The People's Chemist

Diet Pill Secrets

Select herbal blends can serve as a “metabolic spark” to our fat burning engine, and therefore provide us with a damn good diet pill. Remember ephedra? It worked. But not without controversy. Today, plenty of other blends can similarly chisel out a great physique. But most pills miss the mark completely. With side effects like heart defects and muscle weakness, they make looking fat, look good. You’ll want to know about these first!

To understand the inherent failures and risks of diet pills, you must understand the complexity of the human metabolism. It’s a delicate and intricate balance of organ function, hormonal activity, appetite control, and biogenic amine output all working in orchestra-like unison. Once achieved, the perfect metabolism – courtesy of this “hormone intelligence” – bestows low body fat and defined muscle, at any age. This innate intelligence of the human body cannot be mimicked or activated by any one single herb or isolate in a pill. But this hasn’t stopped the drug and supplement industry from trying. Such attempts have proven futile and even dangerous.

Death by Diet Pill

The first diet pill to hit the market was a combo of the psychostimulants fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine (marketed as Fen-Phen). Made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, its $52 million dollar marketing plan began selling the pants off fat Americans in 1992 by promising appetite control – despite not having FDA approval for the so-called, anorectic drug combo. Its benefit hardly outweighed its risk. Users lost a mere 5.5 lbs. of body weight compared to that achieved by dieting alone.

The New England Journal of Medicine showed that users of the combo faced a 23-fold increase in the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension and cardiovascular complications. Marketing ceased in 1997 after rampant heart disease and death. Wyeth paid about $17 billion in damages, but was never charged by the FDA for the illegal marketing of an unapproved drug.

Low Fat Failures

The over-the-counter diet pill Alli is proving to be a big fat scam too, just like its commercial predecessor Xenical. Both trade names represent the same drug: orlistat. Once ingested, it blocks the absorption of dietary fat intake – both good and bad fats. The activity of the drug only confers about 5 percent loss of total body weight. Simultaneously, it puts users at risk for decreased absorption of essential, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and beta-carotene. But there’s one more icky side effect that most aren’t aware of until it’s too late.

Alli may go down in history as the most “embarrassing” – or at least the most revolting – diet pill in history. While leaching essential vitamins from the body, it also causes users to “poop their pants.” Its maker, GlaxoSmithKline, suggests that users “wear dark pants or bring a change of clothes to work.” Skipping one soda per day, or maybe even just looking at a gym, would prove more effective and less risky than using Alli – and you wouldn’t have to carry a diaper to work.

Attempting to lose weight by blocking or avoiding fat is futile – as proven by Alli. Eating fat in general does not make you fat. Eating unhealthy fat does. Healthy fats (from seeds, nuts, grass fed beef, avocados, fish and coconut oil) are essential for proper growth, development, and maintenance of good health. These vital fat sources provide your body with energy without causing you to gain weight. In sharp contrast to the bad, trans fats, carbohydrates and even protein, healthy fat tells your body to burn fat (via lypolysis and thermogenesis) while making you feel fuller quicker – preventing you from eating yourself into the Fat-Cow-Hall-of-Fame.

Hoodia Fails Big Pharma

Hoodia seems to be “all the craze” in diet pills. It garners millions and suckers even more. Discovered in 1937, it’s used by the San Bushmen of Africa to curb appetite during long stints in the desert. It was never used for fat loss. But this didn’t stop drug giant Pfizer from investing over $20 million researching its active ingredients. Apparently, they intuitively thought that appetite control would lead to fat loss and that Americans would benefit from curbing their hunger during the arduous, hunger inducing stints at the grocery store. Wrong.

Hoodia only slightly curbs hunger among obese American’s probably due to their severe sugar addiction. Still though, hoodia hucksters call this the miracle effect. In reality, it’s the “pointless effect.” Hoodia’s slight anorectic ability has never translated into significant weight loss. There are no large scale clinical trials to prove otherwise. Lesson learned, Pfizer abandoned hoodia and its active ingredients a steroidal glycoside as a diet pill. They unleashed it to the supplement industry. Ignoring the science, which they seem to do very well, the industry utilizes the cactus-like plant to scam dietary supplement users daily.

Scrambling for Fat Loss Pills

SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are being used to capitalize on America’s expanding waist line. None are FDA approved as diet pills. But in a frantic scramble to get a piece of the diet pill action, the drug industry is touting and prescribing the antidepressants as such.

It is “thunk” by the experts that they will increase the amount of active serotonin in the brain and therefore control appetite to elicit perfect weight. The SSRI known as Wellbutrin refutes the flawed hypothesis.

Wellbutrin fails to shrink the ever-expanding belly. Users who completed an entire year of use lost a clinically insignificant 7.5% and 8.6% of body weight according to a study funded by its maker. And users faced ghastly side effects.

