Think twice! The dangers hidden in your diet pills


You’ve been struggling with your weight, and a friend offers you a few of her diet pills, saying it’s a good way to slim down. Don’t just accept them – diet pills can have serious side effects and should not be used for long periods. Move! spoke to medical experts about the best way to use diet pills.

What diet pills can do?

“Anybody thinking of starting a course of diet pills should first speak to their doctor to discuss the possible side effects,” says Dr Debra Makoro. “Side effects vary according to the type of pill you’re on, but some are more common than others.”

These include:

A weakened immune system. “Some diet pills decrease the rate at which fats are absorbed into your system, so fewer nutrients make their way into your body, which causes weakened immunity and a higher rate of illness.”

  • Slower metabolism. “Some pills work by reducing your appetite. This causes you to eat less, but eventually your metabolism will slow down to match the amount of food you are eating. This will lead to an initial weight loss, but a drastic slowdown when your metabolism slows down too.”

  • Irritability, dizziness, higher blood pressure, constipation, sleep problems. “Many diet pills contain caffeine, which stimulates your system, causing side effects.”

  • Addiction. “Diet pills stimulate your central nervous system and you can become addicted to them. Talk to a doctor about how to use them correctly. Be honest with the doctor about your medical and diet history so he can prescribe the right dosage.”

Healthy ways to lose weight

Many people think that diet pills are an easy way to lose weight quickly for a special occasion. In fact, the best way to get rid of unwanted fat is to stop overeating and exercise more often.

Here are some tips on shedding weight the healthy way:


Change your diet. “You don’t have to try to dump all your bad habits at once. Start by lowering your intake of the worst thing in your diet. If you love doughnuts and eat one every day, try eating only half or eat one every second day. This helps you cut down slowly.”

Eat more fruit and vegetables. “You should eat at least five servings of fruit or vegetables a day. If you have children, encourage them to follow this eating plan as well.”

Increase your physical activity. “Don’t sit down on the couch immediately after getting home from work; take a 20-minute walk around your neighbourhood. Gentle activity of this kind will burn off some calories, and walk is a nice way to distress.”

Grill, don’t fry. “Wherever possible, grill your food rather than frying it.”

Drink more water, and cut down on gassy drinks. “Drink eight glasses of water a day. If you’re only drinking cool drinks, start by having a glass of water after each glass of cool drink.”

Eat more chicken and fish, and less red meat. “Try to grill or bake/roast your chicken and fish. Ideally, you should eat red meat only once or twice a week. M

pictures: dreamstime/shutterstock

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