Pop a pill, and lose weight?

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Priya (name changed) surprised her friends, when she reached out a pill before starting her meal. ?I have to shed a couple of kilos, I am going on holidays next month,? she tells them.

The appeal of losing weight quickly is hard to resist; but the real question is do these weight loss pills and products lighten anything but your wallet? Are they a safe option for weight loss?

?I tried and used a weight loss pill, Chitocal?, says Ms.Z (request to remain unnamed). ?I am 10 kilos overweight and need to lose weight to regularize my thyroid and polycystic ovaries case. I hit the gym everyday, but in the last three months, I have been able to lose just a kilo. That is when I heard about this drug and decided to try it. The leaflet that came with it promised me a minimum three kilo loss a month.?

A number of weight loss pills are available in UAE and even more options are available online. Most haven?t been proved effective, and some may be down right dangerous.

Ms Z consumed the drug for more than a month. She noticed during this period that she was losing her appetite and had a frequent diarrhea problem. ?I was skeptical from the day one (of using the drug). I wasn?t sure if I should use it, but I was tempted. A month later, I decided to stop. I lost one kilo,? she adds. A week after she stopped the drug, her appetite returned to normal and she gained what she lost.

?Weight loss is a major concern these days, especially among the women. Weight gain is sometimes due to lifestyle issues (i.e. lack of exercise, over consumption of oily foods etc) and sometimes due to medical complications. Like in Ms.Z?s case, she is diagnosed with hypothyroid and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. Both these will make weight loss difficult and she would be prone to pile up. In such cases, one has to practice patience. Medication, proper diet and physical activities are the mantra. It will be a slow process, but she is losing weight and that is a positive sign,? says Dr. Ujala Qasim.

Most of these drugs try to suppress your appetite and/or are laxative, and sometimes addictive; thus when you consume these pills you notice weight loss. But this is due to loss of water from the body and the moment you stop (consumption of the drug), you are at a higher risk of returning to your previous weight. ?My preference and advice to all looking for weight loss is physical activity. Sometimes the weighing scale might not show you great results, but the fat gets converted to muscle weight and that gives you a more toned body. In the long run, muscles burn more calories and you will experience weight loss?, adds the doctor.

?These medications are prescribed only in cases when the BMI (Body Mass Index) of a person is around 30 and above (making him/her obese). If a person with a BMI 27 and above has certain medical complications like Diabetes, Hypertension, or any lifestyle complications, we recommend these pills? says Aarsha Satyan, a nutritionist in the city.

When a patient is administered with weight loss pills, his medical condition is closely monitored. ?The best way to lose weight, (no matter what your need is), is by having a low calorie diet coupled with work outs and physical activities?, she adds.

You will lose weight, but at what cost do you want to? Price of these pills are not cheap to day even if your on an insurance plan coverage and living with bad side effects like severe headaches and high blood pressure that can and will damage all your blood vessels and organs, for instance, your lungs, kidneys, and heart and liver do pay a price when taking prescription drugs over time.

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