You may be tempted to use over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription weight loss pills as these claim to lose your weight fast and without much effort. But, are these just money-making gimmicks or do they really help you lose weight? Also, their safety is a matter of concern. There is no magic wand for losing weight.
It is no secret that the safest and the most effective method to lose weight is to go on a low-calorie diet and engage more in physical activities. Weight loss pills, whether prescription, herbal or non-prescription as well as other supplements are widely known to help in weight loss. However, not much research has been conducted about the efficacy of these products.
Weight loss pills are also known as anti-obesity drugs or diet pills. These are prescribed to patients, who want to lose weight. The pills consist of nutrients and herbs that supplement your diet. These are available in different forms like capsules, teas, powders and so forth. These medicines work by reducing your craving for food, giving you a feeling of fullness, boosting your metabolism and slowing down the production of fat tissues.
A study was conducted in 2016 that analyzed the effect of prescription drugs in the treatment of obesity. It was concluded that when a person adopts changes in his/her lifestyle, a weight loss drug, available on prescription, increases the chances of attaining clinically meaningful and substantial weight loss. Clinically meaningful weight loss implies that weight has been lost to the extent that it has reduced the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Weight loss as seen in research may be more than to what has been experienced in real life. There may be adverse side effects of weight loss pills. Prescription weight loss pills may prove to be beneficial, but they won’t work magically. Moreover, they may not work for everyone.
Sadly, not much research has been done to know about the benefits and risks associated with the use of OTC medications for weight loss. People on weight loss pills often say that these are nothing, but a waste of money and only bring side effects to the consumer. There are many over-the-counter weight pills sold without prescription and this may confuse many consumers.
Generally, doctors prescribe only one type of weight loss pills, i.e., orlistat. It is even available as OTC. The National Health Service (NHS) has stated that many medicines for treating obesity have been tested, but only orlistat has been found to be safe and effective. However, if one does not lose weight after three months of its use, he/she is not likely to lose weight and it may not be considered as an effective treatment for that person.
Also, one wants to stop the treatment, he/she must consult a doctor first. It is found that when people stop taking orlistat after prolonged use, they gradually regain weight – as much as 35% of the weight that they had lost when they were taking the medicine.
Ephedra, a Chinese herb, is also used in numerous weight loss products. It increases the rate of metabolism, but can cause unpleasant side effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure. It can also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Likewise, guarana is another prominent ingredient of many weight loss medicines and products. Ii also has stimulant effect and the concentration of caffeine is twice as much as is found in coffee beans. It is also known to cause side effects like irritability, anxiety and increased in heart rate.
One more common ingredient of weight loss product, bitter orange contains chemicals that suppress appetite and increase the rate of metabolism as it burns more calories. This drug too has side effects like arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke and even death.
Chromium is a mineral, which is known to burn body fat, but it cannot help you lose extra pounds. Hoodia is a plant, which is known to suppress appetite, but only temporarily. Guar gum from guar beans is also said to block the fat from getting absorbed and make you feel fuller, but there is no evidence to confirm its role in weight loss.
Therefore, the harsh truth is that even if you are on weight loss pills, you will still need to burn more calories than what you are consuming. In other words, you would not be able to lose weight even if you are on weight loss pills, but still eating more than what you are burning.
Most weight loss pills work by reducing your appetite and burning the fat. Weight loss pills attach themselves to the fat molecules; thereby, reducing the quantity that can be digested. Fat moves through the gut before the body extracts calories from it.
There are some medicines that have been approved by the FDA for losing weight. However, many are still unregulated. Most health experts will agree that the most appropriate method to lose weight is exercising regularly and consuming a well-balanced diet.
Nevertheless, your doctor is just the right person to help you find out if you are well suited to take prescription weight loss medicines. You will be a good fit if your BMI is more than 30, i.e., you are in the category of being obese. Also, a doctor may prescribe you weight loss medications in case you have obesity-related health conditions with BMI more than 27, or exercise, diet and lifestyle modifications have failed to bring about a decrease in your weight despite consistent efforts of six months.
Weight loss medications have a lot of controversy revolving around them. Numerous products have had to be removed from the market as they resulted in grave health conditions. Thus, these must be taken only after consultation form a health expert or doctor.