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Any weight loss, say doctors, is good weight loss. If there is some minor contribution the medication gives to the whole process, then that's positive. If taken strictly according to instructions, at worst, diet pills are harmless for the most part.
Effects of Dietary Supplements
The FDA regulates dietary supplements only in that it is required to ensure their safety. A manufacturer is not required to register a supplement or have it approved prior to going to market with it. They must only make certain the product is safe. It is the FDA's post-sales responsibility to keep them safe. Manufacturers must ensure that the label on the product is accurate and not misleading in any way.
There are definite benefits in taking dietary supplements per directions. They can assist anyone in obtaining nutrients not consumed through a balanced diet. And some can reduce the risk of certain diseases even though, by FDA regulation, they cannot claim to have any effect on disease at all. Those who have taken certain supplements, like Vitamin C, over many years will testify to their effectiveness in reducing the severity of the common cold as one example.
The risk with dietary supplements is that they all have active ingredients, and certain combinations of the supplements, or a combination of supplements along with prescription medication could cause unsafe results. It is also claimed that taking too much certain supplements can cause serious health problems. Vitamin A and D, and Iron are often referred to as culprits in this regard.
If a huge overdose of Vitamin A is consumed, liver and bone damage, or birth defects could result. Excessive iron in the system could possibly be poisonous to the body. Higher levels of selenium can damage tissue. And high levels of niacin could result in liver damage. However, if vitamins and minerals, in particular, are taken per directions, the chances of damage to health are minimal. If that were not so, the FDA could not take on the responsibility of certifying the supplements as safe.
The five most popular types of dietary supplements are: multiple vitamins, food replacements (SlimFast, Ensure), sports nutrition, calcium, and B. vitamins. Vitamin C is a close number six.
Who Takes Them?
Men, women, and teens take dietary supplements. In the majority of cases this may be a multiple vitamin taken in the morning to cover all the bases. Most teens these days are very active, and many parents are becoming more health smart about giving their sons and daughters a balanced diet. Since this is not always possible, the multivitamin, from a very young age, has become the pathway to at least a modicum of nutrition.
Surveys have shown that, by the age of 20, almost one-sixth of all girls have taken diet pills. For teenage males, the rates are about 50% of the girls' statistics. Many girls show tendencies toward severe weight loss activities such as skipping meals, vomiting, and taking laxatives. The emphasis on the "value" of being skinny and advertisements of women with miniscule waistlines, contribute to the problem.
It would seem, according to studies that almost as many men as women turn to the use of diet pills to help lose weight. Men tend to lose weight more easily than women so their use of the pills may be more short-term, but the minor assist the pills give is hard to resist.
All in all, the results obtained from diet pills, whether prescription or non-prescription do not match manufacturers' claims, and simple diet and exercise can be just as effective without the risk. Dietary supplements, on the other hand, can assist in maintaining balanced nutrition.
Bibliography faqs.org. "Dietary Supplements." 2008. Internet FAQ Archives. 19 July 2009
Foodanddiet.com. "pills." n/d. Foodanddiet.com. 19 July 2009
Saper, R.B., D.M. Eisenberg and R.S. Phillips. "Common Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss." 1 November 2004. American Academy of Family Physicians. 19 July 2009
Tank, C. "Should I use over-the-counter diet aids?" 14 May 2008. WebMD.com. 19 July 2009
Zeratsky, K. "Nutrition and Healthy Eating." 14 February 2008. Mayo Clinic. 19 July 2009
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