Meditation & Health No 2 - Table of Contents


Are Diet Pills Safe?


         Ads for diet pills seduce people with promises of fast, effortless weight loss, catering to the collective fantasy that one can be slim without exercising or implementing a healthy diet. Many fall prey to the hope that popping a pill will instantly give them what they want.

         Diet pills promote weight loss in the following three ways:

         By inhibiting the brain’s appetite center, they reduce appetite and consequently reduce calorie intake.

         Weight loss drugs also stimulate the metabolism, increasing oxygen consumption and body fat and sugar oxidation, which reduces the accumulation of fat in the body.

         And finally, by stimulating the bowel, they curb nutrient absorption, increasing and expediting excretion.

         Diet pills artificially change the body’s normal digestive and excretory functions. They impact the body in negative ways, impacting all natural processes and even, through long-term use, causing new illnesses. There is a dark side to weight loss drugs and many well-documented adverse reactions are associated with their consumption, including dizziness, dry mouth, accelerated heartbeat, insomnia, heart palpitations, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

         Although pounds may fall away rapidly, there is no guarantee of permanent weight loss and more often than not, users gain back the lost weight and then some. Many end up trapped in yo-yo dieting, paying a price both physically and emotionally.

         And there is yet another cost involved in diet pill use – the financial cost. A weight loss survey in “Readers’ Digest” showed that China has the highest percentage of diet pill users in the world. Thirty-seven percent of respondents claimed that they had taken them. Myriad international pharmaceutical companies are actively developing new weight loss drugs, spurred on by high profit margins and huge market potential.  The industry is booming, with sales of the high-priced drugs continually brisk. In the early 1980s, a new weight loss pill called fenfluramine phenol (fen-phen) entered the market, and the annual sales revenue generated by diet pills globally shot up into the hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2007, the global market for weight loss drugs (including various natural health supplements) reached $1.7 billion, and exceeded $2 billion in 2009. According to financial predictions from US-based consulting company Frost & Sullivan, global sales of weight loss drugs will reach $6.9 billion by 2015.

         The human need for a quick-fix provides relentless fuel to the industry, but all weight loss drug users would be wise to consider whether the costs – financial, physical, and emotional – are truly worth it.



Meditation & Health No 2 - Table of Contents