Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday June 29th 2011 - The Dangers of Diet Pills

I have a friend who is starting to take some very powerful diet pills. I can't express strongly enough how much I despise diet pills. I think they are dangerous. They may work for a while, but the long term effects of the medications can be horrible and permanent. The biggest problem with diet pills is that once you stop taking them your body goes into overtime to restore the previous weight. And, mind you, I have tried several with temporarily successful results until I stopped taking them. Instead of helping me, they just contributed to my long term yo-yo upward spiral.

Back in 2009 when I was first preparing for the Realize Band surgery I wrote the following article. You may also find this article at

Dangers of Diet Pills
by Christopher Sharits
American's spend more than 6 Billion dollars a year on diet pills. There are literally hundreds of diet pills. At any given time there are dozens of "lose weight quick" schemes in the media. They usually involve some "miracle" drug or supplement foods. Whether the pills or ingredients are over the counter or prescription, they can be very dangerous to your long term health.
Remember fen/phen or Ephedra. Both caused heart trouble and were banned by the FDA. That's two out of hundreds of pills, many of them unregulated. Most diet pills contain caffeine (a stimulant added for that "burst of energy"). While almost everyone drinks or takes caffeine, it can be dangerous in large quantities. Caffeine stimulates adrenaline which increases blood sugar and begins to emit cortisol which destroys the nervous system. Imagine a person who drinks coffee all the time and takes diet pills. They would have greatly increased their risk for cushings disease. Other common ingredients are Xenical (which can cause unexpected fecal discharge), Adipex, Phentermine, and Merdia. The side effects from these drugs can be chest pain, racing heartbeat, depression, heart problems (even failure), high blood pressure, dizziness, tremors, diarrhea, and nervousness. Even "organic" diet pills are dangerous and, for the most part, unregulated.
If you still believe in these "short cuts" you should consult your doctor (especially if you are taking prescription drugs). If you insist on taking diet pills you will probably need to stay on them for a long time to maintain the desired results. Like any conventional diet, once you stop, the weight may return. Long term use of diet pills greatly increase your risk of permanent bodily damage. There is simply no substitute for a moderate balanced diet and exercise. Forget about the ingredients in foods and watch your calories. As I continue to argue, morbidly obese people need to have a balanced diet, exercise, and strongly consider bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is for the morbidly obese. It is not the solution or a quick fix for weight loss. Rather, it is a powerful tool for the morbidly obese to finally obtain an ideal weight. Like any tool, it requires a balanced diet and exercise. There are two basic types of bariatric surgery performed today. There is the traditional Roux-en-y gastric bypass for the super morbidly obese that actually redirects food around the stomach. It is an invasive surgery. The more popular weight loss surgery is the "Lap-Band" or "Realize Band" that simply reduces the size of the stomach through an adjustable ring. It is performed laparoscopically and is much less invasive. Both of these bariatric surgeries have proven to be very successful for permanent weight-loss. There are pros and cons to both surgeries. You should find an experienced surgeon to find out if bariatric surgery is for you. If you do chose bariatric surgery, you will avoid nearly all of the organ damaging effects of diet pills. As with any successful weight-loss program, the common variable is life long balanced diet and a regular exercise program.
About the author: I am super morbidly obese and currently jumping through the hoops to have the "Realize Band" installed. I write articles about my journey to my ideal weight. You can follow my trials and tribulations on Twitter and my "Super Morbid Obesity" daily blog at

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