From the ancient period until World War II, most jobs required manual labor. Individuals did hard work on the job and obesity was uncommon. After World War II, with the advancement of technology, many countries have shifted to service-oriented economies.
So physical labour such as working in a farm has been replaced by sedentary works like sitting on a tractor, driving car, operating a machine, or working on a computer. As a result, people are getting overweight along with their harmful effects on the body. Today, people are ready to pay big bucks for a magic bullet (diet pill) to lose weight without changing their diet or exercising.
So, scientists have been working for years for that magic bullet. In the process, many diet pills have been introduced in the market and a billion-dollar industry developed.
Now, the most important question is – “ How Does Diet Pills work for weight loss?” We’ll try to find the answer in this article.
Most diet pills, available in the market, made up of one or a combination of the following ingredients: Caffeine, Garcinia Cambogia fruit extracts, Green coffee beans, Green tea extracts, Orlistat, Conjugated linoleic acid, Forskolin, Raspberry ketones, etc.
Let’s discuss their mechanisms of action and effects on the human body.
Caffeine is a commonly used central nervous system stimulant. It is a well-known metabolism booster and is often added to commercial weight loss supplements. It is naturally present in green tea, coffee, and dark chocolate. Some studies showed that caffeine can cause modest weight loss in humans. It can boost metabolism by 3-11% and increase fat burning by up to 29%.
Some individuals, due to the intake of excess caffeine, may experience anxiety, insomnia, irritability, nausea, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
Opuntia, known as prickly pear, is a genus in the cactus family. Opuntia is used to make appetizers, salads, soups, vegetable dishes, bread, desserts, candy, and drinks, etc.
One recent study suggested that Opuntia helped in the prevention of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers. The result showed a reduction in BMI, body composition, and waist circumference when compared to the placebo group.
Garcinia Cambogia is a green fruit, looked like a pumpkin. The skin of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This is the active ingredient in the fruit and is being used in the diet pill.
Studies showed that it can inhibit a fat producing enzyme in the body and increase levels of serotonin, thus helping to reduce hunger. A literature review (2011) that worked on 12 studies on Garcinia Cambogia found that, on average, it reduced weight of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) over several weeks. No potential side effects were observed in different studies.
Orlistat inhibits pancreatic and gastric lipase enzymes, thus decreases the hydrolysis of ingested triglycerides, reducing dietary fat absorption by approximately 30%. A literature review of 11 studies stated that orlistat increases weight loss by 6 pounds (2.7 kg) compared to a dummy pill.
This drug is not absorbed and adverse side effects due to resulting fat mal-absorption in the gut are loose stools, oily spotting, fecal urgency, flatus, and the deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins.
Orlistat at the standard dose of 120 mg is used as a prescription medicine (Xenical) and a lower dose (60 mg) is available as an over the counter (OTC) drug named Alli.
Green coffee beans are coffee beans that are not roasted. It contains several bioactive compounds, including caffeine and chlorogenic acids. Chlorogenic acids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In 2017, a study on females with obesity, taking 400 mg of green coffee bean extract for 8 weeks along with a low carb diet resulted in more weight loss than following a low carb diet alone.
It also reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and free fatty acids. Researchers found that the intervention affected the breakdown of fat in the body, which helped people control their weight.
Green tea extract contains catechins and caffeine. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most researched catechin and believed to have health benefits with its antioxidant properties. Green tea regulates the hormones that can enhance thermogenesis, the process by which our body burns calories to digest food and produce heat, thus helps in weight loss.
In addition, the antioxidants in green tea extract decrease inflammation and help in reducing blood pressure. They can also inhibit fat absorption in cells, thus reduce blood fat levels.
Raspberry ketone is a natural compound present in raspberries. Raspberry ketones increase the breakdown of fat in rats and increase levels of a hormone called adiponectin, believed to help in weight loss. In one small human study, after taking 200 milligrams of raspberry ketones along with 1,200 mg of Vitamin C daily for 4 weeks, people lost weight and body fat.
But it doesn’t confirm whether any benefit was from either the vitamin C or the raspberry ketones or from the combination.
Forskolin is an active compound found in the Indian coleus (Coleus forskohlii), a plant of the mint family. Forskolin stimulates the release of stored fat from fat cells, thus promote fat loss while preserving muscle mass, but the weight loss is not significant.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is one type of trans fat and found naturally in some fatty animal products like cheese and butter. In a literature review of 18 different studies, CLA found to cause weight loss of about 0.2 pounds (0.1 kg) per week, for up to 6 months. It can reduce appetite, boost metabolism, and stimulate the breakdown of body fat. But CLA has some digestive side effects as well. It may contribute to fatty liver and insulin resistance.
( If you not to use diet pill make sure though there is no definite magic bullet to date, reduce weight loss in association with lifestyle modifications like good dietary habits and physical exercise ) . Article research from Google scholar