Diet and exercise alone does not always give you the results you wanted. With that, comes the pharmaceutical industries and their variety of diet pills promising positive results. Diet pills are drugs designed for weight loss. They work either by decreasing one’s appetite, increasing the body’s metabolism and/or interfering with nutrient absorption which makes the process of losing weight less exhausting. However, just like there are two sides in a coin, these diet pills are not always as promising as they seem. There are pros and cons you need to thoroughly consider before using any of these supplements and of course, you need to seek first the advice of a doctor to avoid complications or adverse events.
How Do Diet Pills Work?
Most prescription weight loss drugs work by acting as appetite suppressants which results to you having a lower food consumption hence the dramatic weight loss. Another way these drugs work is through increasing the body’s metabolism. A fast metabolism would mean that your body will be able to burn those calories in a faster rate, meaning less time for you in the gym! Also, many of these diet pills operate through interfering with your body’s ability in absorbing certain nutrients. Some drugs work by blocking fat breakdown thus preventing fat absorption while others are known to lower caloric absorption.
Diet Pills: The Pros
You know that frustration you get when you just have to eat something like a pizza or ice cream (the calories they have!) in the middle of the night? Well, you can now bid those random cravings goodbye with diet pills containing appetite-suppressing ingredients such as the South African herbal extract Hoodia which contain the compound hoodia that is known to elicit a slight decrease in food intake (Heerden et al, 2007). With a suppressed appetite, there is no more room for unnecessary calories in your body.
Some diet pills claim to aid in increasing the metabolism of the body which helps you to lose fat sooner than later. This way, you get to cut down a few minutes in the treadmill.
Water weight is commonly not a cause of concern, however, sometimes it gets a little uncomfortable and adds puffiness in the body. One way the body stores extra water is by eating a lot of carbohydrates. Each gram of glycogen (stored glucose) comes with 3 g of water. Diet pills also claim to help in reducing water weight in the body through increased urination.
Lipogenesis is the metabolic formation of fat. Aside from their fat-burning mechanism, certain products claim to help in preventing the formation of new fats in the body. However, not all but only certain kinds of diet pills provide this benefit.
Increase in Resting Metabolic Rate
You may think you’re not doing enough exercises since you haven’t cut down that extra pound, however, even when you’re asleep, your body is still at work performing all sorts of basic brain and body functions. This is called the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) which is the rate at which your body burns energy when it is at complete rest. Some diet supplements help in promoting increased resting metabolic rate or energy expenditure.
Diet Pills: The Cons
Using diet pills is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It is possible that the disadvantages could outweigh the promised benefits. A lot of these pills have already been banned and some were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration due to its harmful side effects. Some of the common side effects include:
Lack of Safety Regulation
Not all dietary pills and supplements undergo the regulatory process of the FDA. In fact, a lot of these over-the-counter diet pills fall under the FDA standards and are still able to hit the market. When issues of possible health threats occur, only then will the FDA issue a ban or recall of the said products.
Increased heart rate, high blood pressure, stroke
Some dietary products contain the substance Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant known to cause increased risk of heart attack and stroke. For the past years the FDA had already banned sibutramine-containing diet pills, however, some of the products in the market falsely claim to have no sibutramine in their ingredients and still have tested positive for it. If you plan on taking pills, always have a second look at the label and see if it is FDA approved. If you’re already a consumer and feel as if you have these symptoms, you might want to see a doctor immediately.
One harmful ingredient in some diet pills is Rimonabant, an anorectic antiobesity drug. This was first approved in Europe in 2006 but was later on withdrawn worldwide in 2008 for its psychiatric side effects.
Certain diet pills can cause diarrhea especially when you are extra sensitive to some of its ingredients or its formula. Dietary pills have stimulants such as caffeine which can stimulate and disrupt the rate at which your body processes foods.
People taking diet pills are usually those who need or want to control or lose their excess weight. All the food you eat plus the supplements you take may be too much work for your kidneys which can eventually lead to kidney damage.
Symptoms usually include itching, dark urine, or light-colored stools.
Lack of effectiveness
Many makers of diet pills have failed to provide evidence of the effectiveness of their products. According to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, there is insufficient evidence to prove the effectiveness of common weight-loss pills.
Taking diet pills should not be your primary option. Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your body figure, the best and safest way to do this is by living a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise. If, however, you still want to try those dietary pills in the market, make sure to seek first the advice of a medical doctor, have yourself checked for possible complications and remember to never depend your desired results to these drugs. Being healthy and fit is a way of life and cannot be achieved by a pop of that little pill.