slim chance of success with diet pills and detox teas – and people could end up doing more harm than good.
“Making new year goals and shifting a few excess pounds after Christmas can be a good idea but is much easier to maintain when done gradually and safely.”
Earlier this year Scotland’s food standards watchdog issued a warning about the use of diet pills after the deaths of 26 people were linked to the use of DNP, also known as 2,4-dinitrophenol, which is sold illegally online as a fat burning food supplement.
Social media firms including Instagram and Facebook have restricted endorsements of risky products including so-called get-fit-quick endorsements by celebrity accounts after concerns they were influencing young people.,
NHS England has issued its own practical tips to helping people keep to their new year resolutions.