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Do Acai Detox Xtreme Diet Pills Work?
There's been a lot of buzz around the antioxidant powers of acai berry supplements over the last few years. Riding the publicity wave, suddenly advertisements for acai pills are cropping up everywhere... too many different companies to count.

Acai Detox Xtreme is a weight loss product that's garnering special attention these days. But does Detox Xtreme work? Will it burn fat quickly and give you the six-pack abs you see in the "after" photos on all those sales pages?

What is Acai Anyway?
What is commonly called the "acai berry" is the fruit of the acai palm, a palm tree native to Central and South America. It contains high levels of antioxidants, which are important to disease prevention and treatment in the human body. Recently, there's been a sudden explosion in the popularity of this particular source of antioxidants, with claims that acai berry can improve digestion, sleep, heart health, skin, and sexual performance -- and help you lose weight and build muscle, faster than you could possibly do on your own. In our diet-obsessed culture, it's no surprise that the last of these is the one most people care about, and the one that gets the most attention in advertising for acai products.

Acai And Weight Loss
The buzz over acai seems to have started when Oprah's Dr. Oz mentioned it's antioxidant benefits on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He said nothing about weight loss, but just as in the case of Oprah's one comment about drinking tea in the evenings spawned the wuyi tea frenzy, diet marketers jumped on the statement and took it out of context to apply it to their own product.

The Oprah Show's lawyers are looking into alleged statements made by supplement companies that imply Dr. Oz recommended acai for weight loss, or their product specifically. Dr. Oz himself, in an interview with ABC news, corrected the idea that he was specially endorsing acai: "Acai seems to be as good as any other [good food], not better," he said. "Another example of a wonderful food."

There are currently no controlled studies connecting acai supplements to any of the purported benefits that brands like Acai Detox Xtreme claim. The FDA has not evaluated any of the products for safety or efficacy. Basically, right now it's a free-for-all. A closer look at any one of the websites selling acai weight loss products demonstrates this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Acai Detox Xtreme: A Case Study
There are countless examples out there, but one highly popular site marketing AcaiDetox Xtreme and AcaiBurn Xtreme is "Pete Gets Ripped." This site is nothing more than an affiliate page in (a very thin) disguise. The internet is full of these sites--pages that individual people set up to direct customers to a company, for a portion of the sales. Obviously, if you're trying to make money from something, it makes sense to speak highly of it. This means you have to take the site with a grain of salt right off the bat. Not to mention the red flag that should go off in your head when you see before and after photos where the heads are cut off or faces blurred out.

Once you get past the "Pete's 300 - The Workout" hype and actually click on one of his links to order, you are directed to the main sales page.

Diet Scam Marketing 101
First, there are bullet points containing general statements with no real facts to back them up. Then, a series of quotes from various reputable sources (talk shows, news sources, etc) taken out of context. A few photos of celebrities, which cleverly implies in the buyer's mind that these people endorse the products, without stating so explicitly. A paid testimonial or two. And all over, links to buy now, "before supplies run out" or "before this offer expires," neither of which ever actually happens.

At this point, there's nowhere to go, except to order. No ingredients or nutrition info. No warnings or side effects listed. This is the beauty of the lack of FDA regulation -- for the company, that is. For you, it should be a huge warning. There is no guarantee as to what this product actually is, or what it will actually do. Skimming through the Terms and Conditions, I found, along with the standard statements regarding consulting your doctor before beginning this or any diet, and that the product does not diagnose or treat any condition, this little gem:

"We do not warrant or represent that Our Products will provide You with any particular benefits, or that Your results will match those of others who consume Our Products. Individual results will vary from person to person."

There you have it. They state countless benefits of acai as fact on the sales page, and hide in their disclaimer that they do not actually claim their product will do anything. Purportedly, you can send the unused portion of your product back after 15 days, but you need to jump through a few hoops to do so (calling the company to get a return number... at a number not listed anywhere on the website, only in the Terms and Conditions). Simply returning the package will not stop the recurring charges on your credit card, which kick in after your two-week "free trial" is up.

So, Does Acai Work for Weight Loss?
The real answer is: who knows. With no scientific studies and no evaluation by the FDA, all we have is anecdotal evidence--which may or may not be made up on the spot to make some money.

And even if pure acai berry does burn fat, the products you can get on the internet like Detox Xtreme and Burn Extreme probably don't contain very much acai at all. A study that compared several commercially-available acai juice drinks to other beverages found that they all contained less antioxidants than pomegranate juice, grape juice, blueberry juice, and red wine, which suggests that acai products are probably mostly made up of fillers.

Online Diet Pills Laced With Deadly Drug
A major warning about diet pills: massive shipments of pills laced with a controlled substance have arrived in Chicago. As CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini reports the ingredients can kill.

Diet pills shipped in boxes, bottles and even bags have been secretly loaded with a drug that could kill you.

"This is a very illegal and very dangerous situation," said Dawn Jackson Blatner of American Dietetic Association.

The 2 Investigators have learned at least 70 different herbal products have been tainted with an amphetamine-like substance called sibutramine, and are now being sold via the Internet.

"Everyone should be alarmed at this story," said Blatner.

These tainted products are coming from China and flooding the U.S. market, with catchy names like Easy-Figure, the 2 and 3 Day Diet, the 7 Days Herbal Slim and Magic Slim.

The pills can have dangerously high levels of sibutramine, and officials from The American Dietetic Association say very few people know that the side effects can be deadly.

"It can cause increased blood pressure, it can cause things as serious as stroke and heart attacks," said Blatner.

Federal authorities say they've seized millions of the diet pills and supplements since September of 2009.

One box was headed to a man in Plainfield, Ill.; another bigger box to a woman in Lyons, Ill.; and a box of green coffee laced with a controlled substance was headed to a man on the West Side of Chicago.

"The unknowing consumer orders this online, buys it, takes it, and there's narcotics in there that can harm them," said Brian Bell of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Border Protection agents have seized three million capsules in Chicago alone.

Some of the pills come with labels saying it's all natural.

Other pills are shipped in bulk and have blank labels so that the local buyer can create their own and re-sell them; again without disclosing what's really in the pills.

One alleged kingpin in the operation was busted by the Feds in March, but there are an unknown number of other operators.

"It's a very good thing that this story is being done because there's a lot people being affected," Blatner said.

Another warning: these Chinese operators set up websites claiming to be Canadian pharmacies.

The Feds got involved and started testing these pills after a customer got seriously ill.

Off-camera, CBS 2 talked to people who had ordered the pills, and they say they had no idea they contained sibutramine.

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