Weight Loss Pills: Are They Safe?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

In terms of diet pills, before asking about their effectiveness, it?s better to ask: are they safe? Let?s face it ? a diet pill manufacturer is going to brag about how many pounds you?ll lose by taking their product, not how many side effects you?ll have. As a result, most customers are not given enough information about the safety of diet products and unfortunately might put their health at risk.

Phenylpropanolamine and caffeine

Most over-the-counter diet pills contain a combination of medications that have various benefits and harms. Usually they include phenylpropanolamine and caffeine, which suppress appetite. Phenlpropanolamine stimulates the central nervous system and has many effects on the body, in that it controls appetite. This is why it?s a key ingredient in most diet pills. Caffeine acts in a similar way and also causes a person to be alert and awake.

There is proof that diet pills can effectively reduce a person?s weight, but many health experts question the relevance of this. Recently, there have been findings that show phenylpropanolamine to cause serious side effects such as high blood pressure, nausea, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and even hallucinations. Similarly, caffeine can affect a person?s blood circulation and its effects on blood pressure are unpredictable. Obese individuals are especially in danger of hypertension ? which is ironic, as the heavier a person is, the more likely he or she will be to take a diet pill.

Laxatives and Diuretics

Some diet pills on the market contain laxatives and diuretics. These merely force a person?s body to eliminate vital body fluids. Specifically, a laxative stimulates a dieter?s large bowel to empty, but only after food and calories have been absorbed via the small intestines. So fluids are lost in the process and thus the body reacts by retaining water and consequentially, bloating occurs. This simply causes a person to feel they need to lose more weight. Basically, laxatives not only don?t work, but are counterproductive.

Prolonged use of laxatives also cause cramps, bloating, bulimia, anorexia, severe abdominal pain, dehydration, gas, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte disturbances, and chronic constipation and when laxative use finally ceases, a person can experience withdrawal symptoms. Laxatives should only be used to correct irregular bowel movement; otherwise they simply cause problems.

Likewise, diuretics are a very dangerous component of diet pills, since they cause heart arrhythmias and dizziness. They also lead to dehydration and ultimately, kidney and organ damage due to the subsequent imbalance of electrolytes within the body. In order to protect itself from further loss of water, the body will again, retain more water and cause an individual to feel even fatter than before.


So far, no pills or artificial diet supplements can adequately replace regular exercise and a nutritious diet. If you want to lose weight, your aim should be for a healthy body, not a damaged one. Don?t fall prey to misleading diet commercials and bear in mind that there is no such thing as a ?quick fix? to weight loss.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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