Should You Consider Using Diet Pills When Losing Weight?
In an ideal world, for those of us who would like to shed some of that extra weight the thought of being able to take a weight loss pill each day and see the pounds simply disappear is like a dream come true. Although nutritional science is not quite there yet, steps are being taken in the right direction. However, as far as diet pills go, there are risks as well as benefits to be taken into consideration prior to attempting to lose weight in this way.
There are two basic approaches taken by pharmaceutical companies in the production of fat burning diet pills, namely stimulation and blocking. To stimulate and block what though, that is the question?
Suppression of the Appetite
Diet tablets, or pills which work on the brain in order to stimulate the central nervous system fall into the stimulation category. Previously known as kinds of amphetamines, or more popularly as 'speed' the pills stimulate the dieter and produce the side effect of suppressing the appetite.
In theory the idea works. The basic equation of dieting tells us that by eating less the chances of losing weight are higher, just as weight gain comes from consuming more calories than we need. Therefore, taking in fewer calories than you burn off will result in pounds being lost.
Nonetheless, taking drugs does involve other real side effects of a more serious nature. Speed, for example, can bring on palpitations, sleeplessness and diarrhea as well as a lack of interest in sexual activities. Psychotic episodes may even be experienced in some cases and with time, when the appetite suppression stops working anyway these unwanted side effects become problematic. When people became more aware of the effects of amphetamine, its use as a dietary aid was discontinued.
A more up to date prescription diet pill which falls into the stimulation category is phentermine. Taking this pill works by stimulating the hypothalamus, a gland which controls certain neurotransmitters associated with your desire for food. The side effects are far less severe than amphetamines, and except for maybe suffering with insomnia, this diet pill is considered safe as far as short term use goes. As with amphetamines though, the appetite suppression will eventually stop.
Blockage of Fat
Taking an entirely different approach to eating and digestion, the second category of pills used to lose weight does not in any way regulate the intake of food. This method works by controlling the amount of retained calories. Every digested gram of fat is energy dense and consists of 9 calories so in removing fat from the body, the number of stored calories becomes less.
Orlistat is a prescription diet pill available under the brand name Xenical which does exactly that. It works by changing the body's fat absorbing efficiency, and gets rid of unwanted fat in the feces. The same drug is available in a lower dosage under the name of Alli.
Nevertheless, these pills also have side effects which show themselves in oily stools (because of the added fat) and spontaneous defecation is likely to occur when you least want it to.
Many people feel that the side effects they experience are worth the benefits reaped whilst others who have tried the diet pills find they don't work as well as expected or that too much will power is required. For those who don't want to be bothered with planning meals, carbohydrates to fat ratios and consumed calories, the diet pill will help them lose weight more easily.
Just as you would with any other approach to dieting, its best that you consult your physician and take the advice offered prior to taking any diet pills to help you lose weight.