If you're struggling to shed excess pounds, you may be wondering if an appetite decreasing pill is right for you. However, the decision to use pills to aid in weight loss is not one that should be taken lightly.
Types of Appetite Decreasing Pills
Most local drug stores or health food stores offer a wide selection of over-the-counter dietary supplements claiming to help people lose weight by decreasing appetite. Common ingredients in these pills include:
- Ephedra: Once a main ingredient in the most popular diet supplements, this product has now been banned from the marketplace because of concerns that it can raise blood pressure, cause heart irregularities, and contribute to seizures, strokes, or death. However, teas containing ephedra are still legal in the United States.
- Country mallow: Also known as heartleaf, this supplement is supposed to decrease appetite while increasing the number of calories burned. However, it also contains small amounts of ephedra and is not recommended by most healthcare professionals.
- Bitter orange: Often marketed as a safe alternative to ephedra, the long term effects of this herbal supplement are unknown.
- Green tea extract: Although some people claim green tree extract can decrease appetite and boost metabolism, there is little evidence to support this claim. Supplements containing green tea extract can cause diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, and bloating.
- Hoodia: There are many appetite decreasing pills available listing hoodia as the main ingredient, but there is no scientific evidence to support claims that this substance actually helps to decrease appetite.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): This supplement claims to reduce appetite and help you build muscle, but common side effects include indigestion, diarrhea, and intestinal upset.
In many cases, dietary supplements marketed as weight loss aids contain a cocktail of ingredients. This is thought to boost a supplement's effectiveness, but it also increases the risk of potential side effects.
The Pitfalls of Diet Pills
Although popping a pill to lose weight may sound like a fabulous solution to your problem, appetite decreasing pills have several pitfalls. For example:
- Taking a pill to lose weight does not encourage you to develop the healthy habits necessary for a meaningful lifestyle change.
- The side effects of many diet supplements can be very unpleasant.
- Some diet pills may aggravate pre-existing medical conditions.
- Non-prescription diet pills may cause adverse interactions with your prescription medications.
In addition to the points listed above, it's important to realize that the diet pill industry is poorly regulated. Since dietary supplements aren't classified as over-the-counter medications, they are not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that marketing claims don't have to be backed up by scientific research. In fact, the only way the FDA can interfere with the sale of diet supplements is if the product is proven to be a public health hazard.
Drug-Free Ways to Eat Less
If you're struggling to control your appetite, the following tips can help you learn to eat less without resorting to potentially harmful diet pills:
- Don't confuse hunger with boredom. In many cases, people eat when they are actually bored. If you think you're hungry and it's not mealtime, try going for a short walk or reading a book to distract yourself.
- Use smaller dishes. Studies have shown that placing portions on smaller plates is a simple psychological trick that helps people eat less.
- Spice up your food. Flavorful food is more satisfying than bland and tasteless dishes.
- Increase your fiber intake. Most Americans don't get enough fiber in their diet, but fiber helps you feel more satisfied with your food.
- Drink a large glass of water before your meal. In addition to being good for your skin, water helps you to feel fuller longer.
- Set a nice table. Make mealtime a special occasion. To make small portions feel more satisfying, set a pretty table using your best dishes and a colorful centerpiece.
- Eat slowly. Don't rush through your meal. Take the time to actually enjoy your food and pay attention to what goes in your mouth.