Diet pills are becoming more and more common these days, and there always seems to be a new, “breakthrough formula” that promises fast, easy results. Diet pills are marketed to people who want quick weight loss, or are less willing to put in the effort when it comes to diet and exercise.
Our society has been taught that a pill will fix everything – from blood pressure and blood sugar, to mental health and to weight loss. Rather than try to achieve weight loss the old fashioned (and effective) way through a healthy diet and exercise, many people wish to simply take a pill and get results – fast! But do diet pills really work? And are they dangerous?
Many diet pills work using caffeine to speed up heart rate and metabolism. With a faster heart rate and metabolism, fat and calories are supposedly burned faster than they are without a caffeine supplement. While limited amounts of caffeine don’t necessarily pose a danger to a healthy adult, many diet pills have too much caffeine – and this can definitely be a problem for overweight or obese men and women.
Overweight or obese people tend to have health issues such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and other problems. Adding a high amount of caffeine to this and you’ve got trouble. Many people who take diet pills experience sweating, an increased heart rate (called tachycardia) and the jitters. This is not a signal that the diet pill is working – instead, it is a signal that your body isn’t handling it.
Diuretic Diet Pills
Some diet pills work in the form of a diuretic – a medication that helps the body to rid itself of excess water. A diuretic can only help you lose water weight, but for some people it can make quite a bit of difference in the physique. While diuretics may sound harmless – and sometimes can be beneficial when prescribed by a doctor – diuretics in the form of diet pills need to be approached with caution.
Excessive use of a diuretic can cause you to urinate out too many electrolytes and nutrients, and may also cause dehydration. Many people who take diuretic weight loss pills fail to take in enough liquids like water while they’re taking the pills, most likely because they view drinking water as adding to the “water weight” that they’re actively trying to get rid of through the pills. This can pose a serious hazard! It doesn’t take long to dehydrate!
Since diet pills aren’t as regulated as say, prescription drugs, manufacturers can slip all kinds of unknown ingredients into them. The FDA has found diet pills that contained many harmful substances like rimonabant (a drug not approved for use in the United States), phenolpthalein (a chemical suspected of being carcinogenic, or cancer-causing), and sibutramine (a prescription appetite suppressant).
Most of these chemicals were not present on the ingredients label of these diet pills and they can cause dangerous side effects like strokes, heart attacks and seizures.
Better Safe Than Sorry
While some diet pills claim to be “all natural” or harmless, there’s really no way of knowing. Even caffeine is a natural ingredient, but in large doses like with diet pills, it can be dangerous. Losing weight isn’t easy – it takes hard work and lots of determination. Changing the way you eat and getting into an exercise routine doesn’t happen overnight, and although you may be tempted to take diet pills to get quick weight loss, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.
When considering whether to take diet pills or not, ask yourself if it’s really worth it! Is it really worth possible side effects? Even if you’ve had friends who have taken the pill successfully, everybody is different. Everyone is going to react differently to the chemicals and substances within each different supplement. You have no idea how your body is going to react to it until you take it – and when it comes to diet pills, the trial-and-error method isn’t at all efficient.
Don’t take risks with your health just to lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, your weight loss journey should be thoroughly discussed with and monitored by your doctor – he or she can give you the best plan possible for you and your body. If you have just a few pounds to lose and want to do it quickly, avoid dangerous diet pills and radical eating or exercise plans. Looking good isn’t worth doing damage to your body and compromising your health!
A well rounded eating plan and regular exercise is the safest, most effective way to lose weight. It may not happen right away, but losing weight isn’t about dropping pounds quickly, no matter what you may think. Losing weight is about changing your lifestyle for good and that takes time!