The weight-loss journey can be long and daunting hence the temptation to lose weight quickly is real. Weight loss pills are increasingly becoming a popular choice for instant weight loss. However, the question that everyone has been dying to know is whether diet pills are safe and effective.
The supplement industry may want you to believe that weight loss pills are the magic bullet for losing weight. This is far from the truth. Pills should not be used to compensate for unhealthy eating habits. Some bits of evidence exist suggesting that there are certain weight loss pills for women that can actually help in losing weight although they should only be used to compliment a healthy lifestyle that involves being more physically active. It is important to consult with your doctor before taking these supplements as they could be unsafe for people on medication or those with underlying health conditions.
While the most effective way of losing weight remains to be exercising a lot and eating a healthy diet, weight loss supplements for women such as weight loss pills, herbal products, prescription drugs or nonprescription drugs are vital tools that can help you on your weight loss journey. But as much as these products can be helpful, there is still relatively little evidence to proof their safety.
A 2016 study on prescriptions drugs showed these drugs can significantly increase the chances of achieving meaningful weight loss within one year if the person taking them makes the right lifestyle changes. Meaningful weight loss here simply means losing enough weight to lower the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This shows that prescription weight loss pills can help but they should not be expected to work miracles. In fact, they may not work for some while the benefits may still be modest. A lot still remains unknown regarding the potential benefits and safety of over-the-counter diet pills.
Types of Over-the-counter Weight Loss Treatments
These products are categorized into two main groups namely:
– Nonprescription drugs
– Dietary supplements
For nonprescription drugs, the manufacturing companies are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide accurate results from human clinical trials showing the effectiveness and safety of their nonprescription drugs. The manufacturers of dietary supplements for weight loss, on the other hand, have the responsibility to ensure that they make honest claims about the safety of their products although these claims are not subject to FDA’s review or approval. However, FDA can ban a supplement that the agency considers to be unsafe. The manufactures may also be asked to voluntarily withdraw the said product from the market. If a manufacturer makes a false claim about a product with no evidence to support it, the FDA can also take action.
Any dietary supplement claiming to be “scientifically proven” to help reduce weight should also include some form of evidence to support their claim. The fact that there is very limited research on weight loss supplements makes it extremely difficult to establish their safety and efficiency. Just because a product is natural does not necessarily mean it is safe. Some dietary supplements have even been linked to serious health problems like liver damage although this is rare. For instance, FDA has banned the use of Ephedra/Ma-huang, an Herbalife product that was once used as a Herbalife shake due to possible adverse effects that include high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, mood changes, irregular heart rate, and seizures.
Another product known as bitter orange an herbal stimulant has been touted to be the Ephedra substitute for weight loss but it contains an active ingredient that has the similar chemical properties to those of ephedra that could be associated with the same adverse effects. As mentioned, as a result of limited research on such products, their safety is still not well-understood.
Importance of Researching Before Buying A Weight Loss Supplements for Women
Before buying over-the-counter weight loss pills for women, it is good to do your homework to get the right information. The internet is a good source of such information but it should be taken with a pinch of salt as not everything you find online may be factual. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) are excellent sources of information about many dietary supplements. It is advisable to include your doctor in your weight loss plans especially for those with underlying health problems, pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as those on prescribed medication.