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The Dangers of Appetite Suppressants

By Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, PhD, RD

No one likes to feel hungry and we all know by now (hopefully) that starvation diets do not work. Sure, you may lose weight, but you’ll gain it all back, plus more - and what good is that?

Yet, for some reason, countless men women turn to fat-blocking drugs and appetite suppressants hoping to lose the extra 20, 30 and even 60 pounds they’re carrying around.

But, do you really know how dangerous these weight-loss “solutions” really are?

Do you really understand what they’re doing to your body?

Probably not, but read on and we’ll tell you.

Magical Pills Don’t Exist

You’re convinced that your problem with weight gain is because you eat too much.

No, it’s not that you’re eating ice cream every night, or because you haven’t eaten a vegetable other than the lettuce in your sandwich – it’s because you’re eating more calories than your body needs.

So, you tell your doctor this, and they recommend an “appetite suppressant” drug. And, you think your prayers are answered.

But, your body is in for a wild and dangerous ride.

Less Food Means Less Energy

Immediately  you feel like you can eat less. You now think you can actually function normally without any breakfast, with a 100-calorie snack pack at lunch, and then a 300-calorie frozen meal for dinner. For a few days you feel ok and you start dropping a few pounds.

But, the second you try to start doing anything active, even something as simple as body weight squats or walking lunges you’re gasping for air, your heart rate feels like it’s going to burst out of your chest and you feel dizzy, faint and completely helpless.

So, you stop exercising and realize that this “immediate” weight loss might not be such a good thing.

(Really) Unpleasant Side Effects

After a week or so, your body starts to realize something isn’t right. You start experiencing horrific side effects such as dizzy spells, blurred vision, sleeplessness and intestinal upset.

Even worse, one of the biggest drawbacks of these fat-blocking weight loss drugs is that they stop your body from being able to absorb most of the fats you’re eating – even the healthy ones!

Fats such as the essential omega-3 fatty acids in krill and fish oils which actually help your body burn fat, fight inflammation, prevent mood swings and keep your hair and skin healthy.

Also, they stop your body from being able to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D, which we all know is a preventative measure against cancer and protects against colds and the flu.

Who thinks dry, brittle hair, achy joints and being sick all the time sounds like a good thing? Not me!

Further, scientifically-based weight loss research shows us that low-fat diets actually increase our risk of heart disease and do not help us lose body fat. Instead, our body needs fat to burn fat and right now, your body is not getting the fat it needs.

These fat-blocking appetite suppressant drugs are not helping you at all!

Eating Right and Exercising Hard is the Real Answer

Winners in the weight loss battle know that what you eat is more important than how much you eat. And, how hard you exercise is more important than how much you exercise.

So, before you decide to pop another appetite suppressant, fat-blocking pill in your mouth, ask yourself this:

1)    Am I eating foods containing protein, fat and carbohydrate, every day that Mother Nature would recognize as her own? Or would She have no idea what they are because they are covered in a colorful package, and preserved with chemicals that are no good for anyone?

2)    Am I exercising intensely enough almost every day of the week to make my muscles feel more challenged than a easy stroll around the park? Or, am I just going through the motions and doing the bare minimum to get by?

If you struggle answering these questions, look towards someone who’s achieved these accomplishments to help you. Join a supportive group of people that have the same struggles as you and who are led by someone that shows  them how to get past these struggles safely and effectively.

Blocking fat absorption and eating less is not the answer – you need good food to fuel effective exercise and keep your spirits high.

Otherwise your weight loss really will never work because no one likes to feel starved and irritable every single day.

Saturated Fat and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors, Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes: a Fresh Look at the Evidence. Renata Micha and Dariush Mozaffarian, Lipids (2010) 45:893–905

Major types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies. Marianne U Jakobsen, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1–8.