Weight Loss


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Diet Pill

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Obesity, which has been marked as a contributing factor in all sorts of health problems, has reached epidemic levels in the United States. It has been discovered that chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, dangerous cholesterol levels, diabetes and heart disease are more likely to occur in people who are overweight than in those who maintain a weight that is proportionate to their body type. This fact, coupled with the popular albeit misleading notion that thin bodies are more attractive, are the primary reasons why the weight loss industry rakes in approximately $40 billion dollars each year.

If obesity is the problem, then it naturally follows that weight loss is the solution. What's more, practically everyone knows that if you want to lose weight, you need to either consume fewer calories or burn more of them off through exercise. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?

Now we are getting to the real heart of the problem. Most people are simply unwilling to deny themselves any of the foods they want to eat nor do they want to spend long hours in the gym working up a sweat. Diet pills, on the other hand, provide us with a third and perhaps a simpler method for accomplishing our weight loss goals.

A Brief History of Diet Pills
Diet pills, which are also commonly called appetite suppressants, have been prescribed by doctors since the 1950s. When first introduced to the public, the majority of diet pills contained the drug amphetamine. This drug, which goes by the street name of speed, is highly addictive and doctors quickly realized that appetite suppressants that contained it would not prove to be the remarkable weight loss solution they were searching for.

As time progressed, several other drugs such as fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine (which are more commonly known by their respective trade names Pondimin and Redux) debuted on the scene. Soon afterwards, doctors started combining a drug called phentermine with fenfluramine to form the infamous fen-phen diet pill. As is the case with all drugs, weight loss drugs must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before doctors can legally prescribe them to their patients.

In addition to approving the drugs for human use, the FDA is also responsible for constantly monitoring the effects of medications on the health of the people who take them. Thus when the aforementioned weight loss drugs were suspected to be the cause of several serious medical conditions (ranging from stomachaches to heart attacks to death), the FDA banned their use. As a result, doctors are no longer allowed to administer these drugs to their patients.

Alternatives to Ephedra
To circumvent FDA approval and regulation, the active ingredient used in many diet pills is not a drug. Instead, these products typically consist of naturally occurring herbs and are sold without a prescription over the counter. Perhaps the most popular herbal supplement used in diet pills is ephedra.

Ephedra was touted as the newest miracle diet pill, but it was eventually pulled from the shelves when it was linked to serious health conditions such as seizures, heart attacks and strokes. The government even went so far as to ban its sale in the United States. Since ephedra has received so much negative press, dieters are desperately seeking other alternatives to help them lose weight.

Some of the dietary supplements that former ephedra users are turning to include weight loss products made with such things as guarana and green tea extract. Synephrine, which is extracted from citrus fruits, is the name of another herbal supplement that is being used in several of the newer diet pills. This substance is also commonly referred to as "bitter orange" and reportedly has the same fat-burning abilities as ephedra, without all the harmful side effects.

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