How Do Diet Pills Work? Updated 2022
It is enough to go to any pharmacy to see that the supply of fat-burning or fat-binding pills, which promise to help you lose weight, is very varied. But are they really effective?
Now that the return to the street is planned for the summer, you should not resort to “quick” solutions.
The sale of slimming products is the most popular in pharmacies. According to the words of Dr. Diego Bellido, vice president of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) , spending on obesity treatments amounts to practically 20% of global pharmaceutical spending.
But what do the experts think about over-the-counter weight loss gummies? For Bellido there are no serious clinical trials that demonstrate its effectiveness.
More than half of overweight
That, he tells us, does not mean that at a particular level there are people who consider that its use is going well for them, but ” these are subjective situations, which do not have any statistically significant repercussion at the population level” , clarifies the endocrinologist.
Rosa Arnau, member of Food of the Official College of Pharmacists of Castellón maintains that “the pill alone will hardly give the desired results if it is not accompanied by a change in lifestyle”.
THOSE THAT PROMISE TO “BURN FAT”
The claim of certain pills and supplements is that, thanks to them, the metabolic cost increases.
If we take a look at their ingredients we see that they usually contain natural substances that are considered thermogenic , such as green or red tea, guarana or caffeine .
But for them to help increase metabolic expenditure, again, it is essential that the diet is balanced and that physical exercise is done on a regular basis.
Regarding the strictly pharmacological treatment, for the vice president of the SEEDO there is no medication that causes this thermogenic effect today, and this is explained because it would greatly increase the heart rate.
Despite this, “it is a very interesting line of research for the future ,” says the expert. You can read interesting reviews and health topics on Talks Corner.
THIS IS HOW “FAT BINDERS” WORK
Those that promise to block and capture fat are another of the most popular options. The most common active ingredients of this type of pill are three:
As Rosa Arnau explains, L-carnitine is essential for fats to enter the mitochondria, which are responsible for using them as energy (that is, burning them).
From then on, its effects begin to be noticed… but only when intense exercise is done ” , clarifies the pharmacist.
This component is extracted from the shells of crustaceans and has the ability to absorb fats “as if it were a sponge” , explains the member of the College of Pharmacists of Castellon.
Then, it takes them to the large intestine to be consumed by the intestinal flora, a mechanism that can cause gases to form.
It is the active ingredient in a drug for obesity that comes in two versions: a more powerful one, which is sold with a prescription, and a milder one, which can be bought without it.
“It is a derivative of lipstatin, a substance that inhibits the enzyme that cuts fat (lipase) in the intestine. As they are not cut, they cannot be absorbed and are eliminated in the feces ” , explains Rosa Arnau.
The expert also tells us that it can cause side effects such as fatty diarrhea, an urge to go to the bathroom, nausea, vomiting, headaches or even depressive problems.
HOW LONG CAN THEY TAKE?
It depends, above all, on the composition. Although, as the pharmacist emphasizes, “of course they are not designed to be consumed chronically. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the advice of our doctor or pharmacist ” .
Keep in mind that, although they are sold without a prescription…
Its use is contraindicated in several cases , for example if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have diabetes, hypertension, heart or thyroid gland disorders.
They are also not recommended in case of suffering from inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract or if there is a medical history of constipation.
Those with a fat-binding effect can interact with other drugs and reduce the effectiveness, for example, of birth control pills and preparations used in the treatment of menopause.
“To avoid this, you have to let at least four hours pass between the consumption of one and the other” , warns Rosa Arnau.
These types of products “can help in long-term treatments, but knowing that they are a support and not the fundamental mechanism to lose weight” , concludes the pharmacist.