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Diet pills: What they don’t really tell you in their promotions

Monday September 9 2019

weight loss

With the highly-publicised launch of yet another weight-loss pill, it appears that for dieters, their dream is inching that little bit closer. PHOTO | FILE 

SONA PARMAR
By SONA PARMAR
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Imagine you could take a pill to make you lose weight, without even trying. You’d finally fit back into that pair of jeans that you keep around just to remind yourself how thin you want to be. Surely, it’s too good to be true?

With the highly-publicised launch of yet another weight-loss pill, it appears that for dieters, their dream is inching that little bit closer.

Or is it? Is the idea of taking a pill to lose weight permanently, in fact, misleading?

Well, one woman who came to my clinic called the pill a total scam – not only did she suffer from bouts of diarrhoea, but she lost very little weight.

As I explained to her, something they don’t normally tell you about all the diet pills on the market is that it’s not a case of just the pills doing the work;

lifestyle adjustments are necessary too. But when you’re a company trying to get into this lucrative industry, it’s easy to see why such ‘facts’ aren’t really publicised.

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And that’s why so many dieters view these drugs as the miracle solution to their weight loss goals.

The most commonly prescribed drugs are sibutramine* (Reductil) and orlistat (Xenical). Both drugs work in different ways: sibutramine alters hunger messages to the brain, while orlistat prevents fat absorption.

I’m sure the only question you want answered is whether they work. The truth is, yes they do (3 kg and 4-5kg for orlistat and sibutramine respectively), but it associated with a range of side-effects.

Orlistat is known to have the potential to cause flatulence, faecal urgency and oily leakage from the rectum (!), while sibutramine has been associated with symptoms such as constipation, palpitations, raised blood pressure and sexual dysfunction (it can cause heart attacks if used incorrectly). Hardly seems worth it for that little weight loss.

But assuming a diet pill did help you to lose weight in the short term, there's virtually no evidence that it will help to keep you trim for the long-haul.

After all, pills don't change the reasons you overeat. Something has to change in your head - slimming pills are simply a temporary distraction.

Change your mindset, and you’ll see just how easy the-once-elusive weight loss can be.

* Currently, banned in Europe.

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