Diet pills are used throughout the world to help people to lose weight, but are they safe? What’s more, are they addictive and are they legal? Your questions will be answered, here…

Addictive, Legal, and Dangerous? The Truth About Diet Pills
Myriam Zilles

Diet pills, or weight loss pills and supplements, have long been used to help people to manage their weight. These days, doctors may prescribe them as a means to kickstart weight loss in obese people, or with a BMI of over 25 to 27.

Although they can be beneficial, the truth is that not all diet pills are legal in every country. This is why doing your research to understand the regulations is important to avoid drug conspiracy sentencing guidelines.

In this article, we explore the issues surrounding diet pills and discuss whether they’re safe or not. We also talk about the legal side of things to help you to understand the topic a little more. Take a look…

The History of Diet Pills

Body conformity has always been part of human nature, but it wasn’t until around the late 1800s were weight loss, and slimmer figures, became much more sought after. With this change came the introduction of the diet pill.

Originally referred to as fat reducers, they relied on thyroid extract to increase the metabolic rate. Despite the sometimes fatal side effects, these types of pill continued to be available until the 1960s.

This was joined, in the 1930s, by dinitrophenol, which produced a thermogenic effect within the body. However, serious issues with the drug, including deaths due to hyperthermia, severe rashes, cataracts, and damage to the sense of taste, were reported. This prompted new laws which gave the Food and Drug Administration greater control over it all.

By the mid-1950s, amphetamines were used, which kept people alert but also worked as a great appetite suppressant. After this, numerous different drugs for the purpose of weight loss came and went over the years. Many were removed from the market due to side effects.

By the 21st century, numerous herbal formulations were introduced, creating a huge market for weight loss. Coupled with the introduction of social media, it’s become clear that the obsession with diet pills is far from over.

As you can see, the history of diet pills is fraught with issues surrounding body image, mainly in women. The question is, are they dangerous?

Types of Weight Loss Pills

Since the diet pill became all the rage, numerous different types have surfaced over the past century to help people to lose those pesky pounds. Now, they come in three main forms to suit different lifestyles and needs, including:

  • Energy boosters: some diet pills work on the concept of boosting energy to provide the user with extreme abilities to work out. This can help the person to increase their ability to burn calories.
  • Appetite suppressants: other diet pills use a collection of ingredients to help suppress a person’s appetite, stopping them from over-eating. These are sometimes prescribed to obese people to jump-start weight loss, helping them to recognise the cues signalling fullness.
  • Lipase inhibitors: most diet pills stick to the above methods, however, orlistat interferes with fat absorption by inhibiting its absorption during digestion, to be later released in the stool.

Diet Pill Side Effects: Are They Dangerous?

Depending on the type of diet pill you opt for, there are a huge variety of potential side effects. For starters, they can interact negatively with other medications, which can be detrimental to a person’s physical health.

Otherwise, they can cause a myriad of side effects, some more serious than others. Ultimately, overuse of a product like this can lead to death, which is why using them responsibly, and with the advice of your doctor, is paramount. Some of the possible side effects of diet pills include:

Side Effects of Energy Boosters

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Jitteriness and tremors
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Side Effects of Appetite Suppressants

  • Liver damage or liver disease
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Change in sense of taste
  • Cough
  • Constipation
  • Increased blood pressure or heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting

Side Effects of Lipase Inhibitors

  • Gas
  • Oily stools, and oily spotting on underwear
  • Urgent and increased bowel movements
  • Loose stools
  • Pain or discomfort in the rectum
  • Stomach pain, which can become severe and continuous
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Hives or rash
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • Liver disease or damage
  • Dark-coloured urine or light-coloured stools

Are Diet Pills Addictive?

First and foremost, diet pills can cause physical dependence due to their ingredients, which means the body can’t physically function without them. This is down to a number of ingredients within weight loss supplements, including caffeine and amphetamines; both highly addictive.

That’s not all, though, as diet pills can also be addictive in a mental capacity. In fact, what’s particularly troubling about them is that they can provide a sense of control in a person’s life for those afflicted with an eating disorder. As they can be purchased over the counter, this can cause an addiction to ensue under the radar.

Are Weight Loss Pills Legal?

Many weight loss supplements are legal in the UK and US and have been FDA-approved before they have been disseminated. That said, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a black market for diet pills.

In some cases, this market is highly accessible, based on today’s online world. For example, UK dieters can access illegal diet pills online by using US websites.

That said, in other cases, there are back-alley productions of weight loss pills that don’t work, for one. However, the main problem with illegal weight loss pills is that they’re unregulated, which means they could contain unsafe or banned substances, interact with other medicines, and have serious, life-threatening side effects.

This is why sticking to the legal, FDA-regulated, substances is very important, alongside seeking the advice of your doctor before using anything of this sort.

Should You Use Diet Pills?

Although diet pills can be useful in helping to kickstart weight loss through changing relationships to food, it can quickly become a damaging process. Not only can it cause addiction, but it can also lead to serious health side effects, as we’ve seen.

It’s paramount that you speak to your doctor before deciding this is the course for you. It’s also highly important that you notify your doctor if you experience any troubling symptoms whilst using these pills.

Ultimately, a healthy and calorie-controlled diet, alongside a fit and active lifestyle, is likely to work wonders instead.