Obesity has been on the rise for the past 40 years while childhood obesity has drastically increased within the past 20 years. The population of obese Americans has grown since 1962 from 13% to 31%. Today there are more than 60% of Americans considered to be 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 through a physician, these pills are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA). The side effects of these pills 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 fastest growing sector in the weight loss industry is that of the OTC diet and weight loss pills sector. However, these diet pills are classified as food supplements rather than diet drugs, and may not be regulated. These diet pills are not tested by Federal authorities and are not subject to the same advertising, labeling or dosage requirements as prescription diet pills.
The herbal category is regulated by the FDA like drugs are, mainly because they are considered foods by the FDA, and not drugs. You can find herbal supplements in your local health food and vitamin supplement stores. Many of them are labeled as all natural.
The side effects and dangers of OTC diet and weight loss pills can vary enormously. The reason for this is because they contain a cocktail of ingredients and 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. The ultimate solution to many for losing weight is to use these prescription diet pills since they will suppress the appetite, causing you to consume fewer calories. As you reduce your caloric intake, your metabolism slows down as well as the amount of weight you are losing. That is why it is common when taking diet pills, to lose only a certain amount of weight .
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 including liver damage. 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 from Kava products.
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. You should consult your physician if you feel you may be a serious candidate for using diet pills. 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.