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Diet Pills: Are They Safe?

Jun 28, 2008
Diet pills are one of the modern inventions for losing weight and preventing excessive weight gain. While the original idea behind diet pills was to suppress one's appetite so that they would have less of a desire to eat or overeat, newer innovations in the diet pill sector involve assisting the body in burning fat and carbohydrates. Although the manufactures of these diet pills make bold claims, one question always remains: are diet pills safe?

How Diet Pills Work

While all diet pills claim that they are safe and even beneficial to your health, many questions remain about what kind of short and long term effects using diet pills can have on your body.

Pills that control appetite usually do so by including large doses of caffeine. Because caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant, caffeine-based diet pills tend to be effective in curbing one's appetite. There are, however, significant side effects: most of these types of diet pills make people feel nervous and "shaky" after taking them. In addition, long-term use of caffeine can have dangerous effects on blood sugar.

Some diet pill manufacturers have opted to use synthetic stimulants so that they can claim that their product does not include caffeine. But in many cases, the synthetic chemicals used as a replacement for caffeine can be even more detrimental to one's health than caffeine. The chemical ephedra, for example, was found to trigger heart attacks in a number of men as well as women who took diet pills that contained this chemical. Ephedra is also said to be damaging to the circulatory system.

In spite of these warnings and dangerous chemicals, the diet pill industry continues to grow, ballooning to a $33 billion dollar industry each year.

All-Natural Diet Pills

Some manufacturers have begun to develop and produce all-natural diet pills that claim to use holistic approaches in order to suppress one's appetite and give them a boost of energy without the use of dangerous or synthetic stimulants. If you are considering using diet pills in order to lose weight, these are most likely the safest approach.

Before beginning to take diet pills, you should always speak with your physician, whether or not the diet pills in question require a prescription. Your doctor may tell you it is best to leave diet pills entirely alone, depending on your health and any medications you may already be taking.

If, however, you are given clearance by your doctor to use diet pills, plan on taking them only as a short-term supplement to your dietary effort, not as a long-term solution to remaining trim. The chemical known as phenylpropanolamine is found in a majority of diet pills and can become very dangerous to your health if ingested for more than three months.

If you are looking at diet pills as a supplement to your diet plan, the best course of action is to take them only for a short time at the very beginning of your diet. In the long run, a healthy diet and regular exercise is still the best way to lose weight and keep it off in the long term.
About the Author
Kim Archer writes about women's wellness. She is publisher of The Internet Spa, where you'll find up-to-date information to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.
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