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Weight loss pills, medicines or supplements – do they work?

8/26 14:06:41

The search for the perfect weight loss pill that will instantly help you lose weight is probably just as intriguing as the search for the cure for cancer in this day and age. Obesity has become a global pandemic and more and more people are looking for ways to lose weight without doing the simple and right thing – exercise and eat right. Sadly, instead of doing that thousands will still fall for every sham, flimflam and con in the market and the most common one that people seem to fall for are pills.

We’d hate to break it to you but there is no medicine, pill or capsule which will instantly help you lose weight without workout out or dieting. There are pills loaded with various substances which can help you lose weight but all of them require you to exercise and eat right and some of them are downright dangerous.

A Word of Caution

There are thousands of bogus pills on the market. Here’s how spot them:

  • They will promise to get rid of a lot of weight in a short duration of time without any effort or hard work on your part.
  • They will have shady-looking before-and-after pictures where the after pictures will have no resemblance to the before ones.
  • They will promise to give back your money if the products don’t work.
  • They will claim their products have been scientifically proven to be efficient but will fail to explain exactly how.
  • While their websites or advertisements will have thousands of testimonials of how these products changed their lives, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in real life who have had them or neutral internet forums who will claim the same.
  • They will have people featuring as doctors (or people in white coats) claiming that these products work.
  • If you ever ask them exactly how their products work, they will be at a loss for words.

Now weight loss pills work on the concept of appetite suppression which basically means that your brain will tell you that you’re not hungry. So they do that or are loaded with caffeine which makes you workout harder to lose weight. And they can be dangerous.

One of the most popular pills was a combination called the ECA stack. ECA stands for ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin and was commonly used as a dietary supplement in the 90s and 2000s but now marketing of ECA is banned in the US, Canada and Netherlands due to reports that they caused heart attack and stroke.

Another dangerous pill is the DNP which caused two deaths in the UK. The first was an 18-year-old Indian student who was an avid bodybuilder and the second a 23-year-old medical student who was suffering from bulimia – an eating disorder. 

Despite being banned in the 1938 the yellow pills are available widely on the internet and very popular with the bodybuilding community. The drug is yellow and odourless and was earlier used as a herbicide and fungicide. It was launched as a slimming aid in the 1930s but was promptly banned due to side-effects.  Depending on the amount consumed, symptoms vary from nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, palpitations and could even lead to coma and death.

Expert nutritionist Shilpa Mittal told us how many of her clients were scammed into buying these pills.  ‘Most pills are either suppressants or stimulants that hinder the absorption of fat into your body. Subsequently, they can also hinder the absorption of other essential nutrients and vitamins. They’ve also been known to increase the heart rate, blood pressure and cause other gastrointestinal side-effects like constipation,’ she said. They can also cause heavy sweating, insomnia, mood swings, headaches and anxiety.

Most fat loss pills don’t work because their effects wear out the moment you stop taking them. Also, they need to be supplemented with regular diet and exercise (the supplements need to be supplemented, the irony isn’t lost here), in a sense they’re catalysts rather than miracle pills, and unless you watch what you eat and workout, they won’t work. In the long run, people who use them, develop tolerance and the drug stops being of any effect.

The only proper way to lose weight is exercising and eating right and that’s not really that hard. 

Check out our healthy foods section and healthy recipes section for more ideas. Also check out these articles.

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