It may sound good – bee pollen, green tea, all natural ingredients, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers that Fat Zero is anything but natural. Consumers are being warned not to purchase Fat Zero for weight loss or any other reason. It is sold on various websites and in some health food stores. The unnatural ingredient is called sibutramine which is a controlled substance. The FDA actually removed it from the market almost two years ago because of its suspected link to a rise in blood pressure, coronary incidents, stroke or arrhythmias.

Courtesy of the CDC

Exercise and a healthy diet is still the safest way to lose weight.

What is also not known is how sibutramine may interact with other drugs. Sibutramine is a controlled substance and according to the FDA it was removed for safety reasons in October 2010. It works on brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine and while it is not understood how it inhibits appetite, in some individuals it can actually increase appetite.

The other unnatural ingredient found in Fat Zero is phenolphthalein. The FDA recognizes that this ingredient “is not generally recognized as safe and effective.” In fact it was found in some over-the-counter laxatives until 1999 when it was suspected of a link to cancer.

This is not the only diet product that claims to be all natural with these ingredients. Fruit & Plant Slimming also contains sibutramine and phenolphtralein, reports NBC News. Sibutramine is in Extreme Body Slim.

Consumers should understand that “natural” is a marketing term only, used to market a variety of products including those for sexual enhancement. Dragon Herbal Tonic Balls, for example, contains the active ingredient in the prescription erectile drug Levitra. The FDA cautions consumers and says they should throw away these products and not consume them.

While most Americans assume the FDA is watching out when it comes to consumer products that is not true when it comes to most supplements. Generally, it is up to the industry to police itself because the agency cannot test all products that are on the market because of the cost.

Instead it issues enforcement actions that consumers are not likely to see unless the media picks up on them and they only cover a small percentage of the tainted products on the market. It is truly a “Buyer Beware” climate and consumers are advised to do their own homework about active ingredients and not just fall prey to marketing promises.