Losing weight is a top priority for a lot of people, but choosing diet pills over good diet and exercise can cause a lot of problems. Find out more, here…
Taking diet pills is something that took off during the 20th century, and is still prevalent massively now, in the world of social media. That said, it is an arguably ineffective way to lose weight, and is a huge risk in more ways than one.
For starters, you could find yourself with a whole host of health issues. What’s more, if you buy them illegally or share them with your friends, you could end up facing conspiracy charges.
In this post, we’re going to discuss all the risks associated with taking diet pills to give you an idea of what you’re getting into if you decide to take them. Take a look…
What Are the Risks of Taking Diet Pills?
As we said in the intro to this post, diet pills are a dangerous way to lose weight. Instead, traditional weight loss diets, such as the ketogenic diet, are a healthier, less risky, alternative. Here are some of the ways that diet pills can be harmful to anyone who takes them…
Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease
The primary ingredient of a lot of diet pills are stimulants. These stimulants speed up the body’s metabolism and heart rate to increase the amount of energy it burns off. Since fat is stored on the body to be used as energy, these pills make the user slimmer.
However, because these pills artificially crank up your heart rate, they can lead to irregular heartbeats (arrythmias) and damage the valves in your heart. This could cause you to have a heart attack, or give you cardiovascular disease further down the road.
These stimulants would usually be prescribed by a doctor who would weigh up the risks and give you an appropriate dosage. However, they often make it onto the market as diet pills due to poor regulation of dietary supplements.
Other diet pills that don’t use prescription-level stimulants are simply a combination of caffeine and other diuretics which cause water loss. As most people in the dietary community know, this is not true weight loss and the water weight will return.
On top of that you run the risk of severe dehydration if you take these diet pills regularly. This can cause organ damage and other serious health complications if left untreated.
Speaking of organ failure, diet pills have also been found to cause issues with liver function. For those of you who don’t know, the liver helps your body process the nutrients in your food, clears toxic substances from your body, and stabilises your blood sugar.
Research conducted in a 2011 study from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York found that a particular type of diet pill known as a ‘fat burner’ – which includes herbal and tree-derived ingredients – can lead to acute liver poisoning and failure.
The study also found that some diet pills are linked with hepatitis, a type of liver inflammation that can cause permanent damage or scarring to this important organ.
A different 2011 study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology found that a weigh-loss compound, known as DNP, can cause cataracts and other vision related issues in users of diet pills that contain it.
For those of you who only have peripheral knowledge of cataracts, it is characterised by cloudy imperfections on your eye’s lens that can lead to a permanent decrease in vision and light-dark perception.
These vision problems can develop quite rapidly after diet pills containing DNP are used, so it’s best to be careful and stay away from these pills.
Could cause any kind of health issue
The medical issues listed above are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to taking unregulated diet pills. Dietary supplements don’t require approval from the FDA, or similar bodies in the west, which makes it easy for unsafe ingredients to be included in them.
Most of the manufacturers don’t even list the ingredients on the product label so you have no idea what you’re actually taking. This means that there’s an almost infinite list of health issues you could suffer from when taking these pills.
Creates an unhealthy relationship with food
Now we know how these diet pills can physically damage anyone who uses them, it’s time to look at how they can affect you mentally.
Arti Dhokia, specialist mental health dietitian at Priory Hospital Woodbourne, said in an interview with the Priory Group: “Taking diet pills can damage our relationship with food, as calories become the enemy, instead of what we use to fuel ourselves.
“Guilt that comes from being unable to eat ‘as we should’ at all times and to meet our body image ideals, can lead to a more chaotic relationship with food, affecting physiological, psychological and social health. Despite all that these pills promise, healthy diet and exercise is the most effective method of weight loss.”
You can become addicted
As we mentioned in an earlier section, one of the most common types of diet pills are stimulants. Stimulants carry a high risk of dependence, especially amphetamine-derived stimulants which affect systems in our brain responsible for feeling happy or content.
On top of that, many people become tolerant to the increased energy they get from their stimulant-based diet pills and start increasing the amount their taking. This is a quick road to addiction that is similar to a cocaine or meth addiction.
You might end up in court
As we mentioned in the introduction to this post, most of these diet pills are illegal in the western world, and both the use of them and distribution can lead to a criminal conviction.
Conspiracy charges are the most likely because you don’t even have to sell the drug to be convicted. If the court finds that you intended to share these pills with friends or were involved in a criminal sale in any way, you could be taken to court and put in prison.
Are Diet Pills a Safe Way to Supplement Your Health?
In this post, we’ve shared the most likely risks of taking diet pills to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
With most diet pills being stimulant based, the risk of addiction and of suffering health conditions from taking them, is high. On top of this, the fact that you could end up facing conspiracy charges means it’s probably much safer to go on a traditional diet than to take diet pills.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
Colourful pills – Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash
Anatomy models – Photo by v2osk on Unsplash
Eating cereal out of a cup – Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash
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