I know it’s hard to hear, but diet pills aren’t all that reliable. There are a plethora of pills: OTC, prescription and even herbal. With that many options, how many do you think are safe and effective? Chances are slim and few. One pill might be safe, but not effective. Another may be effective, but does it matter if it causes you to have a heart attack? And then there are the safe AND effective ones. But how do you know in that huge abundance of pills which few are both?
Look for those that have been thoroughly tested. Read the list of possible side effects. Ask your doctor how the particular ingredients will work with your body and any medications you might be taking. Recent questions about the popular hoodia goordinii ask whether the appetite suppressant really works for the average person. We’ve all heard horror stories of experiences with diet pills, particularly the recent scare over ephedra, which in many cases led to heart attack, stroke or even death. Ephedra, or ma huang, is derived from the Ephedra sinica plant. Naturally derived does not eliminate the potential for harm. The 1994 Dietary Health and Education Act denotes that only prescription and OTC drugs are regulated by the FDA, leaving the door wide open for natural supplements that may not consistently live up to their promises. We scoff at the FDA’s inability to control pharmaceuticals, seeing dangerous drugs pulled off the shelves quite frequently. Yet, remember that this does not somehow reassure us that natural products are 100 percent safe, either. Every pill has the potential to harm, whether made in a factory or derived from a plant. I love dandelion greens, but that doesn’t mean I can go into the forest and safely eat everything green. Poison ivy is green and I surely don’t want that in my digestive system.
And then there’s the placebo affect. If natural diet pills aren’t tested for safety, they aren’t tested for effectiveness either. Many are tried and true, but there are the elusive few that slip into the market without an ounce of valid proof. The main point here is that diet pills, whether derived from nature or created in a lab, should be taken with extreme caution. Nothing replaces diet and exercise. But many diet pills can give you a little extra boost. If you’re looking for a diet pill, look for tried and true ingredients like green tea and cayenne. Investigate ALL of the ingredients on the box or bottle. And for all that’s good and beautiful in this world, please discourage teens from taking diet pills. At such a young age, it’s best to address weight issues with a long term goal in mind, adjusting diet and lifestyle to create a positive impact on weight over the course of a lifetime. Not every person needs to look like a pinup. Not every person should. True beauty can’t be purchased in a bottle.
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