It’s an overstatement to say that diet pills don’t work. There are some weight loss pills that have some degree of effectiveness for some people.
But there are zero that even come close to living up to the kind of marketing hype you’ll see on TV and on the Internet trying to create the impression that you need but pop these pills to soon end up with the slim figure of the model in the ad.
Prescription-strength diet pills are the ones most likely to result in significant weight loss. Most of these fall into one of two categories.
Some are amphetamine appetite suppressants, such as phentermine, which has been around since the 1950s. Appetite suppressants work by increasing serotonin or catecholamine levels in the brain, causing the body to believe it is already full.
Some are fat blockers, like orlistat. These work by interfering with your body’s usual process of breaking down and absorbing the fat in the food you consume.
However, these weight loss pills are only effective to a modest degree. WebMD notes that with the best of these prescription pills, you’re looking at a typical weight loss of 5-22 pounds in a year. In yearlong clinical studies of orlistat in particular, only about half of the subjects lost weight, and they lost an average of only 5% of their body mass. That’s about as good a result as any of these drugs can obtain.
Furthermore, when we’re talking about the “best” weight loss pills, we need to take into consideration more than simply how much weight they’ll help you lose and how fast. We also need to look at the drawbacks, the potential side effects.
These side effects can include addiction, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, diarrhea, fatigue, insomnia, nervousness, and more.
So you have to decide if the amount of weight loss you can expect outweighs the downside of taking the pills.
Over-the-counter diet pills and supplements have less, but still some, risk of side effects like these, but they also are less effective in bringing about weight loss than the prescription versions.
“Men’s Health” looked at some of the currently most popular and highly touted such weight loss products:
* Ephedra-free Hydroxycut,
* Prolab Therma Pro Ephedra Free,
* Trim Spa Completely Ephedra Free,
* Xenadrine EFX, and
* Zantrex 3,
and concluded that it was unable to recommend any of them. If you wish to further research over-the-counter options, this is certainly a good list to start with, but their position is that you shouldn’t get your hopes up.
Certainly prescription and over-the-counter weight loss products are not all worthless. If you don’t expect miracles, and you are aware of and willing to accept the drawbacks, you may get results that will please you.
But either instead of or in addition to taking these pills, your best bet is a healthier lifestyle, where you exercise and eat good food in moderation.
Dustin Driver, “Extreme Weight Loss Techniques.” Ask Men.
“Over-the-counter weight-loss pills: Do they work?” Mayo Clinic.
“Prescription Weight Loss Drugs.” WebMD.
“Which Diet Pills Really Work?” Men’s Health.