Wellbutrin was withdrawn in 1986 because of an unacceptable incidence of seizures. It was released back to the market in 1986 for unknown reasons. Clinical trials show that 6.1% of users suffer from seizures. Real life data is suggesting much higher rates. Wellbutrin is the third leading cause of drug related seizures with cocaine being number one.

Wellbutrin isn’t the only failed SSRI being pushed as a diet pill. The drug industry is ravenous for the fat profit that comes from fat Americans. Therefore, they’re eager to push Prozac (fluoxetine) or the biological wild card known as Meridia (sibutramine) as the next billion dollar diet pill. All have failed miserably, causing each and every one of them to be prescribed with “proper diet and exercise.”

The Billion Dollar Fat Loss Pill

Capitalizing on the overt failures of the pharmaceutical industry, supplement companies continue to amass billions by peddling what they term to be safe and natural diet pills. Like their pharmaceutical counterpart, the supplement industry uses a slew of herbal products in an attempt to confer perfect weight. Chromium picolinate is among the most well-known.

Chromium picolinate continues to garner attention from the obese who hope to lose fat with a single pill. Chromium is a trace metal that works in our body to activate insulin. Without it, insulin would be unable to escort toxic glucose out of the bloodstream and into the muscle cells for energy metabolism.

Recognizing this, supplement hucksters erroneously promote it as an insulin lowering agent. It’s theorized that by potentiating the fat storing hormone insulin with chromium picolinate, that our body would produce less of it. And less insulin means less fat storage. This theory has not held up to the rigors of scientific method and has been a disappointment for millions.

Looking closer at clinical trials, Harvard University found that supplementing with the co-factor failed to elicit any significant weight loss – a meager 2 to 4 lbs over 6 to 14 weeks, which could be achieved in 7 days among the obese with proper exercise. The big fat failure of chromium picolinate to induce weight loss probably results from the fact that the obese are not deficient in it.

Biologically active chromium is readily available in common foods such as whole-grains, processed meats, coffee, nuts, and even wine and beer. And because it is a “co-factor,” the body requires very little of it to properly utilize insulin. Thus, each and every one of these sources can provide the required amount.

Herbal Metabolic Sparks

The supplement industry is keen on discovering the hot new, billion dollar diet pill. To this end, scientists have discovered some promising herbs. Many of them work on a family of receptors within the sympathetic nervous system known as beta-receptors. Termed beta-agonists, select natural products can work to activate two metabolic processes known as thermogenesis and lypolysis. This simply helps convert stored fat into heat and energy, respectively.

Either directly or indirectly, citrus aurantium, green tea and yohimbe bark serve as “beta-agonists.” When the proper isolates are consumed in the exact ratios, at the right time of day, they can rush to your fat loss switches to force your body to get rid of that “junk in the trunk.” It’s no joke. The latest generation in fat loss pill utilizes key substrates and isolates shunt fat storing while simultaneously aiding muscle growth and thwarting side effects like dizziness, high blood pressure and that awful shaky feeling common to such products. These benefits come from supporting extracts that help balance all the hormones that manage metabolism, such as insulin and even blood sugar. But, wait a minute, its not a silver bullet!

Lack of exercise and lack of sun exposure, poor water consumption, sugar and artificial sweeteners, refined carbohydrates, trans fats and alcohol consumption will always negate any benefits that may come from using herbal, beta-agonists. Low fat diets and more than three meals per day will halt the benefits.

Stimulate, Stimulate, Stimulate

Unable or unwilling to know the difference between a “beta-agonist” and a stimulant like caffeine, most nutritional supplement companies design diet pills that simply stimulate the hell out of you – probably due to the inexpensive and addictive nature of stimulants. This explains the added marketing trickery of promising “energy.” Users are ultimately left feeling shaky, dehydrated and usually edgy.

Pull any top brand off your grocery store shelf and you’ll find that they are loaded with high doses of caffeine, caffeine-containing herbs and stimulants like white tea, oolong tea, yerba mate and guarana. Users feel energized and alert, but rarely lose fat – unless they are channeling their energy into banging some weights around. Stimulants cannot activate metabolism because they work on the brain to block a sleep inducing compound known as adenosine, which simply prevents us from getting some shut-eye, and keeping us in the Fat Gain Hall of Fame.

The Sure Fire Way to Lose Fat and Build Lean Sexy Muscle

The only sure-fire way to get that lean, sexy look is to understand that a great metabolism requires great lifestyle habits. Once a great lifestyle becomes a habit, anyone can ignite their natural intelligence to obtain the perfect metabolism. And the diet pill with a naturally occurring beta-agonist might just give you that extra edge.

About the Author

My name is Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison. I hold a master’s degree in organic chemistry and am the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded Edition (SourceBooks). I’ve been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman’s World, US News and World Report, as well as Women’s Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start protecting yourself and loved ones with my FREE report, 3 Worst Meds.


The People’s Chemist provides these articles for information only. They are not meant to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and do not replace professional medical advice from a medical doctor. I am not a doctor and would only “play doctor” if I was with my wife. In fact, I have not even read Grey’s Anatomy.

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