SINGAPORE: In a Facebook post on Saturday (Oct 28), Madam Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, warned against the use of supplements to lose weight, posting a link to an article from United States-based health website WebMD and writing that there is  “no clear evidence of effectiveness for most of the supplements. Conversely, there can be a lot of harm.”

Mdm Ho gave the example of caffeine, a natural chemical found in coffee, tea, cocoa, and other sources. She wrote that while “caffeine can raise metabolic rate, and can theoretically help burn up fat faster,” an overdose of the substance can bring about a number of side effects and health risks, such as a higher risk for hypertension, heart or stroke. Moreover, there are also supplements may even result in fatality, she warned.

“The Office of Dietary Supplements under the National Institute of Health in the USA has the latest summary of research and risks associated with the various supplement ingredients that are commonly sold as weight loss, fat reduction, appetite blocker, and other processes for helping to reduce weight.”

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Read also: Ho Ching praises durian: “Highly nutritious and energy dense”

She advised that it would be good to check medical websites for more information before taking weight loss supplements that are available and that it would be equally important to talk to one’s physician even before starting a weight loss programme.

“There is one caveat though – just as there are fake studies promoting this or that supplements, there are also quack doctors or unscrupulous doctors who may be promoting certain supplements to earn money,” added Mdm Ho, underlining that it is always better to double check even reputable sources, and/or to get a second or third opinion from a medical professional before going for a weight loss supplement that purports to have no harmful effects.

She ended her post by writing, “We should be aware that supplements are not regulated products in most markets. Hence, there is no guarantee that their ingredients do not include harmful substances. There is no shortcut to a healthy well balanced diet and regular exercise,” and advising people, to not “fret over appearances”

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This is not the first time in recent weeks that Mdm Ho has written about health issues, extolling the virtues of the King of Fruits, the durian.

Calling the spiky, aromatic fruit “highly nutritious and energy dense,” she noted that “All in, durians are a good way to counter the typical loss of nutrients in the simplified diets of the elderly who may find chewing of food difficult, and so gradually lose interest in eating.” /TISG