Pop and Drop: Do Weight Loss Pills Really Work?

By: 
True You
November 8, 2021

Of all the dubious claims and suspect wonder drugs on the market, there is probably no segment more fraught with suspicious claims than diet pills. When faced with the prospect of the hard work it takes to change your diet and lifestyle, many people are tempted by claims of being able to lose weight by just taking supplements. The question is, do appetite suppressants actually work?

How Do Appetite Suppressants Work?

Appetite suppressants are a category of diet pill or weight loss medication. Prescription weight loss pills often work by convincing your brain and body that you are full, which can help you reduce cravings and reduce your overall food intake. These drugs can work by adjusting hormone levels in your gut, activating chemical channels in your brain, or even preventing the body from absorbing fat through your digestive tract. 

Nearly all medications carry the possibility of side effects, and even the best appetite suppressants are not immune to this. Though they are prescribed by your doctor or healthcare provider, prescription diet pills can cause a host of reactions and side effects including:

  • dizziness
  • constipation
  • dry mouth 
  • fatigue
  • insomnia or other sleep problems 
  • altered sense of taste
  • headaches
  • cough
  • increased heart rate
  • elevated blood pressure
  • vomiting and nausea

Not every drug works on the chemical pathways in the brain that control hunger. While this is the path taken by many FDA-approved prescription diet pills, other over-the-counter supplements try to achieve results through different pathways altogether. One of these is a process called thermogenesis.

Capsimax is a component of thermogenic dietary supplements such as Phenq. This combination of caffeine, capsicum, piperine, and niacin claims to work by speeding up metabolism, leading your body to release more energy stored in your fat cells. 

Other supplements such as LeanBean claim to work by using a complex mixture of many natural ingredients such as cayenne pepper, green coffee beans, turmeric, and garcinia cambogia, a compound that inhibits fat storage. Some weight loss supplements also work by combining green tea extract and glucomannan, a soluble fiber from the konjac plant that is thought to reduce hunger and act as a filler.

Do Appetite Suppressants Really Work?

Appetite suppressants approved by the Food and Drug Administration have undergone clinical trials to prove they have been effective in helping human patients lose weight, but that does not mean every drug is a good fit for every person. It also does not mean that you can lose all the weight you want by simply popping pills. Some drugs were only helpful in reducing body weight by 5% over the course of a year when compared to a placebo. These losses are not significant when compared with those that can be achieved when diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes all work together to help you lose extra body weight. 

Losing weight with diet pills may not be a healthy option for you if you have certain health conditions. Individuals with liver disease, hypothyroidism, a history of heart disease, or glaucoma should avoid taking weight loss pills in an attempt to lose weight.

How Can I Suppress My Appetite?

One of the best ways to suppress your appetite is to change your diet. Before you resort to weight loss supplements to curb your cravings, it is worth altering your diet. Eating a diet high in macronutrients like protein and healthy fats can help control hunger by triggering your body to feel full naturally. 

Cutting the amount of refined carbs in your diet can help lower blood sugar levels and thus reduce the rate the food you eat is converted into body fat. In addition to cutting out carbohydrates, and consuming an appropriate amount of dietary fiber, small lifestyle changes like drinking more water, especially a large glass of water before meals, can help to curb hunger and provide a feeling of fullness sooner. 

Trying to curb your cravings by changing your diet can have far-reaching health benefits. One of the side effects of a diet high in protein is that it contributes to lean muscle formation when paired with exercise. Extra fat-burning muscle mass can boost metabolism, which in turn helps you to lose excess body weight. 

Beyond what goes on your plate, the natural world is full of substances that help to curb hunger cravings without some of the negative side effects associated with appetite suppressants. Research shows that yerba maté, a plant-based drink popular in South America, may help suppress your appetite and elevate mood when paired with exercise. 

No discussion about weight loss would be complete without taking into account the effects that stress can have on your diet. Stress of many kinds can be expressed in how you eat. This can manifest for many people in extra cravings or binge eating even when you are not feeling hungry. So-called “stress eating” is often a component of excess body fat, and can occur even in people who are otherwise careful about what they eat. 

Are Natural Appetite Suppressants Safe?

In addition to prescription diet pills, there are a host of appetite suppressant supplements that claim to work in many different ways. Many over-the-counter supplements claim to offer freedom from obesity, but these claims, and the possible side effects, should be examined closely. Though many of these appetite suppressant pills claim to miraculously melt away pounds through speeding up metabolism, but there is more to the story than artificially increasing you metabolic rate with chemicals.. 

Losing weight is a great goal, but you still need to feed your body. In everything from keto diets to bariatric surgeries, people need to be careful they are still getting enough nutrients to keep their bodies healthy even while in caloric deficit. 

When taking any kind of medication or natural appetite suppressant, you need to be particularly careful that you are maintaining appropriate nutrient density in your food. If you are taking any substance that suppresses appetite, there is a chance you may stop eating before you have gotten enough vitamins and minerals from your food. This can lead to lower energy levels and other problems that can outweigh the health benefits of any weight loss you might be achieving. 

Losing Weight Safely

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about weight loss pills is that, like other forms of weight loss, you should not begin taking them unless advised to by your healthcare provider. Weight management is challenging for many people, and the prospect of a quick fix to stop your food cravings can be an alluring alternative to the challenge of much-needed lifestyle changes. 

At True You Weight Loss, we understand that everyone’s journey with obesity is different. Navigating the complex maze of factors that lead to weight gain, and the ways to reverse them can be challenging. There is no silver-bullet for weight loss, and while dietary supplements may be helpful, it is important to know the limitations and risks associated with taking them. 

The world of weight loss can be a confusing one. With everything from medical nutrition therapy programs to fat reducing injections like the recently FDA-approved Wegovy weight loss medication to reversible treatments like gastric balloons, it can be hard to decide if there is an option that is right for you. These options are necessary, though, as not everyone is a great candidate for weight loss procedures like endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG). 

If you are ready to learn more about the many options available when it comes to losing weight, request a consultation with True You Weight Loss today. 

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