Burn baby burn

By on February 27, 2009

Photo © Elena Derevstova

Let’s be honest. You’ve seen the advertisements for weight loss pills. You know, the ones with those amazing before and after pictures, and you’ve wondered to yourself… do they work?  


Weight loss pills can be broken down into 3 basic categories:


Appetite Suppressants: these work just like they sound. The appetite-regulating region of your brain (the hypothalamus) is tricked by blockage of the re-uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result you feel like you’ve just eaten a big meal, so you’re less likely to overeat. 


Stimulants: these types of weight loss pills formely contained a combination of ephedra and caffeine to raise energy expenditure (thermogenesis) while also reducing appetite. You’re probably aware that these pills were proven in some cases to be deadly, so ephedra was taken off the market. Stimulant pills now contain other ephedra-like substances, vitamins and caffeine. The idea is to increase energy and boost metabolism. 


Fat Blockers: these pills inhibit the action of the enzyme lipase, which is responsible for breaking down fat during the digestion process. The goal is to prevent a percentage of the fat you’ve eaten from being absorbed into your system. 


So we return to our burning question. Do the pills work? Here’s what the diet pill companies say:


You’ll lose 30lbs in 30 days,” “Achieve rapid weight loss results”, “Burn calories and fat 24 hours a day,” “Fights fat and delivers rapid weight loss


Those claims are amazing! Too bad they are just that – claims. It’s so tempting to imagine that those benefits could be gained just by swallowing a pill. Tempting enough to make diet pills a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry. 


While diet pills showcase a few star spokespeople, none of whom live on your block, the world is full of real people who have lost weight and improved their lives with exercise and healthy eating. Check out these proven benefits of exercise: Increased Weight Loss, Improved Sleep Pattern, Raised Self Esteem, and the list goes on.


A pill may slightly increase your metabolic rate for a time, or it may suppress your appetite, and you may even lose a few pounds. However, a pill alone cannot produce serious or permanent weight loss. A pill cannot deliver the same results as healthy nutrition, proper sleep and regular exercise. 


If you really want to lose weight, and if you’re looking for long term health benefits, then look no further than your sneakers because at the end of the day, you have to ‘move to lose’.


Jeff Libengood, founder of Jeff‘s Fitness, has been serving Japan and the expat community for 20 years. If you want results look no further than Jeff.  Email  jeff@jeffsfitness.com 

About Jeff Libengood