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'Jersey Shore' Star Snooki Pushes Zantrex-3 Diet Pill, Docs Disapprove

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Jersey Shore's infamous pint-sized guidette is hailing Zantrex-3 diet pills as the secret to her recent slim down -- a promo that diet docs are calling "outrageous" and potentially dangerous.

Between season three and the most recent season of Jersey Shore in Italy, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi dropped 17 pounds from her 4'9" frame.  Though her Twitter feed at first suggested that she was doing it the old fashioned way, with daily tweets referencing her gym routine, cutting back on food and alcohol and drinking more water, the reality show celeb announced recently in a YouTube promo of the over-the-counter drug that she also had the help of twice daily Zantrex-3 diet pills before she exercises to give her "energy to work out."

Zantrex-3 is an amphetamine-free diet drug that consists of a number of herbs such as yerba mate, green tea, guarana, and just plain old caffeine.  The overall effect of the drug seems to be the caffeine, and the drug safety information warns against combining the pills with other "caffeine-containing medications, foods or beverages because too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness and occasionally, rapid heartbeat."

Snooki-geared promotion on Zantrex-3's website notes that she's slated to be the national spokesperson for Zantrex's "extreme energy" pill, Zantrex-3 Fat Burner.

Calls for comment made to Zoller Laboratories -- the makers of Zantrex-3 --  were not immediately returned.

Diet experts are non-too-pleased over this recent form of celebrity diet pill promotion, especially since Snooki is advocating using this caffeine-containing pill right before rigorous exercise.

"This is outrageous.  It's a perfect example of bad endorsement.  It's a quick fix, potentially a dangerous one, and celebs may have a high profile, but they're often not very credible sources," says Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Considering Zantrex-3 is known to raise heart rate in some cases, Dr. Carl Lavie, Director of the Stress Testing Lab at John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute notes that exercising on this pill could be bad for the heart.

"For young, healthy people, a small to modest dose of caffeine should not be very risky, but even in young people, but more so in older with underlying heart disease, high doses of caffeine can cause a number of bad heart rhythm," he says.

Doctors' fears concerning Zantrex-3 also centered on the fact that the drug is over-the-counter and billed as a "supplement," which means it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

"The primary issue here is that the potential consequences of taking these OTC concoctions is a complete unknown since they are not tested for safety, efficacy or even to ensure they contain what they say they do in the amounts on the label," says Martin Binks, Clinical Director and CEO of Binks Behavioral Health PLLC.

This means that the amount of caffeine or other substances in the Zantrex pill could vary from pill to pill, bottle to bottle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio