The perils of diet pills and other quick fixes

tape worm

Diet pills are surrounded with a lot of dispute but still prove very popular with people looking for a “quick-fix”. They all claim some magical benefit, whether it is suppressing your appetite or boosting your metabolism. They are also expensive (it is estimated we spend more than £300 million a year on supplements).

One such natural ingredient is fucus (a dried seaweed extract) that contains iodine. Iodine is present in the hormone thyroxin which the body uses to regulate your metabolism. These pills suggest that by consuming this extract you raise your metabolism, speeding up digestion and aiding fat loss. This however is not proven and it’s doubtful that a little extra iodine in your system would have that much effect anyway.

Gone are the days, at least when we were eating tapeworms to lose weight. That’s right; in the 1920s a lot of people ingested these parasites as a “safe” and easy way to lose a lot of weight quickly. Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend mentioned that even jockeys in the late 30s and early 40s used them in order to keep trim.

The horror stories surrounding swallowing worms are not surprising but what might be interesting to know is that there are horror stories about eating pills as well. Many people have died from buying pills online, and it is often noted at the back of pill packets to only consume them with approval from a doctor and for short periods of time only.

The moral of the story is that there are no quick fixes. There is a reason it’s called a healthy lifestyle. You have to work for it, enjoy it and commit. The market is too saturated in 20 minute diets, pills and drinks that just eat away at your wallet and no have no long term benefits.

Posted in Nutrition and diet