Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to lose weight? Most of us over 30 are carrying more fat around our middles than we ought to and that’s a fact. Apart from the health implications of being overweight, we are constantly bombarded with media images of fit celebrities on Facebook, twitter, instagram…. It’s pretty endless. All this adds to the pressure to lose weight and look good, and where there’s pressure the urge to take short cuts looms strong.
Right off the bat I have to let you know that I have taken weight loss supplements in the past, out of impatience and ignorance. At my heaviest I weighed about 125 kg and was so desperate to lose weight that I took anything I could lay my hand on as long as it promised to burn off my fat! Guess what? Some were total crap and a waste of money, while some worked wonders and I lost my appetite for food completely! However, there is a price to pay. Some weight loss supplements work, but at what cost? I suffered from loss of sleep, heart palpitations, constant sweat and anxiety; I could go on and on.
Today, I will be writing about the most serious side effects that come from taking weight loss pills, no BS, just the truth and you decide if they are worth the trouble. Personally I would NEVER advice anyone to take them and I stopped selling them a few years ago, if you want to lose weight, just put in the time at the gym, on the road or in the pool, and watch what you eat!
- YOU COULD DAMAGE YOUR HEART:
Many weight loss drugs work by speeding up your body’s metabolism and heart rate in order to increase the amount of energy you burn. However, because they are artificially jacking up your heart rate, these supplements can lead to irregular heart beat (arrhythmias) and damage or malfunctions in the valves of your heart. Another side effect that can come of this is damage to the heart muscle itself; this insidious damage can set you up for a heart attack later in life.
- IT INCREASES YOUR RISK OF STROKE:
As stated previously, many of the substances found in weight loss supplements are stimulants and as implied, they stimulate the heart to pump faster. The risk is that as they stimulate the heart to pump faster, it can lead to increased blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke and bleeding in the brain. In fact the only over the counter stimulant I would take is caffeine, and even with caffeine there are risks associated with overdoing it; taking a tablespoon of pure caffeine is enough to kill most people.
The problem is that most weight loss supplements is that they are virtually unregulated and you just don’t know what you are really taking in.
- IT MIGHT AFFECT YOUR LIVER FUNCTION:
Your liver is important, that can never be overstated. It helps your body process food and flushes out toxins you have ingested; however weight loss supplements can put all that at risk. A 2011 study from Mount Sinai medical Centre New York found that taking “Fat Burner” dietary supplements that contain amongst other things herbal and tree derived ingredients could lead to acute liver poisoning and failure. When you take weight loss supplements your liver has to deal with the ingredients and chemical by products that come with them and that can cause a buildup of enzymes which may be toxic. Other research has also linked weight loss supps with cases of Hepatitis, a form of liver inflammation that can lead to permanent damage or scarring.
- DIZZINESS AND RINGING IN YOUR EARS:
One product to be wary of is “Green Tea Extract” many fat burners contain green tea extract as a major ingredient, to the average person it might seem assuring and natural, however there is a side effect that comes with it. Now don’t get me wrong, drinking plain green tea is fine, but a resent consumer report listed Green Tea Extract among its 15 supplement ingredients “to always avoid” citing research that links the extract to dizziness, ringing in your ears, poor iron absorption, elevated blood pressure and liver damage.
To wrap it up, I know there is pressure to lose weight and that the older you get, the harder it becomes. No matter how hard it gets, fat burners are just not the way to go. The honest truth is that some will work in the short term but can damage your health, while most of them are just crap! If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, a lifestyle change involving dietary changes and exercise is the only sure way to go. I know it might take a while, but you will get there.
Thanks, and do have a wonderful weekend!
Yemi Ilugbuhi is a Fitness Trainer/Consultant based in Abuja