With obesity levels and the numbers who are overweight at an all time high, there has been a surge in the number of diet pills available to us. Diet pills are marketed as quick and effective way of helping us shift our extra weight. Promising instant gratification, the marketing of such products is often accompanied by a happy, healthy looking individual who bears testimony to the effectiveness of adopting their particular quick fix. But do these products actually work or are we being conned out of pounds of cash in the hope of losing pounds of weight?
Fat burners also known as thermogenics are supposed to work on the basis of speeding up your metabolism, suppressing appetite and promoting weight loss. The term thermogenic refers to an increased production of heat in the body – yet the safest way of doing this is through regular physical activity. There are a variety of thermogenics on the market, although their effectiveness is unclear and all are linked to unpleasant or serious health risks:
Is considered as the first thermogenic, although it was linked to a number of serious health risks including potentially fatal heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes. Its sale has since been banned in several countries, including the UK.
Another fat burner, which is similar to ephedra, although the main active ingredient is Synephrine. Experiments on lab rats given bitter orange did show weight loss but also found the development of heart abnormalities and risk of death as the dosage was increased. Researchers concluded that bitter orange may be dangerous, especially when used by the elderly, the obese and those with heart problems.
Occurs naturally in the body when the body digest carbohydrates and proteins. There is little evidence available that it is effective – studies show a slight correlation between it and weight loss although this involved testing an unreasonably large quantity of the substance and there are side effects associated with using it, including stomach upset and diarrhoea.
Is a paste made from the seeds of a climbing shrub. The active component of Guarana is a stimulant containing 3 times as much caffeine as found in coffee beans. There is little evidence to support claims that it can help with weight loss, and no adequate studies have been performed or published using this substance for weight loss. In keeping with other thermogenics Guarana is associated with a number of side-effects including anxiousness, irregular heartbeat and dizziness.