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Non Surgical Liposuction: Diet Pills

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No Really... Do Diet Pills Work?

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

This article will discuss non surgical liposuction – diet supplements.

So, we'll be talking about the alternative to liposuction that involves taking over-the-counter substances to affect weight-loss.

If you were looking for an honest discussion about alternatives to liposuction (particularly weightloss supplements)...

then you've come to the right place...

Let's get this discussion started.

How popular are supplements for weight-loss?

Here in the United States the herbal supplement/diet pill industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Millions of Americans swear by their particular supplement of choices. Whether they feel that it will calm their nerves, prolong their lives, enhance their libidos, or reshape their bodies – many folks are committed to purchasing and taking supplements daily.

A study recent study estimated that about 15% of all American adults have at some time in their lives used weight-loss supplements... And many of these individuals did not discuss this practice with their physician.

Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association

Again this data pertains to the U.S.

BUT with the expanding waistlines around the globe – one can surmise that the upward trend seen the in U.S. may also be true for the world as well (particularly industrialized nations).

It is clear that many people want non surgical liposuction alternatives... AND – let's face – don't particularly want to diet and exercise either.

How do diet pills work?

Diet pills work in a variety of ways. The main categories of their interaction with the human body include the following:

  1. Appetite Suppressants. These are a class of substances that work by curbing the appetite. However the specific biochemical mechanism is often not understood. BUT individuals who take hunger-diminishing supplements report that they either "feel full faster" or "don't experience as much desire to eat". As a result – the individual takes in fewer calories over the course of the day.
  2. Enzyme Inhibitors. Inhibitors diminish the body's ability to derive calories from ingested foods. Calories are then excreted in the bowel that would otherwise have contributed to weight gain. Theoretically, these types of substances decrease the amount of calories taken in by the individual throughout the day.
  3. Thermogenic Enhancers. Unlike appetite suppressants and enzyme inhibitors – thermogenic enhancers increase the caloric expenditure. So – in theory – individuals are able to eat the same amount of food they normally would – BUT the enhancer will up-regulate their metabolism to burn more calories. So, the end result is that with they should be able to lose weight due to increased calorie burned.
  4. Laxatives and diuretics. Laxatives and diuretics reportedly contribute to weight loss by the excretion of toxins and debris from the body. It is thought that this bodily "gunk" contributes to excess weight, and lethargy – which then has a negative impact on the waistline. Energy and vitality are restored when the body's systems are cleaned – thus contributing positively to weight loss.

These mechanisms generally have one of two major goals – either to reduce caloric intake, or to increase calorie utilization. If a supplement can achieve either of these aims – it is thought that weight loss can be enhanced.

What are some key ingredients in diet pills and what do they do?

The following table lists some common weight loss ingredients popular in today's over-the-counter diet supplements – AND their effects.

Table: Common Supplements in Diet Pills
Substance Possible Benefits
Green Tea Extract an herbal extract; useful as an antiviral; laxative; contains antioxidant properties; increases metabolism
Chromium Picolinate a trace mineral; helps to regulate blood sugar; helps utilize fat stores as energy to build lean muscle
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) a naturally occurring fatty acid; helps to utilize the body's stores fat stores; inhibits the body's tendency to store fat
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) a steroid hormone closely related to testosterone and estrogen; decreases body fat
L-Carnitine a vitamin-type compound synthesized from several amino acids; increases muscle endurance; decreases lactic build-up in muscle tissue; promotes fat burning
Pyruvate an acidic compound formed in the breakdown of glucose into energy; energy booster allowing individuals to exercise longer and more intensely
5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP) a naturally occurring amino acid; reduces carbohydrate cravings; improves depression
Hoodia Gordonii a South African herb of the Kalahari desert; aids in appetite suppression
Garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric acid or HCA) an herbal compound derived from the tamarind fruit popular in Indian cooking; inhibits enzyme the body needs to store fat; reduces appetite
Capsicum annuum (Cayenne pepper) an herb; helpful for pain relief; improves circulation
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Ginseng) an herb; enhances endurance and vitality; improves immune functioning; relieves signs of stress
Cascara sagrada (Buckthorn) an herb; laxative; a natural analgesic
Chitosan an indigestible compound derived from the exoskeleton of crustaceans; bulks stool and helps with elimination of food waste; reduces appetite by increasing the feeling of fullness when eating

Do diet pills work?

There are some animal studies showing that many of the ingredients listed above may have limited usefulness for weight loss.

