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The Skinny on Weight Loss Products

Big boon or fat hope?

Woman measuring shape of beautiful waist with smileDoes the answer to losing weight really lie in popping a pill or two? Will those unwanted inches melt off our waistlines instantly without dieting and exercise? Here are some facts you need to know about weight loss medicine and supplements – BEFORE you start taking them.

MYTH #1

Weight loss can be achieved without dieting or exercising.

Pardon the pun, but chances are slim on this claim. Weight loss medicine and supplements are meant to complement your efforts to lose weight healthily through a proper diet and exercise, not supersede them in effectiveness. Do not trust any product that claims it can help you achieve weight loss effectively and healthily without lifting a finger.

MYTH #2

healthy diet conceptWeight loss products bought over the counter are safe.

‘Safe’ is subjective. Before you scoff at taking a conservative stance towards buying weight loss products that are so easily available, do note that there is much evidence that documents the side effects of slimming pills.

Weight loss products are formulated in three ways. They work to:

  1. Suppress your appetite. Appetite suppressants manipulate your brain and bodily chemicals to create a feeling of satiety, which causes you to eat less.
  2. Boost your metabolism. Metabolic boosters typically contain high amounts of caffeine, which is fine when taken in moderation, but may also cause adverse side effects in people who are sensitive to it.
  3. Reduce your body’s fat absorption. Pills that reduce fat absorption inhibit lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat from foods we eat, causing some fat to be passed out from the body through bowel movements instead of being absorbed into the body.measuring tape with tablets

How exactly do such products affect us? Some documented side effects of these pills include nervousness, irritability, heart palpitations, increase in heart rate and blood pressure and liver injury.

The danger of consuming over-the-counter weight loss pills lies in the fact that they do not need a doctor’s prescription to obtain. This makes it all too easy for people to consume more – in some cases, much more – than they are supposed to, in a desperate bid to melt the pounds off quickly, without a doctor’s guidance.

MYTH #3

herbal tea and clover flowers isolated Herbal weight loss products are safe because they are ‘natural’.

Clever (and sometimes, untruthful) marketing schemes may trick us into thinking that as long as the pill in question is made up of natural/herbal ingredients, it is safe. iStock_000001234987_MediumHowever, there are many documented side effects of these seemingly benign natural ingredients that beg some background research on their properties, the manufacturer’s claims and most importantly, your medical history of allergies or sensitivities.

MYTH #4

Weight loss can be achieved quickly.

Still not put off by dodgy-sounding claims of miraculous weight loss in days, hours or even minutes? Case in point: just last year, two people were hospitalised for acute kidney failure and hallucinations after taking weight loss supplements (purchased online) that contained controversial ingredients. One of them contained sibutramine, a banned substance in Singapore, whose possible side effects include high blood pressure and heart attacks. The other product, which was marketed as a dietary supplement, contained a medicinal ingredient called yohimbine, which is also a banned ingredient for supplements allowed for sale in Singapore.

While it is hard to resist the lure of looking good and having a trimmer figure, it’s time to accept that there is no shortcut to losing weight quickly and healthily at the same time. If you do wish to use a weight loss product in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan, the best person to consult is your doctor or nutritionist, for professional advice and guidance. Do your body a favour – eat a balanced diet in controlled portions, and lead an active lifestyle by exercising regularly.

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by Sylvy Soh
Posted by ezyhealth on Mar 6 2015. Filed under Myth Busters. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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