What Are We Really Getting From Diet Pills?
These days, there are more diet pills and anti-obesity medications on the market than ever before. While some have actually been shown to help with weight loss, most of them don’t work effectively or have serious side effects that out weight their benefits. We’re seeing more and more health experts speaking out against their use, which brings up an important question: What are we really getting from diet pills? Is it worth the risk? Does it provide us with the results we’re looking for? Or are we just putting our health at risk in order to lose weight?
Advertisers promise weight loss miracles
Companies that sell diet pills, books, and programs frequently run TV ads full of testimonials from overweight people who have lost their extra pounds thanks to miracle pills. But if you really look at those advertisements and take a closer look at the before-and-after pictures, what you will find is that weight loss doesn’t happen overnight; real fat loss takes time. Diet pills can help make it easier for some people to lose weight—and I’m not saying they are bad or should be avoided by anyone—but don’t expect miracles; a magic pill that lets you shed pounds over night just doesn’t exist.
But what are we getting from diet pills?
According to Dr. David Heber, a professor of medicine at UCLA and a leading expert on anti-obesity medication, not much. [Diet pills] really don’t produce any weight loss in most people, he says. They produce modest weight loss—about 5 percent—and it doesn’t last. According to Dr. Heber, for diet pills to be an effective way to lose weight, they would have to increase energy expenditure (i.e., burn more calories) or decrease calorie intake or both, but none of them actually do that.
The truth about weight loss supplements
In short, it’s difficult to make blanket statements about supplements. The weight loss supplement market is unregulated, so it’s hard to know what you’re getting and whether or not those ingredients are linked to side effects (they can be). As with any medication, if you experience negative effects from a weight loss supplement, stop taking it immediately and consult your doctor for advice. Anti-obesity medication: Anti-obesity medications are a type of prescription drug used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes as part of an ongoing treatment plan for obesity. They work by suppressing appetite, reducing food intake, and/or altering metabolism. Common anti-obesity drugs include phentermine, sibutramine, orlistat (Xenical), lorcaserin (Belviq), topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone/bupropion combination (Contrave), liraglutide injection (Saxenda), and liraglutide nasal spray (Saxenda). All these drugs have been approved by FDA except Xenical which has been banned by FDA because of its hepatotoxicity risk. Phentermine is also banned in Canada due to its potential for abuse but is available on black market without a prescription.
A better approach to losing weight
There is no shortcut to losing weight. If a pill or supplement promises such a thing, walk away. While some anti-obesity medications do actually work, they aren’t designed for long-term use. Instead of focusing on fast weight loss, focus on longer-term healthy eating and physical activity habits that you can stick with for life—this will have a much more positive effect on your health overall. It’s better to lose a few pounds at a time over several months than all at once in a week. That way, you won’t be setting yourself up for failure when it comes time to reach your goal weight. Also keep in mind that extreme dieting can put an unhealthy strain on both your body and mind; rapid weight loss often leads to muscle breakdown (which may show up as extra fat) as well as mental fogginess due to malnutrition (especially if you’re cutting out entire food groups). It’s not worth it!