Use of Non-Prescription Diet Pills
& Supplements to Reduce Weight
Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Supplements
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Ineffective
There are few healthy and effective diet
supplements for weight loss. Some weight loss supplements help control
appetite, but they can have serious side effects. Other diet supplements
can be highly addictive and can have adverse effects on the heart and
central nervous system, while some weight loss supplements do nothing
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Risks
of Stomach fillers
The FDA states that some bulking agents
used in diet supplements, such as fiber-based products, may absorb liquid
and swell in the stomach, thereby reducing hunger.
Some of these fillers, such as guar gum,
can be harmful, causing obstructions in the intestines, stomach, or esophagus.
The FDA has taken legal action against
several promoters of diet supplements containing guar gum.
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements
Appetite Suppressants Can Become Addictive
Some appetite suppressant supplements contain
amphetamine derivatives and are highly addictive. In addition their effect
tends to wear off if they are taken for long periods, so the patient is
inclined to take large and larger doses with ever increasing addiction.
A high risk method of weight loss with no evidence of long term weight
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Warnings
Ephedra, also known as ma huang, is a strong
stimulant found in popular "herbal phen-fen" weight loss supplements.
While it relieves nasal congestion and some allergic disorders, Varro
E. Tyler, an authority of the medicinal use of herbs, states: "there
is no substantial clinical evidence that [ephedra] is either a safe or
effective promoter of weight loss." And, ephedra can be very damaging
to the body, especially when abused. When taken regularly in weight loss
supplements, your body can stay in an unnaturally high gear and there
is risk for heart palpitations, heart attacks, and strokes.
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements
Ephedra Labels and Dosage Levels
The FDA urges everyone to consult with
a doctor before trying any ephedra diet supplement and experts advise
against using any weight-loss supplements that contain the herb. If you
do, check the labels to make sure you don't get more than 8 milligrams
of the drug ephedrine in any 6 hour period, and don't take any ephedra
product for more than a week. You should avoid ephedra completely if you
have hypertension, heart trouble, kidney disease, neurologic disorders,
diabetes, or an overactive thyroid gland, or if you're pregnant or nursing.
Finally, the FDA warns against "herbal" supplements containing
caffeine and ephedrine. Any weight loss supplements with these twin ingredients
the FDA considers a "deadly combination."
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Ephedra
Ephedra is not even especially effective
for weight loss.
According to a report in the journal Obesity
Research (1995), researchers found that diet supplements containing ephedrine
combined with caffeine helped obese patients on a strict diet lose an
extra 7.5 pounds over six months compared with patients who dieted without
the weight loss supplements.
Not exactly sensational weight loss.
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - HCA
HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, is an herbal
extract found in commercial weight-loss supplements. The chemical supposedly
suppresses the appetite and slows down the conversion of carbohydrates
But in a study published in the Nov. 11,
1998, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers
from Columbia University gave HCA herbal diet supplements (1,500 milligrams
each day) to 66 overweight patients. Result? HCA failed to produce significant
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Pyruvate
This natural compound has gained wide popularity
as a muscle builder and weight-loss aid. Makers claim pyruvate is a natural
alternative to prescription diet drugs such as phentermine and fenfluramine
(phen-fen), but the International Journal of Sports Nutrition calls such
statements misleading. Allegedly, there's no evidence that pyruvate matches
the weight loss effects of prescription drugs. In one of the few human
studies of pyruvate, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical
Center found that overweight patients who took pyruvate weight loss supplements
lost an average of 2 ounces(!) of extra weight per week, compared with
patients who took a placebo. Pyruvate also has side effects, which may
include intestinal distress, bloating, and diarrhea, when consumed in
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - PPA
Short for phenylpropanolamine, PPA was
one of the most popular weight loss drugs in the country, but not because
of it's outstanding weight loss benefits. According to Robert Sherman
of the FDA's Office of Over the Counter Drug Evaluation, "even the
best studies show only about a half pound greater weight loss per week
using PPA combined with diet and exercise." PPA also had significant
side effects. In October 2000, The FDA concluded that PPA was too dangerous
to be available in over-the-counter weight loss supplements and called
for makers to stop selling diet pills containing it.
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Federal
Regulation & Action
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and
a number of state attorneys general have successfully brought cases against
marketers of weight loss supplements that claim to absorb or burn fat.
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) has banned 111 ingredients once found in over-the-counter diet supplements.
No weight loss supplements containing alcohol,
caffeine, dextrose and guar gum offer effective weight loss.
Weight Loss & Diet Supplements - Advice
When checking out weight loss supplements,
read the claims and literature carefully. One product manufacturer, who
claimed his diet supplements were very beneficial for weight loss, also
encouraged users to exercise for 20 to 60 minutes five to seven days a
week; eat three low-fat, balanced meals and two snacks every day; eat
at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetable each day;
drink six to eight glasses of water every day; limit or stop drinking
alcohol; stop eating two to three hours before bedtime; reach for the
walking shoes before reaching for the refrigerator...etc. Since all this
virtually guarantees weight loss and long term weight control, what is
the point of buying the weight loss supplements?
See also Weight
Loss Supplements Information