Dr. Oz says that one of his most frequently asked question is, “Is there a pill for that”? Usually there is, he says. But one of the most dangerous pills on the market are diet pills. They should be treated like any other drug he says, because you want to lose weight, not your life. 1 in 4 Americans are currently dieting, which is encouraging due to that fact that 60% of Americans are overweight or obese. There are many ways to lose weight including diet books, weight loss programs, gyms or trainers. But 15% of Americans want the quick fix of a diet pill. There are more than a dozen prescription medications for weight loss, while there are 100’s of over the counter drugs and herbal supplements. $2 billion dollars were spent in 2007 alone with women twice as likely as men to buy diet pills.
Different types of diet pills
Bitter Orange Has been used for many years in other parts of the world. It increases energy and reduces appetite. It behaves similar to a chemical found naturally in your body that gets you going. However you do not want foreign substances or manufactured chemicals in your body because it can raise your blood pressure high enough for a stroke.
Hoodia Can be found in liquid, pills or even lollipops. Hoodia was originally used in Africa by tribesmen when going on long hikes to increase the amount of energy in the brain. It makes your brain feel it has enough energy so there is not need for you to eat. More hoodia was sold last year in the US than has been used in all of the African countries.
Prescription diet pills Should be given by prescription only from your doctor if you have a BMI of 30 or more. Should be given and used with caution. The chemicals in the pills can affect the way your brain processes information and cause your mind to race. It can push you over the edge and allow your brain to not function the way that it is supposed to. Should be used as an aid, not a crutch. Once you go off the pills, you are able to gain the weight back. It is important to change your lifestyle to have effective long term weight loss.
Alli Although not mentioned by name on the show, Alli is the only FDA approved weight-loss drug. It works by blocking the absorption of fat by coating the intestinal system to stop the enzymes that digest fats from working. It keeps the fat from getting to the intestinal system and being absorbed. If you do not absorb fat, you do not absorb calories. However, if you eat too much fat, you can overwhelm the system. This can cause embarrassing intestinal problems.
Caffeine Caffeine found in coffee or tea can be used a diet aid. It can help a little with weight loss, unless you have a problem with taking caffeine.
Potential Side Effects and one woman’s cautionary tale
Side effects of diet pills (including prescriptions) can include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, nervousness, palpitations, and trouble sleeping. All of these factors increase your chances of heart attack and stroke. Karen begin taking drugs to lose weight because she desired a quick fix. At first, the drugs were giving her energy and helping her to lose a pound per day. Within a week, she began to think it was the end of the world, and was placed in a psychiatric ward. Her doctors found that her diet pills contained methamphetamine or speed. The drugs altered the way her brain functioned and she is now bi-polar. She has occurrences once every couple of years, but is learning to manage her condition. She says that if she never took the pills, she would have never opened the door to a lifelong mental illness.
While diet pills can work, they need to be taken with caution. You never know for certain what you are swallowing or putting in your body. Ask yourself is it worth the risk of taking the short cut to weight loss. You may lose more than just your weight, you could potentially lose your life