They’re everywhere – in drugstores, grocery stores, health food stores, convenient stores and of course, pharmacies and on the internet. Diet pills are being used by millions of people who want to lose weight and they are getting more and more popular every day.

Americans spend a whopping 40 billion dollars a year on diets and diet related products. On any given day you can see commercials and read advertisements about fat blockers, carb cutters and appetite suppressants. Pictures of large people who “pilled” their way down to thin people are all over the place – in magazines, billboards, health clubs and television commercials.

With all of these amazing pills on the market and the billions of dollars being pumped into the diet industry, why is it that America’s obesity problem has reached epidemic proportions? Why is America is still the fattest country in the world?

The problem is that many people believe the magic bullet or rather, supplement that’s going to solve all of their overweight problems. Many people want a quick fix or an easy solution. One of these quick fixes or easy solutions is the diet pill.

Diet pills come in many forms ranging from pills marketed as appetite suppressants to others marketed as carb blockers, fat blockers and metabolism boosters. Many of them include Ephedrine and use the name “thermo”, “lean” or “fat burner.” Brand names include, Metabolife, MeTrim, Herbalife, Adiphen, Thermalean, Lipodrene, Zymax, Genicil, Patent Lean, Thermoslim, Ultra Lipo Lean, Trim Life, Hydroxy Cut, Xenadrine, Herbal Phen-Fen, Shapefast, Thermoburn, Thyro-slim, Trim Spa, Natural Trim, Thermo-Lift and many others.

So what is Ephedrine? *Ephedrine (e-fed’rin) a-methylamino-l phenyl-l propanol, is an alkaloid from the leaves of Ephededra equisetina, E. Sinica, and other species (family Gnetaceae). It is also called Ephedra & Ma Huang, the plant source for the Alkaloid ephedrine. Indigenous to China, India and parts of Southeast Asia . According to the FDA, products containing ephedrine extracts have caused hundreds of illnesses, including seizures, heart attacks, strokes and even death. They are amphetamine-like compounds with powerful and potentially lethal stimulant effects on the central nervous system and the heart. These compounds act as stimulants that can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats (heart arrhythmias). It dilates the bronchial muscles, contacts the nasal mucosa, raises the blood pressure and is a cardiac stimulant. Further these compounds often cause psychological side effects such as depression, nervousness, insomnia, and rapid heart rate. When taken in combination with caffeine, ephedrine can over-stimulate the central nervous system, leading to potentially life-threatening results.

See also  Product Review: Slim Quick Cleanse

Many companies are now offering Ephedrine free supplements, but they still have some of the same side effects as appetite suppressants such as Dexatrim and Acutrim, which can produce symptoms such as, increased heart rate, dizziness, high blood pressure, nausea, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, dry mouth and diarrhea.

There are many prescription diet pills on the market as well including the popular and most commonly prescribed prescription appetite suppressant Phentermine. It is sold under the brand names: Lonamine and Adipex. These supplements, like most others, suppress the appetite and stimulate the central nervous system.

Keep in mind that each diet pill has its own set of potential side effects. Many, especially stimulant-based diet pills, are habit-forming and lend themselves to abuse. Abuse of these drugs may lead to psychological and/or physical dependence.

In many cases, people use diet aids to help suppress the appetite, block fat and carbs or to boost the metabolism. The problem with suppressing the appetite among other things is that appetite suppression leads to the consumption of fewer calories.

It is a common misconception that consuming fewer calories leads to weight loss. When you consume TOO FEW calories, your metabolism actually slows down. As your metabolism slows, the amount of weight you lose also slows down. Eating too much or eating too little may have devastating effects on the body. The best thing to do is to find a healthy medium. Did you know that in order to lose weight safely, effectively and long-term you have to actually consume a moderate amount of calories? This number is rarely under 1,2000 calories per day. Food provides the fuel your body needs to function properly and that includes your metabolism.

See also  The Deadly Facts About Army Ants

Fat blockers, like Xenical, may have many side effects as well including; oily spotting, anal leakage, intestinal cramping, gas with discharge, nausea, diarrhea, oily discharge, fecal urgency, loose and oily stools, fecal incontinence, frequent bowel movements, and inability to control bowels. While some may see this is an inconvenience rather than a danger, consider this – whenever you block absorption of fat, there are some likely discomforts and risks. Mainly, the essential vitamins, A, D, E, and K are “fat soluble” vitamins. That means that they are carried, along with fat, into the bloodstream. If you are limiting fat absorption, you cannot help but restrict absorption of these essential micronutrients. They play a major role in metabolism, immune function, and overall health. In recent studies it is noted that people who use fat blockers only end up blocking 30% of the fat they take in. Controlled studies have also proven that the difference in weight loss for fat blocker users and non-users is miniscule –try 1-2 pounds.

Carb Blockers – Ultra Carb, Carbo Lock, Carb Away, Ultimate Carb Phaser 1000, Carb Cutter, Carb Eliminator – seem to have some of the same effects as fat blockers. Carb blockers claim to reduce between 30-45 grams of carbs from entering the body. Keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate the supplement industry therefore, the FDA hasn’t studied many of the pills manufacturers peddle. Manufacturers don’t know if carb blockers work long-term or if they may have long-term effects. Short-term effects include – gastrointestinal distress, heartburn, excessive gas and diarrhea. And there are no studies or testimonials to prove if these supplements keep the weight off long term.

See also  Sugar Alcohols - What You Need to Know

To ensure a healthy body and long-term weight-loss success, the best thing to do is to make “lifestyle changes” such as regular exercise, dietary changes, and regular check-ups. The doctors who prescribe diet aids encourage patients to eat a sensible diet and exercise. Most over-the-counter appetite suppressants and aids include diet and exercise programs. Pills alone won’t cut it, if at all. Weight-loss supplements are simply not necessary. The sad thing is that what they don’t tell you is that use of these aids may only increase weight loss by 5% or once you stop taking them, the weight you did manage to lose will almost always come back.

Fad diets, diet pills, sweeteners and useless gadgets do little or nothing to affect weight loss. They are not an effective or healthy way to lose weight. Again, the only thing short of surgery that will ensure weight loss success is something you can’t buy in a bottle. It’s called good old-fashioned diet, discipline and exercise.