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With the diet pill craze becoming a popular choice for many this summer, it’s no wonder that "Redbook" magazine came seeking the advice of BistroMD’s very own Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist. In an article on their website titled, “Do Diet Pills Really Work?” health experts from around the country were asked to weigh in on the summer diet pill craze, and expose the “rapid” façade of supplements as an effective weight loss diet plan.
Summer means swimsuit season for most, and this can be one of the biggest motivating factors for people who are trying to lose weight. This desperation to look “fit” in a swimsuit often causes most people to jump the gun and hop on the diet pill bandwagon. Most diet pills are safe, but only if they are incorporated with a healthy and active lifestyle. Even though diet pills have come a long way since they were introduced over 50 years ago, there is no such thing as a miracle pill.
Why “Alli” May Not Be Your Best “Ally”
Arguably, one of the most popular choices for an effective weight loss diet plan on the market today is Alli, whose main ingredient is orlistat. The orlistat in Alli is designed to keep you from digesting 25% of the fat you consume. You can take the pill up to three times a day with meals, and it will actually attach itself to your digestive enzymes that break away fat from food. With this pill, how much weight you lose will depend upon how much fat you ingest. On average, most people taking the pill block out 100 to 200 calories a day.
Like every single other diet pill on the market today, Alli has its risks, too. The orlistat in Alli can cause you to experience some uncomfortable side effects, if you aren’t careful. If you are eating a diet that has foods that contain too much fat, you may experience loose and oily stools, as well as diarrhea.
“My patients on Xenical (which also contains orlistat) often find that when they eat a high-fat meal, several hours later they may have diarrhea or loose stools. In some extreme cases, they can’t control their bowels, which causes them to leak all over their pants,” says Dr. Cederquist.
Not only does Alli cause some people to have uncontrollable bowel movements, but it can also cause you to become vitamin deficient. This is why it is so important to eat well-balanced meals when taking this pill. The pill isn’t effective on its own; it needs help from you by eating well-balanced meals that are portioned correctly with protein, fats, and carbs.
Not All Pills Should Be Taken Equal
One of the other big diet pill choices right now as an effective weight loss diet plan, is Glucophage (metformin), and Byetta (exenatide). These pills are not to be taken equal though, as they are only meant to be taken by people who suffer from diabetes, and who are overweight.
“Glucophage works by lowering your glucose levels and increasing sensitivity, so you will be less hungry and more unlikely to overeat,” says Dr. Cederquist.
Glucophage is often used with Byetta, which is an injectable drug that prevents movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine. Byetta causes you to feel fuller longer, and decreases your desire to eat more.
Like all other drugs, these do have certain side effects. Taking these drugs if you don’t have the listed health conditions could cause you serious health problems.
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