The pill that opens the door to the promised land.
It is no surprise that people will do anything to lose excess weight. Our fascination with food may be eclipsed by our obsession with losing weight.
Weight loss often tops the list when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Thanks to the popularity of weight-loss products and programs, our wallets are also getting billions of dollars slimmer each year.
We live in a world where many people resort to extreme measures to lose weight. In this climate, products that promise extreme or rapid weight loss have created a great deal of suspicion and controversy.
Decades of Imperfect Pills
The history of weight-loss drug development is a tumultuous one. Weight-loss medications are highly controversial.
From their earliest days, pills have been marred by side effects ranging from high blood pressure to death. Several products have been taken off the market after causing serious health problems.
One of the most notorious was a combination of fenfluramine and phentermine that was marketed as Fen-Phen. This product was linked to a number of deaths, as well as cases of pulmonary hypertension and damaged heart valves.
“Several products have been taken off the market after causing serious health problems.”
The Latest – but not the Last!
In June this year, Novo Nordisk was unprepared for the demand for Wegovy, the latest weight loss pills to have received the US Food and Drug Administration approved in early June.
Wegovy (semaglutide) a once a week injection, is one of five drugs on the market for “chronic weight management.” Pharma companies’ pipelines, once devoid of anything related to weight loss, are now flush with drug candidates.
Novo Nordisk manufactures Wegovy. The company was unprepared for the demand for the drug after its approval in June 2021.
Are weight loss pills the answer?
Many studies report that most people only lose 5 to 10 kgs from taking weight-loss medications. This is considered significant by the medical community but is very disappointing to patients. Unfortunately, this modest weight loss is quickly gained back when patients stop the medication.
Most health professionals agree that the healthiest method for losing weight is getting regular exercise and eating a well-balanced diet of moderate portions of healthy food. Understanding and modifying your attitudes about eating also are critical to weight loss.
Should you consider taking diet pills?
Beware of products that promise quick and easy weight loss. Over-the-counter supplements aren’t always regulated. According to the many regulatory bodies, most of those products don’t work, and some of them are dangerous. Regulators have found products marketed as diet supplements that contain drugs that aren’t approved for use.
Even approved weight-loss diet pills aren’t a magic bullet for weight loss. They won’t work for everyone, all of them have side effects, and none of them are risk-free. But the modest benefits they provide may outweigh the risks if your obesity-related health risks are significant.
Ask your doctor if prescription weight-loss medications are right for you.
“Beware of products that promise quick and easy weight loss. Over-the-counter supplements aren’t always regulated.”
Your doctor can help you determine if you are a good candidate for prescription weight-loss medications, often called diet pills. According to the guidelines, they might be a good fit for you if you:
- have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater
- have both a BMI of 27 or greater and obesity-related health conditions
- haven’t been able to lose one pound per week after six months of diet, exercise, and behaviour changes.
Have you considered tackling this major hurdle before you start your weight loss pills?
And that hurdle is Stress. Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it is the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviours, or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring.
Please be aware that the weight loss pills or your new diet plan will only add to your stress levels if you haven’t thought this over. This needs careful thought and it begins with gaining sound information first.
If you are finding this topic of interest you might want to watch my YouTube video: How Stress is Making You Fat
1. Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 170, Issue 2, 15 July 2009, Pages 181-192, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwp104
2. New weight-loss drugs could shift the scales https://cen.acs.org/pharmaceuticals/drug-development/Weight-loss-drugs-wegovy/99/i38
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Prescription weight-loss drugs. mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss-drugs/art-20044832
Helping You Discover, Empower & Prosper
Dr Arun Dhir | GI Surgeon, Health Reformist & Passionate Educator.
About Dr Arun:
Besides having a busy private practice at Melbourne Gastro Surgery – Centre for Weight Loss, Dr Arun is an active member of the ANZ Association of Gastro-Oesophageal surgeons (ANZGOSA), ANZ Society of Metabolic and Obesity Surgery (OSSANZ) and Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM).
Dr Arun is also a senior lecturer (Monash University) and yoga and meditation teacher, with a strong interest in the mind-body-gut connection. He regularly writes and speaks about gut health, gut microbiome, obesity, gastrointestinal surgery and healing. Arun’s published works include Happy Gut Healthy Weight (Balboa Press 2018), Creating a New You – Health Journal (Metagenics 2019), and Your Mess Has a Message (2021).