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Eating Recovery Center In The News: Examiner.com

Chief Marketing Officer Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS is the National Eating Disorders Examiner. Read an exceprt from her blog on the connection between weight loss supplements and the development of disordered eating behaviors, or to read it in its entirety, click here. Do weight loss supplements trigger eating disorders? With spring breaks fast approaching, followed swiftly by summertime and swimsuit season, many Americans are turning an eye toward losing weight, and they want to drop the pounds quickly. Often used as an alternative to adopting healthy eating habits and engaging in regular exercise, weight loss supplements, including diet pills, are widely consumed by men, women and teens looking to achieve quick weight loss. These supplements are available for purchase seemingly everywhere – at grocery stores, at drugstores, over the Internet, even at some gas stations – and the hundreds of products available are heavily advertised, with each touting swift, significant weight loss. Sometimes, our favorite celebrities endorse these products, encouraging the average Joe and Jane to simply take the pills, drink the shakes or eat the meals to achieve their same coveted physique. Despite the small, inconspicuous text at the bottom of virtually every ad explaining that the weight loss results depicted are not typical, or the many Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings that have been issued to consumers about the health dangers of weight loss supplements, people are still buying these products. In fact, they are buying a lot of them; it is estimated that Americans spend $20 billion each year on diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.[1] While most users of weight loss supplements find themselves disappointed in the results, there are far more serious consequences of using these products. Side effects are abundant, ranging from temporary headaches and nausea to permanent organ and nervous system damage. In extreme cases, users of weight loss supplements actually die following use of the product. Further contributing to the dangers of using weight loss supplements and diet pills is the connection between using these products and the development of disordered eating behaviors. In fact, a 2008 study found that 42 percent of individuals diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa had admitted to using diet pills for weight loss.[2] The likelihood of developing an eating disorder following the use – or abuse – of weight loss supplements is greatest among individuals with a family history of eating disorders. Recent research suggests that the risk of developing an eating disorder is 50-80 percent determined by genetics.[3] Men, women and children with a genetic predisposition who use weight loss supplements may be far more susceptible to developing eating disorders than those without a family history of disordered eating.

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