Are diet pills safe? Are they effective? Are they a complete waste of money?
Diet pills are tempting, but it is important to answer the above questions before you go out, spend your hard earned money and ingest a potentially dangerous product leptitox.
Diet pills are any pill which work on some aspect of limiting nutrient intake, absorption, or metabolism. Meaning that these products either stop you from taking in the food in the first place, stop you from absorbing once it’s inside you, or help you burn off any absorbed calories that you have already eaten and absorbed. Diet pills can be either prescription, over the counter, or weight loss supplements.
They come in 3 main categories: appetite suppressants, nutrient blockers, and metabolism accelerators.
Are diet pills safe?
All of the effective pills and some of the ineffective pills have side effects. The more powerful pills are the prescription pills. These definitely have side effects, that’s why they are prescription products. Some of the side effects include:
- increases in blood pressure
- increased heart rate
- oily bowel movements
- dry mouth
There is only one over the counter diet medication that I know about, it’s a pill called Alli. It’s not to be confused with weight loss supplements, which are not FDA approved. Alli is a milder form of a prescription pill and still has the same side effects, although not as severe, oily stools, also called steatorrhea. Supplemental diet pills may or may not have side effects associated with them. If they don’t have any side effects they are usually completely ineffective. If they do have side effects, the pills may or may not be effective. The side effects usually associated with supplements are similar to those you get from prescription diet pills although not usually as severe.
Are they effective?
The short answer is yes and no. Diet pills can be effective short term, but over the long term they are not. The effectiveness of prescription pills has been demonstrated through clinical trials. They do work, but the truth is that their effectiveness has a limit. Some pills can only be taken for a limited time because the side effects start to outweigh the benefits. Others become less useful over time because the body adapts to them. The same factors apply to over the counter medications. Supplements usually do not have the necessary scientific evidence to support any conclusion about their effectiveness although some do have lots of anecdotal support.
Are they a complete waste of money?
Diet pills can cost you. They range from around 50 cents per pill to $2.50 per pill. So depending on how long you are using the product, this can really add up. Cost is not the only factor. Effect per cost is more important. And as we just saw, the effects can be limited at best, to nil at worst.