[less calories] + [more exercise] = weight loss. But many people lead busy, hectic lives and find it difficult to manage their
calorie intake and get adequate exercise. There are, however, other ways—some good, some not good. But, you don’t want
to lose your health along with the additional pounds!
Many diet drugs suppress appetite, but they only offer temporary solutions. They don’t change behavior, which is essential to keep the pounds off. Plus, drugs only work when taken and may have undetermined side effects. Once you
stop taking them, the weight can come right back.
Diet drugs come in two categories. The first category causes the body to feel stressed or nervous. Consequently, you must watch out for high blood pressure. Sibutramine and phentermine belong in this category. They work by reducing
appetite and creating a feeling of fullness. Common side effects include dry mouth, headache, constipation and insomnia.
Sibutramine may also cause an increase in blood pressure in some individuals. Patients on sibutramine should monitor
their blood pressure regularly. Sibutramine should not be used for those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, history of stroke, coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure.
The popular diet drug Fen-phen was a combination of two drugs: fenfluramine, which decreases appetite, and
phentermine, a stimulant that increases metabolism. Both were individually used as diet drugs and were combined in 1992 to create a more powerful substance. In July 1997,researchers made a startling discovery: Fen-phen caused heart valve damage in 30% of patients evaluated. On September 15, 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered
manufacturers to withdraw this drug from the market.
Phentermine alone is still available for short-term treatment of obesity. Common side effects include headache, insomnia,
irritability and nervousness.
The second drug category changes the metabolism of fat. Orlistat is the only drug of this category that is approved
by the FDA. It prevents intestinal absorption of fat by 30%, through inhibiting the action of lipase enzymes in the intestines.
Common and embarrassing side effects include oily spotting on underwear, flatulence, inability to control stool, urgent bowel movements, fatty or oily stools, abdominal pain or discomfort, and increased bowel movements. Women may
also notice menstrual irregularities while taking orlistat. A long-term decrease in fat absorption can also cause deficiency
of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K.
Caffeine and ma huang (ephedra) were common stimulants in many weight-loss products. However, caffeine is addictive
and causes withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches. Ma huang is a natural substance that can be unhealthy, bringing
serious side effects, including heart attack, seizures and death, with long term use.
Many over-the-counter (OTC) slimming teas also contain laxatives and diuretics that cause diarrhea and water loss.
These may lead to dehydration and depletion of sodium and potassium. Although weight may decrease, the loss is fluid and temporary. Moreover, low sodium and potassium levels may cause abnormal heart rhythms and can even lead to death.
But that is not all, aristocholic acid, which is found in many slimming teas, has been linked to cancer and kidney failure.It can scar and damage kidneys permanently.
Weight-loss products may also contain ingredients that interact with drugs and may create dangerous situations for
people with certain medical conditions. If you are unsure of a product’s claims or the safety of any weight-loss product,
check with your doctor before using it.
Atkins, Zone, Protein Power, Sugar Busters and Stillman diets, the so-called high-protein diets, remain popular.
However, the American Heart Association does not recommend them for weight loss.
First, some high-protein diets de-emphasize highcarbohydrate,
high-fiber plant foods. These foods help
lower cholesterol in a nutritionally balanced diet. Reducing consumption of these plant foods usually means eating other higher-fat, often saturated fat, foods such as animal products.
Eating large amounts of high-fat foods for a prolonged period raises the risk of many types of chronic diseases.
Second, high-protein diets do not provide some essential vitamins, minerals, fibers and other nutritional elements.
Studies show that a high-carbohydrate diet that includes fruits,vegetables and whole grains reduces blood pressure. Limiting these foods may actually raise blood pressure by reducing the intake of calcium, potassium and magnesium while
simultaneously increasing sodium intake.
Finally, eating too much protein can increase health risks. High-protein diets force the kidneys to eliminate waste products of protein and fat, called ketones, causing ketosis.
Ketosis can be especially risky for diabetics because it can speed the progression of diabetic renal disease. It can also cause the body to produce high levels of uric acid, a risk factor for gout and kidney stones.
No scientific evidence supports the claim that high-protein diets enable people to maintain their initial weight loss. For
most people, quick weight-loss diets do not work long term.
Shed Pounds Safely
Diet drugs, fad diets, crash diets—they come and go, but in the long run, they just don’t work, and can result in serious
health problems. Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 50, see it as a long-term goal. Those pounds didn’t arrive overnight, so don’t expect them to leave overnight either! Instead, think of weight loss in terms of permanently changing your eating habits and increasing your activity levels; tried and true methods that work for everyone. In the long run, the best way to lose weight, and keep it off, is to eat healthy, highlynutritious,
low-calorie foods, be active excercise regularly,get enough rest and maintain a positive outlook on life.
Don’t lose your health over those additional pounds--just lose the pounds!