You may now stop your search. There is no magic pill that will help you lose weight overnight. Yes, it’s true. Popping weight-loss pills randomly, on the contrary, can have serious negative consequences, warns a family physician.
“I wish it was true, but there is no pill or potion that can dissolve fat fast,” sasaysid Dr Dona Hooshmand, general practitioner, Mediclinic, Dubai. “If it were true, the person who made such a pill would be a billionaire,” she smiles.
Of course, there are some pills, like Xenical for instance, that are administered under medical supervision to aid or assist weight loss, but this has side-effects (see Q&A for a list of them).
“Many weight-loss pills and herbal supplements have been withdrawn from the FDA list because the side-effects and risks outweigh the benefits,” Dr Hooshmand says. (FDA is the US Food and Drug Administration which most medical regulatory bodies in other countries also follow.)
Xenical was the first FDA-approved weight loss pill, and 13 years later, another anti-obesity pill called Belviq was endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration last year. But doctors note that it too has to be given in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.
What is it about our modern lifestyles that warrants such drastic steps to lose weight? Where are we going wrong? The answer is simple. Our lives have become far too sedentary, lazy and indulgent. Our food habits are appalling. We think nothing of eating out practically every day, choosing fast foods, highly processed foods, sugar-loaded soft drinks and opting for unnecessary huge portions. The availability of thousand of varieties of processed food is a temptation we have not been able to resisit. Add to this stressed, hectic lifestyles, very little exercise and an insatiable appetite to purse materialistic dreams throws your normal body functioning out of gear. Obesity (and other lifestyles diseases) are the inevitable result.
The only way to reverse the rising tide of obesity is to modify lifestyle, get active and eat food that is natural, nutritious and cooked with care in the right portions.
Diet pills have been in the market since the early 1970s but it was during the 1980s that - thanks to a steady increase in obesity across the globe - that their use went up exponentially.
Dr Hooshmand believes there is a lack of public education or general awareness on how to tackle this problem in society. She provides an overview of the weight-loss pills syndrome and why it is not the way to healthy weight-loss.