Diet pills may sound like a simple solution to weight control. What could be simpler than popping a pill to lose weight? The weight loss industry has taken advantage of the desire of Americans to lose weight quickly and easily by making available a variety of over-the-counter diet aids. Often, when it sounds too good to be true it is. The unfortunate reality is that when you use diet pills, you’re using products that aren’t regulated by the F.D.A. In addition, the claims made by the manufacturers are often exaggerated or even downright false.
Another issue with over-the-counter diet aids is their safety. Many so-called “metabolism boosters” contain ingredients that can raise the blood pressure and heart rate which may be dangerous if you have high blood pressure or underlying heart disease. Yet these products are freely sold in drugstores and other outlets without prescription. One such metabolism booster, ephedra, was banned for a period of time due to the number of deaths and injuries related to use of diet pills containing this substance.
Are there ways to safely use diet pills? There are over-the-counter diet aids that have been shown to be effective for weight loss such as Alli. Alli is a lower dose, nonprescription version of the prescription drug Orlistat that helps to prevent fat absorption by the intestinal tract. Even this relatively safe drug is not without significant side effects. It can result in loose, foul smelling stools and stool leakage which is certainly not a desirable effect when you’re out in public. There are also few long term studies on the safety and effectiveness of this over-the-counter diet aid.
Most diet aids are only meant to be used on a short term basis, but some people use diet pills as a longer term crutch. Plus, anyone has access to these pills even people who obviously don’t need them such as teenagers and anorexics suffering from eating disorders who may be seriously jeopardize their health using these products.
The bottom line is that over-the-counter diet aids are no substitute for a healthy diet and a consistent exercise plan. Without these two factors, you will regain the weight even if you manage to use diet pills successfully. If you don’t feel comfortable losing weight on your own, a safer option would be to seek out the services of a nutritionist or enroll in the Weight Watcher’s plan so you can approach weight loss from a healthy, longer term perspective. There is no “quick fix” or easy solution when it comes to weight control. Don’t put your health at risk by using unregulated over-the-counter diet aids to solve your weight problems when you can do it the right way.