How Do Weight Loss Pills Work? And Are They Safe?

Posted Mar 7, 2012 | Posted in Fitness & Nutrition

woman-holding-diet-pill-horizYou’ve probably seen television advertising that  attempts to sell you miracle weight loss pills. Maybe you’ve wondered how these supplements work and what effect they may have on your body. As is the case with most things in life, if the claims sound too good to be true, they probably are. Most of these supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration like other drugs and have minimal effects on your weight, especially in the long term.

Many diet pills contain a substance called ephedrine, which is a stimulant and appetite suppressant. The pills claim to work by curbing your appetite so that you eat less food.  Ephedrine is similar in chemical makeup to the often-abused methamphetamine. Although ephedrine has been shown in laboratory tests to promote weight loss, it is by no means safe for users.

Among the known side effects from ephedrine use are heart disease, insomnia, extreme psychological disorders, acne, difficulty urinating, severe headaches and even death. Despite often being marketed as a naturally occurring chemical, ephedrine can be dangerous. Because of these risks, the makers of diet pills often include so little of the substance that it has no effect on your weight.

There is truly no pill that will promote instant and dramatic weight loss, especially in the way TV commercials often lead you to think. The safest and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat healthful foods and get at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.

If you have questions about how to best  achieve your weight loss goals, consult a nutritionist or other medical professional about setting up a plan that best suits your habits and lifestyle.

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