Since 1962, the population of obese Americans grew from 13% to 31%. Now more than 60% of Americans are considered overweight with a BMI of 25 or more. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 20 years, and according to the U.S. Surgeon General report, over 300,000 deaths are linked to obesity every year. As these statistics continue to grow, it shouldn’t be surprising that we have seen a boom in the diet pill industry.
Prescription Diet Pills
Only available by prescription by a physician, these pills are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA), their side effects are monitored and they may be advertised and prescribed for weight loss under certain conditions and in certain pill-dosages. These drugs include Xenical, Solidax, and Phentermine.
Over-the-Counter Diet Pills and Weight Loss Supplements
The OTC diet and weight loss pills sector is the fastest growing sector of the weight loss industry. However, these diet pills are classified as food supplements rather than diet drugs, and are may not be regulated. These diet pills are not tested by Federal authorities, not subject to the same advertising, labeling or dosage requirements as prescription diet pills.
The herbal category is also not regulated by the FDA the same way drugs are. Considered foods by the FDA, and not drugs, you can typically find them in health food and vitamin supplement stores. Many of them will be labeled as all natural.
The side effects and dangers of OTC diet and weight loss pills can vary enormously because many of these pills contain a cocktail of ingredients and because dosage instructions may be inadequate. The dangers of prescription diet pills are consistent with other similar drugs. Accidental overdose is a common problem when taking these diet pills. Most prescription diet pills suppress the appetite, which causes you to consume fewer calories. On the surface, this seems like the ultimate solution for losing weight. However, as you reduce your caloric intake, your metabolism also slows down. As your metabolism slows, the amount of weight you lose will slow down as well. This is why it is common for people to lose only a certain amount of weight while taking diet pills alone.
Herbal versus Synthetic
OTC Diet pills with ‘Natural’, ‘Herbal’ or similar descriptions are not necessarily any healthier than other diet or weight loss pills. In fact, some of these herbal diet pills are associated with some major health concerns. Kava products are herbal pills based on the Kava Kava herbs and have been shown to cause severe liver damage, called hepatic toxicity. There are documented cases of liver failure leading to transplants.
Today’s Diet Pill Industry
OTC diet and weight loss pills are becoming more powerful yet remain unregulated. Without doubt, this has allowed certain pill-manufacturers to promote useless, even dangerous diet pills as the solution to weight loss without any evidence to support such weight-loss claims. Many documented cases of organ failure, and even death have been attributed to the ingredients within these products. Examples of these ingredients include Kava, Ephedra, and Fen-Phen, to name a few. Advocates of this industry say their products are safe when taken in the recommended dosage.
Consult your physician
Diet pills are best suited for those who are considered medically obese. If you feel you may be a serious candidate for using diet pills, please consult your physician. Many of these products are contraindicated for use by those suffering ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Your best results will come by use under medical supervision and in conjunction with a healthy nutrition plan and consistent exercise and activity.