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Article by Corinne Kepler

Deciphering a diet pill label

Updated on 4 November 2023.

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Decrypting a diet pill labelAre you looking for a slimming product that can help you shed those extra pounds fast enough? The market is full of pills, drinkable solutions and other products to help you in your quest for weight loss, so how can you make sure you’re making the right choice? And most importantly, do you know how to decipher a weight-loss pill label?

Knowing how to decipher the label on the packaging of your weight-loss pill will reveal information vital to the success of your diet.

So don’t be like the 33% of French people who never read package inserts, and set off armed for safe and successful weight loss!

What’s the point of deciphering a diet pill label?

The weight-loss pill label (or instructions for use, label, etc.) is a reference document that reflects the medical experts’ assessment of the product. It contains essential information about the product, such as its composition, dosage and side effects, and enables you to use the slimming pill of your choice wisely, avoiding errors and optimizing its effectiveness.

So, to make sure you lose weight safely and effectively, we strongly recommend that you read your slimming product’s instructions carefully!

What’s the most important information to find on a slimming pill label?

femme-mangeant-une-pilule-minceur-apres-avoir-dercypter-une-etiquette-d-une-pilule-pour-maigrirIn 2014, European legislation ruled on the labeling of products falling into the category of food supplements. As a result, we now know the information that must obligatorily appear on any weight-loss pill or diet supplement label.
1. Food supplement :
This term must appear on the packaging, along with the names of the nutrient families used. For example: vitamins and/or minerals.
2. Dosage:
Each product is effective for a certain dose, but can become potentially harmful if this is exceeded, or ineffective if this is reduced.

The dosage, which appears on both the packaging and the instructions for use, tells you the dose that will make your slimming pill the best ally for your weight loss. Respecting this optimal dose will maximize your chances of success, while guaranteeing your health throughout your diet. It should be accompanied by instructions for use and warnings (where applicable), such as the maximum dose not to be exceeded.

It also tells you the best time to take your product (before/during/after a meal; on an empty stomach…) to facilitate its release into the body, or limit its side effects. Optimal efficacy also depends on compliance with these instructions.
3. Composition :
This section is essential, as it tells you about the various active ingredients and excipients present in your pill.
The active ingredient(s) is (are) the essential substance(s) that will ensure the effectiveness of your pill.
These substances must be clearly indicated in the product composition section, under their scientific name, and clearly displayed on the diet pill label.
Excipients are the other substances used in the composition of the product.
They include consistency and taste enhancers.
Ingredients should be listed in descending order, with the most abundant first.
Substances that may cause allergies must be clearly indicated.
4. Best-before date:
As well as the information required for proper storage of the product.

The presence of potentially allergenic substances.

The different pictograms and their meanings

The pictograms on your slimming product’s packaging and leaflet are a valuable source of information! They alert you to certain possible risks, but also to the best storage conditions for your product, or to risks such as photosensitization, useful in the case of slimming cream, for example.

Here are the main symbols and pictograms to look out for on your product’s packaging. These little drawings will help you decipher a weight-loss pill label.
But that’s not all! Certain information is compulsory on the packaging and instructions for use, and its absence, or even oddities, will set off alarm bells!

Mandatory information

This information must appear on the packaging and instructions for use of your slimming product. If it’s missing, be on the lookout! Make sure you do your research before you start your slimming cure!

  • Brand or trade name ;
  • Name of active substance and excipients;
  • Laboratory name and address ;
  • Galenic form (physical form of the product: tablets, gel, sachets, etc.) ;
  • Expiration date ;
  • Storage conditions;
  • Statement to the effect that the product should not be substituted for a varied diet.

Despite all these precautions and legal obligations, many unscrupulous manufacturers continue to pass on false or even misleading information to consumers. Be very vigilant!

To find out more, here’s the text of the European Parliament and Council Directive determining the labelling of foodstuffs (Source: Official Journal of the European Communities. 6.5.2000. L109/29-42).

Beware of counterfeit products!

According to a recent study, slimming pills, gels, sachets and other food supplements top the list of counterfeit products. To make sure you don’t fall into the trap and spend your money on a product that is at best ineffective, at worst potentially harmful to your health, a few simple rules can help.

  • MONITOR LOGOS: Imitation logos may be easy to do, but they can be very telling! A color, writing or shape slightly different from that of the original packaging should alert you.
  • A package with a slightly modified appearance, like those diet pills whose BLISTER is barely damaged. What about the product’s shelf life, if indeed the tablets are what they claim to be!


  • REGULATORY SIGNS grossly mishandled, like this upside-down molded triangle that says enough about the manufacturer!


  • And of course, if the NOTICE of your slimming product is full of gross spelling mistakes, it’s best to return your product without delay!

Deciphering a diet pill label is something every informed person should know. With this information, you’ll be able to choose your slimming product in complete safety.

Know how to carry out informed and enlightened research on the different slimming supplements that interest you. Be vigilant, relying on product tests from non-commercial/independent sites to make sure you’re buying with confidence.

Although natural dietary supplements for weight loss do not require a prescription, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor if you have the slightest doubt about a component, side effect or dosage.

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