Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

A pill a day keeps the doctor away?

For people that want to lose weight, diet supplements may seem like a great alternative. The manufacturers of these products make promises about the properties of their drugs and how these pills instantly work,  however most of these claims are not backed up by research. In fact, these pills that claim to be so “healthy” for you are actually very dangerous.


Firstly, what are diet pills? A diet pill is any product that you take orally that includes nutrients, herbs or other ingredients that add to the content of your ordinary diet. A diet pill may contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, herbs, glandular extracts and organ products.

Over-the-counter diet pills “supposedly” help you lose weight by affecting your metabolism. The main ingrediant in most diet pills is caffeine, a central nervous stimulant that may help you burn fat. But the risks of taking these stimulants may outweigh the benefits. Diet pills are only effective if combined with diet and exercise. In fact less eating, more exercise and diet pills can help you lose between 5 percent and 10 percent of your total body weight within a year. However, weight loss pills alone, are not a healthy or effective way to lose weight and be extremely harmful.

So just how dangerous are these pills?

Well firstly no-one actually knows what is in these pills, manufacturers claims they are 100% herbs and organic extract, however this cannot be the case as regular intake of diet pills can lead to increased heart rate, high blood pressure, agitation, diarrhoea, sleeplessness, kidney problems, liver damage, rectal bleeding. In fact many popular brands such as ephedra and hydroxycut have been banned of the market due to the increased amount of heart attacks, strokes and liver diseases.

In March of 2015, 21-year-old student Eloise Aimee Parry died after taking diet pills she’d bought online. The drugs contain the highly-toxic substance known as Dinitrophenol or DNP, which is known to have contributed to the deaths of others using it for weight loss. She had taken even more of these ‘slimming tablets’ than recommended on the pack and had no idea just how dangerous they really were.

The incidence of the deaths are increasing, someone with an eating disorder may not be concerned about the dangers of dietary supplements. All the may be thinking is losing weight that they don’t about the risks. Long term weight loss requires a change in your diet and exercise. Taking a pill as a quick and easy method, however does not encourage you to gain a better understanding of how foods and exercise affect your weight.

If you are someone that is looking to lose weight or maintain weight —- a diet mainly consisting of diet pills is not the answer.






One comment on “A pill a day keeps the doctor away?

  1. aserwin1501
    May 3, 2016

    I found this article very interesting as I have never associated weight loss pills or drugs with being dangerous, even with misuse. After a bit of digging couldn’t it be said that the classification of these drugs need to be changed to ensure there is a harm free product on the market. So it is through the lack of testing and trials that these are being classified as dangerous. As these are classified as supplements and not drugs, as shown in the following link by the Food and Drug administration.
    This is what seems to be the fundamental issue here that a lack of governance on these markets that are really up and coming need to be monitored.


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This entry was posted on May 2, 2016 by in Burwood - Thursday 2pm.

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