‘The Skinny’ on diet pills!
(This is part two of a two part series on nutritional supplements. For part one read ELIXIRS OF LIFE?)
Of the more than $30 billion annually in the USA on dietary supplements, the majority on the purchases are spent on weight-loss products. An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend actually $33 billion each year on weight loss products when you start to include things like diet-foods and diet beverages. Most of this money is completely wasted.
As with other nutritional supplements, Weight loss supplements come in three forms: pills, powders, and liquids.
Although vitamins weren’t discoverer until 1912 and only started being marketed in 1915, weight loss supplements actually precede vitamins by decades, having been first sold in the late 1880’s. Being overweight is not an illness, BUT is a health problem which can lead to many other health complications including various illness such as diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, carrying excessive amounts of weight on your body will also lead to depression and an early grave.
When people think of weight loss supplements, diet pills are the first thing that comes to mind. As most of these products come in pill form, we will use the terms ‘diet pills’ and ‘weight loss supplements’ interchangeably throughout this article.
Diet pills are sold two ways, by doctor prescription, or over-the-counter. They all have side-effects, and most are not intended for long term use because they can lead to other serious health issues such as heart-attacks, stroke, seizures and death. Years ago, a weight-loss bar I was eating regularly, the ABB EXTREME RIPPED FORCE bar which contained a combination of caffeine and (the now-banned) ephedra had that very disclaimer. I decided I’d rather be dead than fat so the warning was of little concern to me.
Some of these pills can be addictive, and all of them loose their effectiveness over time as your body builds up a tolerance to the active ingredients. Many of the products contain caffeine as an ingredient.
Four prescription weight-loss drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use: bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), orlistat (Xenical) and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia).
The non-prescription diet pills sold over-the-counter are too numerous to list, but they come in four categories:
- Appetite suppressants
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Thermogenics (fat burners)
- Metabolism Boosters (stimulants)
Over-the-counter weight-loss-pills are mostly herbal supplements usually containing any or all of the following :
- Garcinia cambogia (recently pulled from shelves)
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
- Raspberry ketones
- Green tea
- Bee pollen
- Maroon bush
- Butcher’s broom
- Olive leaf
- Green tea
They may or may not contain caffeine, and / or similar stimulants, and may or may not be fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, usually in the form of a proprietary blend that is purported to help you lose weight fast!
“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.” – Mark Will-Weber
By the numbers
- A pound of fat is 3500 calories.
- The Standard American Diet (SAD) is 2000-2500 calories a day.
- A slice of cheese pizza is about 250 calories.
- A McDonald’s Big Mac is 563 calories.
- On average a 5K run will burn between 300 and 400 calories.
- The fattest man who ever lived was Jon Brower Minnoch who at one point weighed 1,400 lbs. He died in 1983 just short of his 42nd birthday.
Men were meant to climb mountains NOT become mountains. I am NOT endorsing fat-shaming. It is IMPOSSIBLE to fully enjoy life in such a disgusting condition. There is a reason the term is morbidly obese. IF you are carrying a few extra pounds, know that I too have struggled with my weight for years before I hit upon the proper combination of diet and exercise that worked for me. Notice I said diet, not diet-pills. I am still overweight, but in the past three years I have lost 75lbs and I can run faster and further than I ever have before. A few weeks ago, I ran up a small mountain with friends, and today if it doesn’t rain I will be going for a 10K (6.2 mile) run with some of those same friends, just for fun.
The diet pills are placebos. If you are losing weight fast you’re losing water weight, not burning fat.
The ONLY proven way to reduce weight is through diet. Eat REAL food, not DIET food. Don’t drink DIET soda, drink WATER. Water is one of the seven essential nutrients your body needs. Jesus had water, he didn’t need Diet Mountain Dew.
It is also impossible to lose weight by exercising. Exercising is VERY important and works in conjunction with a healthy diet. Exercising tones and builds muscles. Increasing muscle mass will increase your metabolism, BUT you can gain calories faster by eating then you can burn them off by exercising, so dieting is the key. There is no magic pill. As always I wish you success and happiness!