Skinny with side effects

Are you about to kick-start a diet program to shake off those extra kilo’s – the winter-rolls or the weekend-pouch? There’s a problem: in an attempt to burn fat fast, some people reach for diet medication.

Banting, Atkins, Paleo, Weight-watchers – there are countless diets out there that promise to help you shed kilo’s and why do we follow these diets? Simple: we all want to look and feel confident in our skin. But there’s a point where the pursuit of a perfect physique can actually cause us harm, and the number one (alleged) quick-fix solution? Diet pills!

Pharmacies stock 100’s of brands of pills all boasting that their product is the ‘best in the world!’, or they’re made from a newly-discovered miracle plant. But BEWARE!  Do you know what’s actually in these pills and the potential side effects?

How do they work?

A stimulant is the foundation of most diet pills, and these are the 2 most commonly used:

  • Caffeine- based
  • Ephedrine-based

The problem with any stimulant is that there are side-effects. In this article, we’re going to focus on ephedrine-based diet pills.

What is Ephedrine?

We get ephedrine from a herb called “Ephedra”. When ephedra enters your system, it does the following:

  • Increases metabolism
  • Increases energy
  • Burns fat
  • Builds more muscle

Serious Side Effects

This sounds great, right? Maybe at first glance, but let’s look at the real potential cost to your health. Ephedrine has thermogenic properties, which means it speeds up your heart rate. While that may help increase your ability to burn fat, it carries some pretty alarming side effects:

  • Dehydration: Ephedrine causes your body to lose fluid more quickly and that’s why it’s essential to keep drinking water during your exercise programme. If you become severely dehydrated, you may go into shock because there isn’t enough fluid to get blood to your organs.
  • Caffeine sensitivity: If you become jittery or anxious after a few cups of coffee, you’re most likely very sensitive to it – ephedrine is even stronger!
  • It reacts badly with certain medication: Do you take prescription medication for a diagnosed condition? Caffeine and ephedrine-based diet pills can reduce the effects of your meds – never take diet pills if you suffer from depression, anxiety, high blood pressure or seizure disorders.
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Lose weight and feel good

So, if your friend has told you that diet pills are the solution to beating the bulge, think again. The negative side effects outweigh the possible gains. Just drop a few calories off the menu, add an extra 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week and work up a bit of a sweat!

If you need some advice and more information, speak to one of doctors!

Joanne Hart for