Home > Diet & Fitness > Understanding Diet Pills

Understanding Diet Pills

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 21 Jan 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Diet Pills Ingredients Side Effects Body

Diet pills often seem like a dream come true, a way to lose weight without having to change anything about your lifestyle. The most commonly advertised diet pills are over the counter and don't need a prescription to purchase, but most haven’t been proven very effective. Understanding common ingredients in diet pills, how diet pills work and potential side effects of diet pills will help you make more informed decisions about these products in the future.

Common Ingredients in Diet Pills

Reading the ingredients list on any diet pill you consider will allow you to better understand how the pills will affect your body. Once you identify the “active ingredient” you’ll be better able to guess how that particular pill is meant to help you lose weight. Common ingredients in over the counter diet pills include:
  • Chitosan. Made from chitin, present in the shells of shellfish like lobsters and crabs.
  • Chromium. A trace mineral.
  • CLA. Fatty acid from sunflowers or sunflower oil.
  • DHEA. Hormone secreted by the adrenal gland.
  • Ephedra. Also called Ma Huang. Usually combined with caffeine.
  • Green tea extract. Derived from green tea leaves.
  • Guar gum. From the husk of guar seeds.
  • Guarana. Caffeine alkoloid (group of naturally occurring chemical compounds).
  • Hydrocitric acid (HCA). From extracts of rare fruits.
  • Psyllium. Soluble fibre. Laxative (stimulates bowel movements).
  • Pyruvate. Chemical compound.
  • Yohimbine. Alkoloid in the bark of the yohimbe tree (of West Africa).

How Diet Pills Work

Diet pills do not all work in the same way. The ingredients list will be your best clues about what the pills will actually be doing once you ingest them. All diet pills disrupt your body in some way, so knowing how pills are supposed to work is important to knowing what they will be doing to your body. Most over the counter diet pills will either:
  • Increase your metabolism/burn more calories (ephedra, chromium, CLA, guarana, yohimbine).
  • Make you feel full so you don’t want to eat any more (ephedra, guar gum and psyllium).
  • Black fat from being absorbed (chitosan/chitin).
  • Slow fat production (hydrocitric acid and green tea extract).
  • Promote muscle growth to burn fat (CLA, DHEA).

Side Effects of Diet Pills

Unfortunately there are many potential side effects of diet pills, and some can even become very dangerous to your health if you ignore them. Remember, these pills produce side effects because they interfere with the natural processes of your body so they should not be laughed off or assume to be nothing serious. Particular side effects depend upon the ingredients of specific pills, but common physical side effects include:
  • Cramping, gas and/or loose bowel movements (particularly with fat blockers)
  • Reduced absorption of vitamins and minerals (particularly with fat blockers)
  • Increased blood pressure (associated with suppressed appetite)
  • Increased heart rate (associated with increased metabolism, appetite suppressed appetite)
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or other interrupted sleep patterns
  • Constipation, inability to have a bowel movement

Diet pills are not magical solutions to weight loss problems, but they are items which should be taken seriously given that they interfere with your body’s normal processes. Knowing the relevant ingredients, how pills will work on your body and common side effects of diet pills is important to keeping yourself safe.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • RoseH
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    @Sad - you really need to speak to someone about this, a doctor, a school teacher, as it sounds as though you are also suffering…
    23 February 2018
  • jessie
    Re: Coping with a Crush
    @Lovesick - if you think he likes you too - just go with it. :)))
    23 February 2018
  • Sad
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Hi I'm 13 and I've been cutting myself for about 7 months and I've told some friends I self-harm. My guy friend mostly helped me…
    23 February 2018
  • Lovesick
    Re: Coping with a Crush
    Hi.. ?? I’m in 5th grade and I have a crush on a friend that’s really close.. we have know each other since 1st grade..It’s a killer crush.. I…
    22 February 2018
  • khan
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am the student of Psychology and i am conducting research on this topic if you please…
    21 February 2018
  • Epickai64
    Re: First Kiss Tips
    i was just wondering how much dedicated ram to host a server
    19 February 2018
  • Agent To
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    Good atfernoon kids! A week ago when I came home a rainy day my oldest son stood in front of the out door, he was just standing there with…
    15 February 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    mxg_x - Your Question:Hi me and my boyfriend had sex and I forgot to take my pill that day, he pulled out but I got affraid and took the…
    15 February 2018
  • mxg_x
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi me and my boyfriend had sex and I forgot to take my pill that day, he pulled out but I got affraid and took the morning after pill the next…
    14 February 2018
  • AlexM
    Re: First Kiss Tips
    @ShietYOLO - you'll know when it feels right. But it's kinda nice to ask permission first. Lol!
    12 February 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TeenIssues website. Please read our Disclaimer.