Many other studies show that these same ingredients are not effective for weight loss, weight maintenance, or non surgical liposuction. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other benefits to using these herbs and compounds.

Based on the review of literature that I've done – I feel comfortable in saying that there is no "magic pill" that you can take to make all of your poor dietary choices go away.

What are the risks associated with diet pills?

Most people don't associate herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals with negative consequences.

We all understand that vitamins are good for us.

However, there are some risks that perhaps aren't well known that are associated with taking over-the-counter diet pills. The following table lists risks associated with the previously mentioned substances (herbs, amino acids, vitamins):

Table: Side Effects of Diet Pill Ingredients
Substance Possible Side-Effects
Green Tea Extract tannins found in extract may interfere with certain medications
Chromium Picolinate in high doses may cause oxidative stress and cellular DNA damage
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) loose stools; stomach upset; nausea
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) mental agitation; facial hair growth in women; breast enlargement in men; menstrual irregularities in women
L-Carnitine difficulty sleeping; headache; nausea and vomiting
Pyruvate gaseousness and bloating; nausea
5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP) multiple adverse interactions with medications
Hoodia Gordonii dehydration; gastrointestinal upset
Garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric acid or HCA) nausea; stomach upset; allergic reaction
Capsicum annuum (Cayenne pepper) severe allergic reaction; may cause discomfort or "burning" sensation upon excretion from the body
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Ginseng) stimulant effects; may cause heart irregularities
Cascara sagrada (Buckthorn) electrolyte imbalance; severe diarrhea; nausea and vomiting
Chitosan constipation; stomach upset; may trigger shellfish allergies or asthma

From this short list – alone – you can see that diet supplements and their ingredients do have potential side effects.

The best advice I can give you – if you are determined to take a weight loss supplement – is to tell your physician what you are doing. Let her help you determine if you're making the right decision for your health.

Who regulates diet pills and herbal supplements?

Here in the United States in 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed – in which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than for foods goods or drug products.

Under these provisions – the supplier of the dietary supplements are responsible to ensuring that they are safe to the public. After the dietary supplement is sold the FDA has the continuing responsibility to enforce standards and ensure the public's safety.

It is extremely important to report adverse drug or dietary supplement reactions to the FDA. They monitor this information, conduct studies, and issue guidelines that protect us all.

To report information to the FDA:

Outreach and Information Center (HFS-009):




Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740

Web - Dietary Supplement Alerts:


What is proven to work for weight loss?

Okay. There's a bottom-line in this discussion – although it may not be what you want to hear...

If you want to control your weight or achieve weight loss – you are going to have to eat healthy foods in moderate proportions and exercise regularly. There just isn't another way. Even other non surgical liposuction options aren't as reliable as diet and exercise.

The conclusion in all of this is that there are no magic bullets.

NOW – I preface that by saying – if you want to supplement your diet with vitamins and herbs that provide nutrition, that is a more reasonable and appropriate course of action. If you are trying to lose weight without any effort I suggest you save your money.

You HAVE to Listen to This:

On NPR's Morning Edition: "Diet-Pill Makers Fined for Fraud"

Non Surgical Liposuction - Discussion#2 References:

  • Abebe, Worku. "An overview of herbal supplement utilization with particular emphasis on possible interactions with dental drugs and oral manifestations." Journal of Dental Hygiene 77.1 (2003): 37+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 25 Mar. 2010.

  • Hall, Harriet. "Don't let them Hoodia-Wink you; bunkum reigns in weight loss pills and bad back devices." Skeptic [Altadena, CA] 13.1(2006): 18. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 23 Mar 2010.

  • Preuss, Harry, and Bill Gottlieb. "The Natural Fat-Loss Pharmacy." Original Internist 14.1 (2007): 7. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 23 Mar. 2010.

  • Tyler, Varro E. "Question: since prescription diet pills are not on the market anymore, I'd like to try some of the herbal weight loss products. Do they work?" Prevention Jan. 1998: 81+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 25 Mar. 2010.

  • Pierro, Francesco Di, et al. "GreenSelect[R] Phytosome as an adjunct to a low-calorie diet for treatment of obesity: a clinical trial." Alternative Medicine Review 14.2 (2009): 154+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 23 Mar. 2010.

  • Graves, Ginny. "Weight-loss wonderland." Women's Sports and Fitness 2.4 (1999): 60. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 20 July 2009.

  • "Why fortify with chromium picolinate?" Prepared Foods 174.10 (2005): 78. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 25 Mar. 2010.

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