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Diet pill is the pill that helps to reduce or control the weight of body. Diet pills either alter appetite or metabolism of body to regulate the body weight. Nowadays, people are using diet pills as an effective means of weight loss.

Diet pills are available in several different forms, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and herbal supplements.  

OTCs are as near as your local drugstore, where you'll find an aisle offering everything from pills to teas that promise weight loss. Prescription drugs are carefully regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and their use is closely monitored by the prescribing doctor. Herbal diet supplements are also available without a prescription. They are often labeled "all natural" and are considered by the FDA to be food products as opposed to drugs.

The diet pill industry

Most diet drugs companies are trying to invent genuine solutions to the problems of overweight and obesity. Diet pills promise us the easy way when we're desperate to shift weight, and with so many women seeking a slender physique with as little effort as possible, it's no wonder that the diet pill industry is a flourishing one. The diet drug companies have tried amphetamine-type diet pills, now they are producing diet pills that work on the brain to suppress appetite, or in the gut to inhibit the amount of fat digested. And even though prescription-only diet pills are regulated by the FDA, problems persist. In short, like all drugs, diet pills carry health risks.

In addition, OTC diet and weight loss pills are becoming more powerful yet remain unregulated. Without doubt, this has allowed certain pill-manufacturers to promote useless, even dangerous diet pills as the solution to weight loss without any evidence to support such weight-loss claims.

Do prescription diet drugs really work?

The effectiveness of diet pills and their main ingredients have been extensively studied by many research institutes and organizations worldwide. Xenical and Meridia are moderately effective, with an average weight loss of 5 to 22 pounds over a 1-year period, more than what would be expected with non-drug treatments. However, the response to these medications is based on each individual, and some people experience more weight loss than others. 

There is no one correct dose for these medications. Your doctor will decide what works best for you based on his or her evaluation of your medical condition and your response to treatment. Some people have lost more than 10% of their initial body weight with the help of prescription medications. This is a large enough amount to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and other obesity-related health complications. Patients generally experience a maximum weight loss within six months of starting medication treatment.

Over the short term, weight loss from prescription drugs may reduce a number of health risks in obese people. There are currently no studies to determine and prove the effects of these medications over the long term.

Do OTC diet pills work?

The temptation of using over-the-counter weight-loss pills to lose weight fast is often irresistible. Many of over-the-counter weight-loss pills contain a cocktail of ingredients – some with more than 20 herbs, botanicals, vitamins, minerals or other add-ons, such as caffeine or laxatives. 

Many of the diet pills and weight-loss aids available over-the-counter are at best ineffective, and at worst, dangerous. Even if the product claims to be natural, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe. Because the Food and Drug Administration classifies these preparations not as drugs but as “dietary supplements,” they are exempt from the rigorous safety and efficacy testing required of conventional medications. This means that a diet pill may not do what the label says it will do. Or even if it does, there may be unwanted side effects, such as increased blood pressure or pulse, or loss of body fluid which can lower potassium levels and cause heart and muscle problems. 

The most common ingredient in diet pills is Ephedra. Ephedra is an herbal ingredient previously found in many weight loss products. It was expected to act by reducing appetite. In December 2003, only after an alarming number of health problems among those who had taken these products had been reported, including heart attack, stroke, seizures, and even death, the FDA banned this substance from the marketplace.

Factors contributing to metabolic rate

The largest contributor is the "basal" or resting metabolic rate. This is basically the number of calories you burn at rest, just sitting in a chair. The second biggest component of your metabolic rate is determined by your level of activity and exercise.

The third component is sometimes called the thermic effect of food, and is defined as the amount of calories it takes to actually digest and process the food you eat. The last and smallest contributor to the metabolic rate is facultative thermogenesis, which basically means the heat-producing effect of things like fidgeting, reaction to cold and stress, and other similar factors.

Diet pills are not a magic solution for weight loss

There is evidence that diet pills do work to aid in weight loss, but not as a miracle cure. When used under medical supervision in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise program, diet pills can be effective - at least in the short term. Actually the body adjusts remarkably quickly to many diet pills, so the benefits may quickly wear off.

And if these pills are not used in conjunction with a proper weight loss program incorporating proper diet and exercise, they are not likely to be effective at all. Indeed some pills may even disrupt your system causing weight gain.

In case you are a genuine candidate of diet pills - i.e. you are seriously obese, with a will to modify your diet and take regular physical exercise, it would be ideal to consult your doctor and ask him to explain what weight loss pills may be suitable. It is wise not to buy diet pills without consulting your doctor.