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The Dangers of Losing Weight With Non-Prescribed Drugs

It seems that everywhere we look, there are images of fit and beautiful people. Whether it’s in magazines, on social media, or at the movies, this constant barrage of perfect bodies makes us feel pressured to get fit.

In fact, the diet industry is a $20 million business in the U.S. alone. It’s estimated that in 2017, 66% of Americans were on some type of weight loss plan.

Unfortunately, most people want to lose weight quickly, often with little regard to their safety. While they may acknowledge that their weight gain didn’t happen overnight, they still want fast results and will try almost anything to achieve them.

Are there any drugs which will help you lose weight?

Drugs to lose weightThere are currently several prescription medications which are designed to help patients lose weight. Pharmaceutical companies continue to search for drugs which are safe and effective but there are only five drugs (or combinations of drugs) which are FDA approved for the treatment of obesity.

Orlistat – Now available over the counter as Alli, and by prescription as Xenical, orlistat has been in use since 1999. It’s meant to be used in combination with a low-fat, low-calorie diet and works by preventing the fat in your food from being absorbed by your body. The weight loss that patients achieve while on orlistat, is modest which can be discouraging to patients expect fast results.

The side effects can range from uncomfortable (gassiness, oily bowel movements) to dangerous (severe liver damage).

Lorcaserin – This drug helps the brain register feelings of fullness, which encourages users to eat less.  It was approved by the FDA in 2012, and has been associated with an average weight loss of anywhere from 3 to 3.7%, more than a placebo.

Side effects include headache, constipation and drowsiness. It cannot be used with SSRI’s.

Phentermine + topiramate – This drug combination was also approved by the FDA in 2012. Sold under the brand name Osymia, it’s a stimulant which decreases appetite, while topiramate is a migraine/anti-seizure drug which causes feelings of fullness.

Women of childbearing age must use caution while taking this drug and avoid pregnancy due to birth defects. The drug combination has also been found to produce suicidal thoughts in rare cases.

Bupropion+naltrexone – This drug combination is sold under the brand name Contrave and was approved by the FDA in 2014.

Contrave is being monitored for cardiovascular side effects. It also carries a black box warning from the FDA because bupropion has been associated with increased suicidal thoughts.

Liraglutide – It was first approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes because it helps promote insulin production in the pancreas, thereby controlling blood sugar.  In 2014, the FDA expanded the use of liraglutide to include the treatment of diabetes, under the brand name, Saxenda. It is taken as a once-a-day shot.

The side effects are related to a study which found that it caused tumors in rodents. While it’s unknown if the drug causes the same effect in humans, people with a history of certain cancers should not take Saxenda.

All of these medications (except for Alli) require a prescription and the patient should be monitored by a physician. It is not safe to take these drugs if they haven’t been prescribed to you, even if they appear to work well and safely for a friend or family member.

Non-Prescription Diet Pills

There are numerous herbal supplements and diet pills available without a prescription. Some of them have received attention on television talk shows and in magazines with consumers clamoring to buy them hoping to lose weight quickly.

While some of these remedies are harmless, countless others have been shown to cause serious side effects in users. In the past, supplements such as ephedra, had to be taken off the market after several people suffered serious side effects including, in some cases death.

Here are some of the most common non-prescription diet pills and their side effects:

Raspberry Ketones

The makers of this product claim that raspberry ketones regulate a hormone which is found lacking or in low concentration in people are overweight.

The pills can cause a spike in body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. They can also exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, COPD, and diabetes.

Thermogenic Fat Burners

There are a number of companies which offer fat burner pills which contain a combination of ingredients which purportedly raise the body’s metabolism. There have been no FDA studies to confirm these claims.

However, there have been numerous side effects as a result of taking these supplements. A popular fat burner, Hydroxycut, was pulled from the market in 2009, because it was found to cause liver damage.

Other side effects of fat burners include: anxiety, elevated heart rate and insomnia.


It’s understandable to want to look and feel your best. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for losing weight. Self-prescribing diet pills is not only often a waste of money, but it can also lead to serious side effects.

Visit your health professional and have a candid discussion about your weight and seek his or her advice on the best course of action. Make sure you understand the risks and benefits of any diet pill, supplement or diet plan which you decide to use to ensure you know what to expect.

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The Best Diet Plan for Losing Weight

diet plan for losing weightThere are many ways that can help you lose the excess weight. However, most of them will make you unsatisfied and even hungry at the end. If you don’t have a solid willpower, then the hunger will make you give up on these methods very fast but never give up. There is a diet plan that will help you get rid of the excess weight with ease. The plan will:

  • Lower your appetite accordingly.
  • Make you shed the excess weight with ease.
  • Enhance your metabolic health.

Here is a simple 3-step diet plan that will help you lose weight without much pain:

  1. Cut the Amount of Starch and Sugar you Consume

The first step towards shedding weight is cutting down starch and sugar intake. Starch and sugar stimulate the secretion of insulin which is the main storage hormone for fats in the body. A decrease in the amount of insulin inn the body prompts the fats to get out of the fat stores where they are burnt down instead of starch and sugar. Lowering the amount of insulin also enables the kidneys to shed off excess water and sodium out of the body, hence, reducing unnecessary water weight. By eating this, you will be able to shed out about 10 pounds of excess fat and water in the body within the first one week.

Bottom line, reducing sugar and starch from your diet lowers the insulin level in the body, reduces your appetite, and helps you cut weight without feeling uncomfortable.

  1. Eat Meals Rich in Proteins, Fats, and Low-Carb Vegetable

    Loss Weight Naturally

For a successful weight loss without hitting the gym, each of your meals should contain a fat source, protein source, and low-carb vegetables. Putting your meals this will automatically bring your carb consumption to the required range of about 30- 50 grams daily.

Foods rich in proteins.

They include:

  • Meat meals-chicken, beef, pork, bacon, lamb, etc.
  • Eggs-pastured eggs or omega-3 enriched eggs are good.
  • Fish and seafood-shrimps, lobsters, Nile perch, salmon. Tilapia, etc.

Consuming proteins has lots of importance including increasing metabolic rates by 80 to 100 calories daily. Diets rich in proteins are also known to reduce the desire for eating snacks late in the night by 50% and makes you full such that it lowers the possibility of consuming much calories in a day.

Low- carb vegetables

They include; Spinach, cabbage, cucumber, celery, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Swiss chard, lettuce, Brussels sprouts among others. Low-carb vegetables have little or no sugar and starch hence lowering the amount of insulin in the body, thus, helping in weight loss.

Fat sources

They include; Coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, tallow oil, butter oil among other natural oil. Natural oils have low cholesterol and calories hence decreases the chances of having excess weight. All said and done, assembling the above-mentioned foods will help you reach the 30-50 grams of carb daily and reduces the amount of insulin in the body.

  1. Drink Plenty of Water in a Day

According to the latest studies, water is great for weight loss. Besides its great taste, research has it that drinking plenty of water daily enhances your metabolism alongside several other benefits. Water fills you up and flushes your system, thus, increasing the rate of metabolism naturally.

So how much of water should you take per day? On the weight loss diet plan, it is recommended that you drink about one gallon of water (about four litres) per day if you intend to lose weight. By drinking plenty of water throughout the day, you will stay hydrated and a large amount of water in your body will help flush your system and increase metabolic rate in your body. Drinking plenty of water is an easy step that can be achieved by virtually everybody.weight loss supplements

Bottom line, reducing weight means staying healthy. So, stick to the right diet and hit the gym if you feel you have grown to an oversize.