My Experience With Simply Slim
I’m sure most of you have read the news about the diet pill, Simply Slim, being banned in South Africa. Simply Slim is touted as a natural, 100% herbal diet tablet which is sold though agents, who have very little or no medical background.
What peaked my interest in the product was that my daughter had started taking it to help her lose some of the weight she had gained during her pregnancy. Over a period of 4 weeks she lost 8 and a half kilos. This should have been red flag number one. A healthy weight loss, according to The Heart Foundation, is 1/2 to 1 kg a week, no more.
Because Simply Slim is marketed as a 100% herbal product, it falls under complimentary medicine status in South Africa.
Although there were some negative comments about the product on the web, most people were talking about how much weight they were losing in such short time periods. I decided that the best way to find out about it was to buy a pack from an agent and take the tablets myself, and then blog about my experience.
First of all, let me give you a basic rundown of my health. I don’t really have that much weight to lose. I’m in the healthy weight range, so I figured a maximum of 5 kilos would be fine – and good enough to don a bikini on a future holiday. I don’t have any major health problems, nor am I on any chronic medication. The only “problem” I do have, is low blood pressure – which doesn’t cause me any problem at all.
I found an agent for Simply Slim doing a promotion at the Eastgate shopping mall. I told her that I wanted to buy a pack because I wanted to lose some weight. She didn’t try and discourage me, which I thought she would, seeing as I’m not overweight – but then I’m no Victoria Beckham either. She asked me if I had any major health problems such as diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure – the usual major health risks – which I told her I don’t have. She asked me if I had any questions, to which I replied that I did have concerns about some of the negative comments I had seen on the internet. She assured me that the product was 100% natural and that the negativity was all nonsense and probably due to people buying “fake” Simply Slim products. She also told me that I should drink a lot of water, 3lt or more, and that the only side effect would be dry mouth. The reason for this, she said, was that one of the herbs that caused dry mouth was added to make people drink more water. I was told I could eat whatever I wanted and was not given any specific diet to follow. She said if I had any problems I was to contact her or use the contact information on the Simply Slim website.
There are 30 tablets in a box, packaged in 5 foil packets containing 6 tablets each. I decided to start taking the tablets on a weekend and took the first one on saturday morning. You take only one tablet a day and as early as possible. The first thing I noticed during the week I took the tablets was a very dry mouth, you become extremely thirsty. I also experienced a heaviness on my chest, as though a really large person was sitting on me. I also felt hot, dizzy, and my skin felt tight. My appetite disappeared. and I drank a lot of water, tea and coffee. My eyesight also seemed to get worse. The worst side effect by far was the insomnia. I could only manage 4 hours sleep a night, and I’m still having trouble sleeping.
Attempts to contact anyone via the Simply Slim website to discuss the side effects was impossible. Emails are ignored. The agents who sell the product, trot out the rehearsed nonsense about it being a ” fake” product that is causing the side effects; and they have no medical knowledge at all. If you insist that you are indeed taking the real thing, brought from them, they will tell you that it’s your body detoxing and that you should drink more water.
I had only taken 6 tablets out of the month’s supply when the story broke about the Medicines Control Council pulling Simply Slim off the market amid reports that the 100% natural herb tablet contained excessive amounts of sibutramine. It’s the sibutramine which is responsible for many of the side effects that people are complaining about.
Sibutramine is a schedule 5 drug in South Africa. It is used to treat obesity and the maximum daily dosage used is 15mg. Some Simply Slim tablets that were tested contained as much as 27mgs per tablet, almost double the daily dose.
As of today, the Simply Slim website has put up a page detailing the recall of their product, but don’t expect your money back. If you want a refund, you will have to show that your health has been adversely affected by the tablets, which means getting your doctor to supply a letter saying so.
I hope that this makes the Medicines Control Council take a tougher stance with regard to products that are labelled “natural” or “herbal” so that they can be classified as complimentary medicines in order to bypass the tougher restrictions required for regular scheduling.