As a people, we are usually fans of the quick and easy life. We want fast food. We want fast cars. We want fast cash. And then we want to lose weight fast, and sometimes with the least amount of effort possible. This inevitably leads us to weight loss pills, supplements and drinks.
There are thousands of them in the American market, with each claiming to be the best option for easy weight loss. We are told that we simply need to take one or two pills daily and that the weight would magically melt off our bodies. And even if they do help keep the weight off, are they really safe for our consumption?
What exactly are weight loss pills?
For those that don’t already know, weight loss pills are drugs whose job is it to reduce or control weight by altering one or more of the fundamental processes of the human body. Weight loss pills usually target the consumer’s appetite by suppressing it and forcing such an individual to eatless than he would have normally eaten, or by altering the rate at which suchan individual absorbs calories. It is said that the best weight loss pills arethe ones that alter many of the body’s functions all at once, and containing active ingredients that simultaneously decrease appetite, increase fat burning, and/or reduce absorption of fat.
Most weight loss supplements are categorized into two general categories which are dietary supplements and non-prescription drugs, and this categorization is based on the standards for the production and marketing of the drugs. The most common non-prescription weight loss pills soldin the United States today are Belviq, Orlistat, Saxenda, Contrave, Phentermine, and Qsymia, and their manufacturers have to provide the FDA with resultsfrom human trials that they are effective and safe to use.
Manufacturers of weight loss dietary supplements do not have to present any such trials to the FDA. They are solely responsible for ensuring that their products are safe and effective. As such, many cut corners. Becausethese types of weight loss pills are classified by the FDA as dietary supplementsand not as drugs, it means that no company has to absolutely prove that they dowork.
Since scientific research does not have to bear out such claims;you only have the word of the manufacturer to go on when you pop a weight-loss pill, that it actually helps you to lose weight.
But do they work?
Weight loss pills do work, but it is important to never forget that there is no simple formula for losing weight, and that there is no magic pill to swallow to make all the weight melt off without an exerted effort on your part.
It is said often and often again that the easiest and most effective way to lose weight and stay healthy is by maintaining a healthy diet which is a low calorie one, and by being physically active.
This means that weight loss drugs are at the very best tools that may be used by the determined individual on the journey of weight loss.Used alone and without a positive change in diet and a lifestyle that is more active than sedentary, you are not likely to get any results.
Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, they can however be the extra push needed to help you reach your ideal weight.
In a recent study, it was determined that an individual can achieve clinically meaningful weight loss within one year if such an individual uses a prescription weight loss drug while making appropriate positive lifestyle changes.
Now, what does clinically meaningful weight loss mean. It simply means that such an individual has lost enough weight to significantly reduce his/ her risk of diabetes, heart disease and other weight related diseases.Paring it down to figures, it means that you have lost five per cent of yourbody weight or more.
The sad truth is that most customers of these weight loss supplements use them, expecting such a dramatic change. And most of the time,this dramatic change does not happen.
Yes, they do lose weight. Yes, the weight loss supplementsdo work. But in most cases, the changes they bring are not as satisfying or in any way near as dramatic as what the user hoped for.
So, while prescription weight-loss pills are beneficial,they are not as magical as some late-night TV ads make them seem like. And the ugly truth is that they don’t work for everyone.
Any side effects?
As with any medication that is taken into the human body to rectify something, weight loss supplements are known to have some side effects. Because of the limited research available, it is difficult to judge the safety of a weight-loss supplement, and because the manufacturer says it is all natural does not mean that it is safe.
In rare instances, some dietary supplements have been linked to liver damage and other serious medical problems. Some other possible adverse effects of these supplements may include high blood pressure, mood swings, stroke, irregular heart rate, seizures and heart attacks.
What to do
Before you start yourself on a weight loss supplement:
Do your research: Information about many dietary supplements can be found online from the Office of Dietary Supplements and the NationalCenter for Complementary and Integrative Health. It is important that you educate yourself on the potential advantages and disadvantages of the particular supplement you are about to go on.
Tell your primary physician: Talk to your doctor if you’re considering weight-loss pills. This is even more important if you have medical problems, if you take prescription drugs, if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or planning to get pregnant soon.
Don’t forget to make lifestyle changes first: As was previously mentioned, weight loss supplements work best when combined with positive lifestyle changes. Make sure you are making appropriate positive changes to your diet and that you are getting enough exercise as well.