One of the first things people do when trying to lose weight is reach for diet pills. If you are considering weight loss pills, it’s important to understand their possible side effects as well as their limitations, as there are no miracles when it comes to shedding pounds.
You have no doubt heard an endless number of advertisements that claim taking a pill will help you lose weight without the need to exercise or control your diet. The truth is that there is no magic cure to help you drop unwanted pounds. Any successful weight loss regimen will involve burning more calories than you take in. As such, you should always be leery of any advertisements that claim a particular product will simply melt pounds away without requiring any work on your part.
What Weight Loss Pills Can Do
Weight loss pills are not a miracle cure, but they can provide some benefits when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program. For example, supplements containing hoodia gordonii can help curb the appetite, while those with yerba mate extract can help you feel full longer. Even pills with stimulants such as green tea extract, caffeine, or guarna may help speed the metabolism somewhat, allowing you to burn a few extra calories than what you would have normally. However, these pills will not allow you to burn as many calories as you would during a workout, meaning that exercise is still necessary.
Fat Blocking Claims
Some weight loss pills claim to help you lose weight by blocking your body’s ability to absorb fat from the foods you eat. Many such pills are derived from the powdered shells of shrimp or crab, and contain high amounts of chitosan. While some studies show that people who take chitosan lose slightly more weight, the amount is actually very negligible. Chitosan may block your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D. As such, it is recommended to take this product no longer than three months at a time to prevent malnutrition from setting in.
Possible Side Effects
Since most weight loss pills contain as much as 400 mg of caffeine, you may notice an increased heart rate, nervousness, or jittery feelings throughout the day. You may even have difficulty falling or staying asleep at night. Your body may also build a tolerance to caffeine over time, in which case weight loss pills may provide little or no effect. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, and diarrhea are all common side effects when taking pills to curb the appetite. Pills containing ephedra could lead to seizures, stroke, or a heart attack, which is why this ingredient has been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The decision as to whether or not you should take weight loss pills should only be made after carefully researching the ingredients and discussing their benefits and side effects with a physician. Even then, they should never be used as a substitute for a healthy weight loss program, but instead taken only to complement your efforts.