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:: WEIGHT LOSS ARTICLE

The Truth About Diet Pills And Weight Loss

We've all heard it before: the secret to weight loss is you have to burn more calories than you take in. One of the reasons people don't apply this fundamental truth is that they don't understand what the word "calorie" means.

A calorie is a unit of heat measurement, just like a degree is on a thermometer. An inch is a unit of distance measurement, so is a foot. An ounce is a unit of weight measurement and so is a pound. It's the same thing with a calorie and a degree - they are both measurements of heat.

How this applies to food can be understood by thinking about how much heat (energy) it takes to burn different substances. For example: does it take more heat to burn a pound of newspaper or a pound of lead? A lot of people get confused at this point because they think of the old trick question: What weighs more, a pound of paper or a pound of iron? The right answer to that question is that they weigh the same. But that doesn't mean it takes the same amount of energy (heat) to burn them, does it? Well, some foods are like dry paper - it doesn't take much heat to burn them up - and some foods are like lead - you need a welder's torch to get the job done.

How does this apply to diet pills? Some diet pills suppress appetite, so you eat less. Sounds great, but these types of pills (catecholamines and amphetamine-based drugs) have bad side effects, including sleeplessness, emotional instability and interference with normal concentration.

Other drugs assist in weight loss by reducing the absorption or some types of nutrients. Again, there are undesirable side effects. Drugs that inhibit the breakdown and absorption of fats do so with all fats. The problem is that healthy, necessary fats are not absorbed as well as excess fats. This leads to all kinds of health problems, most noticeably bad skin and hair loss.

Diuretics over-stimulate the digestive track. They are great for extremely short-term weight loss, but it's almost all water, leading to dehydration. And as soon as you drink water, the weight goes back on. Finally anorexigenics like dexedrine, which suppress the appetite like catecholamines and amphetamines do, are stimulants that can quickly become addictive.

Everybody has a natural weight that suits their body's specific metabolism. That weight may not be what is currently fashionable, but it doesn't mean it is unattractive. Your ideal weight is the weight you are when you are eating a balance of fresh foods until your hunger is satiated and no more. How much food that is depends on how much you move your body.

Diet pills should never be taken without informing your doctor or medical specialist, even the over the counter ones. They can be of assistance in the short term, but long term the only solution is eat less and exercising more, tough as that may be.

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