For an overweight individual, quick and easy weight reducing methods may be the most lucrative option. Diet pills, heating belts, weight reduction capsules, Ayurvedic slimming powders, pills, Ayurvedic oils, and meal replacers are the current weight loss attractions available in the market and promoted by the product advertisers.
Reducing weight through healthy eating and vigorous exercise is cumbersome and time consuming, and let's face it - it does not always work. So, people resort to the easy methods of losing weight.
AdvertisementBut are these methods safe? Are the medical claims of these weight loss supplements and aids authentic? Are they FDA approved? Have they gone through the various regulatory tests and processes? Do they help achieve permanent weight loss? Do they not have severe side effects?
We as consumers need to be aware!
We need to be clear about these supplements and aids before believing in a weight loss product or process!
Certain approved products, may be supportive or supplemental to weight loss. But at the end, diet coupled with exercise is the only way to achieve sustainable and healthy loss. Time and again it has proved to be the ultimate path towards holistic health. All shortcut methods, most of the times completely beat the purpose, demotivate an individual and is a waste of the money invested.
Diet pills are agents meant to reduce weight. These drugs claim to help one lose weight either by:-
• suppressing appetite;
• increasing the metabolic rate (BMR) which controls the expenditure of fat;
• preventing the body from absorbing specific nutrients;
• neutralizing digestive enzyme alpha amylase before it can convert starch into glucose and then fat; and
• reducing cholesterol and converting carbohydrates to fats.
Diet pills industry is on the rise worldwide, despite their numerous side effects and little real evidence. In India there are several Ayurvedic herbal remedies that claim effective weight loss. They claim to be all natural with zero side effects. While such claims are appealing to many people it is important to know that Very few products seem to meet all legal requirements. Also such diet aids are not permanent cures and are always recommended with controlled diet and vigorous exercise.
Though some of the ingredients in ayurvedic or allopathic products do speed up metabolism or control hunger as they claim, the effects are tiny. They also take a long time to show results. With such slimming products one can expect to lose about half a kilo in a month. On the contrary, with good diet and exercise one may lose upto 2 to 4 kg in a month.
Dr Sujeet Jha, head of endocrinology, obesity and diabetes at Max Healthcare in Delhi, says, "Certain anti-obesity pills like sibutramine act on the brain to reduce appetite, thereby leading to weight loss". It was removed from the market because it caused heart problems and strokes.
Orlistat is the only weight loss medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It works by blocking certain enzymes and preventing the body from absorbing fat. According to drugs.com, gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence with discharge, oily stool, fecal urgency and fecal incontinence are the most commonly observed side effects of orlistat (Xenical). Further, side effects such as fever, chills, back pain and mild skin rash may also occur.
Michael Levy, director of the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance says that most weight loss products don't live up to their claims. Even worse, they could cause serious harm. Dozens of products being touted as dietary supplements actually contain hidden prescription drugs or compounds that have not been adequately studied in humans.
FDA has made it a priority to seek out these dangerous products, stop them from being imported, and take legal action against firms that manufacture and distribute them. The FDA needs consumers to be aware of these dangerous products and to learn how to identify them.
Consumers should look for warning signs of tainted products, given by FDA. They are:-
• promises of quick action, such as "lose 10 pounds in one week"
• use of the words "guaranteed" or "scientific breakthrough"
• labeled or marketed in a foreign language
• marketed through mass e-mails
• marketed as an herbal alternative to an FDA-approved drug or as having effects similar to prescription drugs
If one is using or considering using any product marketed as a dietary /weight loss supplement, FDA suggests the following:
• Ask your health care professional for help distinguishing between reliable and questionable information.
• ask yourself if it sounds too good to be true
• Be cautious if the claims for the product seem exaggerated or unrealistic.
• Watch out for extreme claims such as "quick and effective" or "totally safe."
Make sure you don't fall for fraudulent claims. Be an informed customer!
2. Which? Right choice, April 2011