The Side Effects of Diet Pills

If we want to take a pill to enhance weight loss, we’re inundated with choices. Yet the sad thing is, life is never as simple as popping a pill and watching the weight drop off. Unfortunately, putting foreign substances in our body is nearly always going to result in one or more unwanted side effects.

A diet pill that has gained a lot of publicity in recent years is one known by the name of Alli. Alli is available over the counter and is a less potent version of the prescription only drug Orlistat, or Xenical.

The drug operates by inhibiting the body’s ability to absorb fat. While this sounds all well and good in theory, any fat consumed has to come out somewhere; usually in the form of difficult or even impossible to control bowel movements. Pretty grim as side-effects come.

What’s more, we need some fats and unfortunately, Alli and friends are unable to distinguish between those that are bad, and those that are good. Consequently, dieters who continue using the drug for any length of time become undernourished and potentially deficient in a number of vitamins including A, D, E and K.

So what are the benefits?

The manufacturers of these drugs claim that you will lose 50% more weight than you would through dieting alone. A substantial amount (if true) but is that really worth the adverse effects? You’re still going to need to diet and exercise in order to gain any results, so why not just take a little longer and avoid nutrient deficiency and ‘please God let the world swallow me up right now’ levels of embarrassment?

The alternatives

There are a number of diet products that are derived from nature and from what we know, have no side-effects.

The acai berry for instance, is simply a fruit (though many of the supplements available contain extracts from the fruit, not the whole fruit). It has no special qualities except being remarkably high in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.

It’s thought that the acai berry aids weight loss by making the body feel full more quickly and for longer (due to its fibre content) and by raising the metabolism and boosting energy levels (due to its vitamin content).

As it’s merely a humble fruit, acai berry side effects are non-existent (bar a small risk of vitamin overdose). However, there are many people who state it’s ineffective, and unlike Alli and other ‘chemical’ diet drugs, the acai berry has little scientific backing for its claims.

So what else is there?

You could always try ephedrine, also known as ephedra. These drugs do work well and they do so by reducing the appetite. Yet they also, are not without their side effects; in fact, if you thought the side effects of Alli were bad, think again.

They often increase blood pressure, meaning that those with an underlying heart condition become at great risk of heart failure and stroke.

However, consider the fact that these pills encourage you to eat very little, which in turn encourages your body to seek energy from your stored fat and your muscle (including your heart). The consequence of this is damage to the heart which then puts you in danger of the aforementioned; even if you were perfectly healthy beforehand.

You might also experience headache, back pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, acne and heart palpitations. Oh, and you’ll most likely get addicted to them. But that’s probably all water under the bridge when you consider you could die.

So what should I do?

Well there’s always good, old-fashioned diet and exercise. But if you’re really determined to take diet pills, be sure to do your research and weigh up the pros, cons and risks before you start popping pills.

You could choose the non-existent acai berry side effects, or you could choose downright embarrassing or just plain dangerous side effects. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but please, don’t take any drug, whether it’s over the counter or especially over the internet, without being fully informed on what it is and what it might do.

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Which Acai Berry? Amy is interested in health and fitness and related issues.

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