Are Weight Loss Pills Safe

The weight loss industry is currently awash with slimming products that make wild and spurious claims to be the best or cheapest on the open market. Unlike prescribed slimming pills, non prescription or "over the counter" products do not need to undergo the same rigorous testing and standardizing procedures and so manufacturers along with the retailers are keen to get the products out to market with minimal clinical evidence and sell on the strength of "cheap" rather than "proven" via clever marketing and advertising. The market is volume driven with the emphasis on quantity rather than quality.

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Who Buys Slimming Pills.

Slimming tablets, supplements or pills are sold to desperate consumers eager to control their weight, the majority of the industry understands this and so their message appeals. Fast and Rapid are words that are often used to sell. "Rapid" and "Weight Loss" should not appear in the same sentence. The weight loss pill industry is huge. Currently, in the United States alone it is worth over sixty billion dollars ($60 billion) with over 10% of the products sold either fraudulent or harmful.

What Are The Types Of Weight Loss Pills.

Possibly the best known weight loss supplement available to buy today is Hoodia. Hoodia is a natural ingredient that comes from a cactus like plant that grows in desert like conditions of South Africa.Hoodia contains a chemical called P57. P57 is an extremely powerful and effective substance that acts as an appetite suppressant. The problem with Hoodia is that it also contains a dozen other chemicals that are of no use in fight for weight loss. The process for extracting the P57 from Hoodia (Gordonii) takes over 5 years, this is costly and time consuming. In recent times Hoodia rather than P57 has become synonymous with weight loss and so an estimated 80% Hoodia branded slimming products contain no trace of P57. So in effect consumers are buying Hoodia related products without any appetite suppressing substance.

Other appetite suppressants such as Ephedra and Phentermine can be purchased over the counter but both have negative side effects.

Ephedra can cause both physical and mental damage to the consumer. It is an amphetamine-like compound that stimulates the central nervous system, misuse can lead to life threatening consequences. The FDA has issued several warnings about the use of Ephedra as diet product. Phentermine is usually a prescribed medication for the clinically obese, although this can be bought over the counter advised use is short term and under strict medical supervision. Although the potential side affects are mild they are very real; blurred vision, dry mouth, sleeplessness, irritability, chest pain and palpitations.

Fat burning and blocking supplements have very little evidence surrounding them to suggest that they can be effective as a slimming aid.

Fat burners; Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a fatty acid produced by bacteria found in the stomachs of livestock type animals (cows and sheep) as well as certain types of plants such as sunflowers and safflowers albeit in smaller quantities. At present it is not clinically proven that CLA is effective as a weight reducing product. Initial studies have shown very little conclusive proof. However studies have shown that expectant mothers or mothers that are breast feeing should avoid this type of supplement.

Fat blockers; there have been some hysteria surrounding Chitosan - a fibre extracted from shellfish. Outrageous claims have been made but most of the studies have been carried out on animals and as yet it is unproven on humans.In conclusion both fat burners and fat blockers have no scientific or medical evidence that they work and have no long term side effects. This is also an expensive choice.

Prescribed Weight Loss Pills. Xenical (Orlistat) are mostly used for clinical obesity and cannot be purchased legally over the counter. A consultation with a doctor or GP is required. Xenical binds with dietary fat and stops them being absorbed into the body. Although this is a proven method for losing weight doctors are often only to prescribe to the obese, meaning that the slightly overweight are often denied the medication.

Over The Counter Fat Binders. Fat binding is possibly the most effective way to combat obesity and control weight. Although relatively new to the market - a product called Proactol has been given medical backing, approval and is now a certified medical product (MDD 93/42/EEC) and is manufactured in accordance to EN ISO 13485:2003 standards.

Proactol is a 100% herbal product and unlike Hoodia has a standard attached to it. So consumers can be confident that they are buying and administering something that contains the weight reducing element.

It is important to remember that for the advantages a pill, tablet or supplement can give, for absolute success in achieving weight loss targets a healthy diet and exercise is also required.

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