Diet Pills: Part One

Posted by: Nicholas Grey  :  Category: Dietary Aids

Quite a few years ago my wife decided that the solution to her weight loss desires lay with Fen-Fen and her own doctor readily supplied the prescriptions and she did a quite remarkable transformation and became somewhat “boney.” I well remember on one of our trips to Britain at the time how svelte she appeared. The photos are a reminder of those times. But of course the problems with the drug combo had been hidden and it was several years before Mrs. Grey learned of the minor heart problem that she had developed. But as she did before Fen-Fen so she has proceeded to do since, as she searches for the magic bullet of weight loss. Pretty much everyone knows there is no magic bullet, but like the Templars seeking the Holy Grail, and The Conquistadors searching for Cibola, even Juan Ponce de Leon didn’t find The Fountain of Youth. That doesn’t stop millions of people looking with hope at the latest slimming discovery. So here is an article that may open your eyes.

Over-the-counter weight-loss pills: Do they work?

The temptation to use over-the-counter weight-loss pills to lose weight fast is strong. But are these products safe and effective?

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The appeal of losing weight quickly is hard to resist. But do weight-loss pills and products lighten anything but your wallet? And are they a safe option for weight loss? Here’s a look at some over-the-counter weight-loss pills and what they will and won’t do for you.

Over-the-counter (OTC) weight-loss pills: What you need to know
A number of weight-loss pills are available at your local drugstore, supermarket or health food store. Even more options are available online. Most haven’t been proved effective, and some may be downright dangerous.

How can companies sell potentially unsafe products? Dietary supplements and weight-loss aids aren’t subject to the same rigorous standards as are prescription drugs. Thus, they can be sold with limited proof of effectiveness or safety. Once a product is on the market, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors its safety and can take action to ban or recall dangerous products.

For this reason, it’s important to do your homework if you’re thinking about trying weight-loss pills. Read labels and talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Also check the FDA Web site for alerts about safety concerns and product recalls. The table shows common weight-loss pills and what the research shows about their effectiveness and safety.

Product Claim Effectiveness Safety
Alli — OTC version of prescription drug orlistat (Xenical) Decreases absorption of dietary fat Effective; weight-loss amounts typically less for OTC versus prescription FDA investigating reports of liver injury
Bitter orange Increases calories burned Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Possibly unsafe
Chitosan Blocks absorption of dietary fat Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Possibly safe
Chromium Increases calories burned, decreases appetite and builds muscle Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Likely safe
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) Reduces body fat and builds muscle Possibly effective Possibly safe
Country mallow (heartleaf) Decreases appetite and increases calories burned Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Likely unsafe and banned by FDA
Ephedra Decreases appetite Possibly effective Likely unsafe and banned by FDA
Green tea extract Increases calorie and fat metabolism and decreases appetite Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Possibly safe
Guar gum Blocks absorption of dietary fat and increases feeling of fullness Possibly ineffective Likely safe
Hoodia Decreases appetite Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Insufficient information

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