A 2017 study shows one in three American adults are overweight, some of whom drawn to dietary supplements as an easy solution to their current weight. These supplements are often not subject to strict FDA barriers because they do not technically claim to fight or prevent a disease or condition. The regulations diet pills fall under are similar to that of Flinstone vitamins or fish oil pills.
According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 15% of American adults have tried some form of these supplements. Aside from dietary supplements being taken to lose weight, which is what the majority of people take them for, they are also used as an energy booster or sexual stimulate.
The question is, do these dietary supplements work, and are they safe?
Each company will formulate their own cocktail of weight loss ingredients, making some supplements more or less healthy and effective than others. A portion of these ingredients are complicated compounds most haven’t heard of, while others are as familiar as caffeine or green tea powder. A few big ones to look out for are Aconite, Lobelia, Methylsynephrine, Red Yeast Rice, and Yohimbe.
These ingredients make claims of benefits ranging from improved athletic performance and weight loss to lowering bad cholesterol, these claims are not exactly backed by scientific research. Dietary supplement companies will typically hold small clinical trials, sometimes using a few different weight loss substances at once, and other forms of poor scientific methods in tests.
The list of possible side effects from taking these supplements is rather long and many Americans question whether they are worth the risk. A common side effect throughout most diet pills is stomach and intestinal problems, which typically manifests themselves in the form of nausea and diarrhea. These pills are known to raise blood pressure and heart rate making them a bad combination with other stimulants and prescription drugs. These supplements also commonly cause liver and kidney damage, especially if used over a long period of time or in high doses.
For more information on ingredients and side effects, check out this consumer report article.
Dietary supplement’s main goals are to make the user absorb less fat, reduce appetite, catalyze a faster breakdown of dietary fat, and heighten metabolism.
The above methods of weight loss are the reason for the side effects such as diarrhea or intestinal issues. Certain pills will increase the amount of water absorbed in the intestines to create a feeling of being full, this is designed to reduce one’s appetite. When a supplement reduces your body’s ability to break down and absorb fat through your intestines, it can result in less fat going to your stomach or other undesirable areas. Both of these will stress out your lower intestines which will lead to trips to the toilet.
Stimulants are often added to dietary supplements because they reduce appetite and increase energy, which is why you typically see caffeine and green tea powder included on the ingredients list. However, constantly taking something that gives you the energy to work out or be active, without allowing you to eat properly, you may find the crashes too much to bear.
So is there a quick fix to obesity?
Taking these supplements may result in the loss of between 10 and 30 pounds for some people, but this is putting a band-aid on a bigger issue. Physical health always has been and always will be mostly attributed to your diet and exercise habits. Taking shortcuts will always cost you in life, whether they cost you from lack of experience or lack of control of your bowls, it is always better to put in the work.
People who are trying to lose weight, and actually work out 1 hour per day, have been more successful in losing weight and keeping it off than people who don’t have a steady work out routine. Diet is the other main factor in weight loss, avoid sugar, bad calories, and red meats with high-fat content. Everyone’s diet is different and will call for different nutrients and vitamins, ask a nutritionist, or simply try new things and pay attention to what works for you.
For all of you starting your path to weight loss, check out this article showing common mistakes made by beginners.
Don’t give up, work hard, avoid shortcuts, believe in yourself!