For many of us, fighting obesity is an all-out war. You may win a few battles, but the slightest mistake and you’ll quickly find that weight gains (pun intended) the upper hand. Unlike alcohol, gambling, or challenges and addictions, food is a necessity to survive, which means there is no quitting “cold turkey.” Beating obesity means maintaining an almost impossible amount of will and lifestyle changes that are not plausible for many.

That is why it is perfectly understandable that millions of people across the United States would turn to shortcuts, such as weight loss supplements. In war, you do whatever it takes to get an edge. The idea that a simple pill could help you shed extra pounds is intriguing – for many, it feels like their only chance. Over-the-counter diet pills are designed to make you spend all this money, and once you stop taking them, you regain all of the weight you lost back and more.  It’s a complete scam!

Most of the diet supplements are ineffective and some of their ingredients are banned by the FDA to be harmful. Anti-obesity pharmacotherapy has a long history of serious health risks, including cardiovascular events and psychiatric disorders.

The latest scam is the new weight loss injection shot. It is actually a diabetes medication and has to be injected every week, costing consumers a recurring $1,500 monthly. The long-term dangers of adding hormones to the body to lose weight are yet to be seen. Read more about The Personal Cost of Obesity: How Much Does It Cost to be Obese?

magic diet pillsLet’s Explore The “Magic” of Diet Pills

There are countless weight loss supplements and aids available. Some of them are “natural” or “herbal.” Others are more medical in the formulation. Doctors sell and distribute Diet pills, which can be ordered online or from “As Seen on TV stores.”

So many diet pills are available that they are often convoluted together into appearing as though they are all equal. Not only are they not all equal, but most do nothing at all, and those who do work are frequently found dangerous.

While not all claims about fat burner pills have been studied, those that have been almost always delivered no or inconsequential results. This is especially true of herbal diet pills, including:

  • Green Coffee Bean Extract
  • Garcinia Cambogia Extract
  • Hydroxycut
  • Raspberry Ketones
  • Cumin Extract
  • Caffeine
  • Orlistat (Alli)
  • Glucomannan
  • Meratrim
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
  • Forskolin
  • Bitter Orange/Synephrine

So far, none of these herbal supplements in long-term, controlled, well-designed studies has shown any effect on weight loss. Most studies that have shown an effect were very small (almost no participants) and were funded and sponsored by the companies hoping to sell the supplement (creating a huge conflict of interest). Based on the evidence, glucomannan, CLA, and Allie are effective for weight loss, and caffeine and green tea extract are effective for fat burning.

Essentially… Diet Pills are Highly Unregulated, Mostly Placebo

In addition, not only are these herbal diet pills unlikely to work, but they are also woefully unregulated. Take Hydroxycut, for example. This highly popular combination of herbal supplements contained, before 2004, a variation of ephedra – a highly dangerous supplement. Between 2004 and 2009, the herbal supplement contained several ingredients that were found to cause significant harm to the liver, such as hydroxycitric acid.

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t regulate supplements, even though just because something is “natural” does not mean it cannot also be harmful. And while the current formulation does not appear to have any physical consequences, it also doesn’t appear to work, as no studies have confirmed that weight loss occurs.

In addition, many other supplement makers have been found to secretly place ingredients that could be deadly. Some unregulated natural weight loss diet pills contained ingredients like antidepressants, stimulants, diuretics, and other ingredients not listed on the label – the medications people hoped to avoid.

“Natural” weight loss pills suffer from the same issues that other natural supplements suffer from:

  • Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe.
  • Natural supplement makers are unregulated, so they may not safely create formulations.
  • Studies rarely show that natural supplements have any effect on the body.

There is a temptation to try these diet pills and other supplements because they do not have the side effects of pharmaceutical medications, but what supplement makers don’t tell you is that most pharmaceutical medicines have side effects because they work. The side effects are what happens when the formula is doing its job.

So why do some people lose weight while on these natural weight-loss supplements? The exact reason is not known, but the most likely reasons include the following:

  • Those taking a natural supplement combine it with exercise, a better diet, etc.
  • Those that do not see weight loss stop taking them quicker than those that do.
  • Those taking the supplement are more likely to attribute natural fluctuations in weight to the pill.

Whatever the cause, herbal supplements are unlikely to affect diet and could even be dangerous.

But those are just herbal and natural weight loss supplements. What about the pharmaceuticals that doctors give in medical weight loss clinics?

Effects of Weight Loss Medications on the Body

Diet pill side effects

Doctors do occasionally prescribe weight loss medications in medical weight loss settings. There are currently many different medications available, including:

  • Qsymia
  • Suprenza
  • Xenical
  • Metformin

Unlike natural diet pills, these drugs are generally effective at helping the body lose weight. Some, like Qsymia, have been shown to help individuals lose about 10% of their excess body weight when combined with diet and exercise compared to a placebo.

But before you decide to ask your doctor about these medications, several issues related to these medications need to be discussed.

– Take Qsymia, for example. One of the main ingredients in Qsymia is Phentermine. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, it is because it is directly related to another well-known drug, amphetamine – a medication used to treat ADHD and sometimes sold as a street drug called “Speed.”

– Belviq is another famous weight loss supplement that uses the drug lorcaserin. Lorcaserin is classified as a Schedule IV drug because it has hallucinogenic properties and was briefly linked to heart disease – although studies are looking into whether or not that risk is high.

– Xenical is made from a drug called Orlistat. Orlistat is known to cause significant gastrointestinal challenges, including fecal incontinence (going in your pants) and risk for kidney injury. No significant dangers have been reported, but the total weight loss with Orlistat is only about 5 to 6 extra pounds over a placebo. It is helpful but does not make a massive difference in weight loss.

– Metformin is a blood sugar normalization medication for type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. This drug enhances your body’s sensitivity to Leptin, leading to some pounds shed- about 5% to 10% of body mass can be lost. Metformin has side effects, such as low blood sugar, bloating, diarrhea, cough, trembling, sweating, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

Additional Side Effects of Medicated Weight Loss

Harmful Effects of Diet Pills and SupplementsThere is a place for weight loss medicine. Under a trained doctor’s supervision, when coordinated with diet and weight loss efforts, frequent follow-ups, and the right nutritional supplements and instructions, weight loss medications do have a place in helping those who have struggled with losing weight continue to fight pounds and try to achieve their goal weight.

But simply assuming that the medications are enough to help you lose weight can be dangerous. With uncommon risks and side effects that include:

  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Liver Failure
  • Heart Disease and More

When determining whether or not a medication is worth taking, doctors look at the risks with the benefits. Some may find that the extra few pounds these medications help with can be an asset, and under strict regulation, they may prescribe these medications to specific patients.

But for most, an extra 5 pounds may not be enough to justify the risks and potential dangers, so most doctors use medical weight loss pills as a last resort.

There are Very Few Shortcuts to Weight Loss Solutions

It all boils down to the fact that there are few quick and sustainable ways to drop pounds. It is important to note that while diet pills do have their place, the natural ones have a greater risk of no benefits, and the pharmaceutical ones have muted benefits that are only right for specific patients.

Drugs that suppress your appetite and increase your metabolism are unsafe as they may cause high blood pressure and irregular heart beat.

If you want to lose weight effectively, there are likely to be other alternatives that you will want to consider, as weight loss pills are unlikely to be the right solution. Call us at Mexico Bariatric Center to see if weight loss surgery suits you.