Every company claims to have the best diet pills on the market. Each ad touts how the products are revolutionary and ground-breaking with never-before-seen results. The before and after pictures alone are enough to send anyone who is struggling with his or her weight, which is about 70% of the American public, reaching for the shelves. With results like these, you would be crazy not to try them, right?
Not so fast. People who are anxious to drop a few pounds are willing to believe almost anything when it comes to weight loss schemes. Our bodies are made to store fat as a defense mechanism against starvation. Once that fat is attached, the body fights to keep it. We must work ever harder to rid ourselves of extra pounds, and as we get older, and hormone levels drop, it becomes harder still. Reducing caloric intake is hard and finding time to exercise is even harder for most people. When a fad diet claims to shed pounds in only a few days, or when a diet pill offers to do all of the work for you, it is hard to resist believing.
Weight loss drugs are arguably the worst culprit in exaggerating diet results. Each one says it is the best on the market, but most of them work in the same way and probably don’t work at all. When sold over-the-counter, the FDA does not regulate these types of pills, so the efficacy is in question immediately, as is the safety. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are only a handful of ingredients used in OTC weight loss pills, and the only ones that have officially been proven to be effective are orlistat, sibutramine, and ephedra. Orlistat is under investigation for causing liver damage. Sibutramine and ephedra have been banned because they can kill you.
Just because the FDA hasn’t proven that these drugs work doesn’t mean that the results advertised are false. The people you see in the ads are real. Their weight loss is real. They probably took the pills they are selling. They probably also read the fine print that comes with each drug. Every weight loss pill suggests that, along with the daily supplement, you follow an exercise regimen and reduce your caloric intake. Does that sound familiar? The drugs that help people to lose a few pounds or stay in shape work in one of three ways. They claim to burn fat, suppress the appetite, or increase energy, but the true weight loss comes from exercise and calorie restriction. It could be that the pills that claim to be the best ever can slightly help you to achieve your goals, but wouldn’t you rather save the money you’re spending on pills on the new wardrobe you’ll need when the weight is all gone?