The Mystery “Magic” Medications

Weight-loss medications have become very popular in our country. This may seem like the newest trend in weight loss but people have been taking some form of medication or concoction for eons in hopes of adjusting their weight. From the formula the local witch doctor may have whipped up to the medications offered today, the “magic cure” has unfortunately thrived. Some forty to fifty years ago doctors used to give out “diet pills.” These primarily contained amphetamines, were highly addictive, and led to adverse effects on the heart and nervous system. Thankfully these compounds are no longer recommended for use in obesity treatment.


  YOUR Life

Not all doctors are perfect. Just because the FDA regulates how a medication can be advertised or promoted doesn’t mean your doctor properly prescribes it. Talk to more than one physician and do some research yourself if meds are in your future.

Other medications are easily purchased over the counter at the drugstore and are mostly known to decrease the appetite. These may work with obese people at increased risk for serious medical problems but should not be used strictly for cosmetic reasons and certainly not without a physician’s approval. Herbs, over-the-counter medications, and prescription medications are all drugs with potential side effects. Some are tested for their safety, but long-term studies take time. Testing each and every one of them is not possible. Always be cautious of any product that you take and be aware of possible health consequences that may result.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of weight-loss medications may include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakness/fainting/dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Gallstones
  • Headaches
  • Anemia/low iron levels
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Heart attack/stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Death

Recent Medication Developments

In recent years, various medications have been released to the public to help lose extreme amounts of weight. These products were promoted as a new type of appetite suppressant. Millions of prescriptions were written. The side effects were so horrible that they had to rightfully be removed from the market. To this day we often hear and see news alert stories splashed across the screen about some weight-loss product gone badly. But consumers still want the “magic” and voilà—guess what? There are countless new prescriptions, over-the-counter, and herbal remedies available. My best advice is: “buyer beware!”


Diet drugs and medications are not intended for overweight and marginally obese people. The harmful effects of long-term use of these drugs and medications can outweigh the health benefits of losing weight.

Although people are more skeptical of product safety, they are still lining up to try the latest medication in hopes of dropping those extra, unnecessary pounds. Products like appetite suppressants, which are used to decrease appetite and increase satiety (the feeling of fullness), and products used to block absorption of fat and even starches can be found in abundance. Even if you find a good product that is sanctioned by your physician or health care provider, none of these products is marketed to work on its own. They usually recommend making lifestyle changes. This is often ignored like the legal gobbledygook at the end of a car commercial. People forget that, along with taking these “pills,” there’s no escaping the importance of decreasing total food intake and increasing activity levels.

Cyndi’s Secrets

Appetite suppressing medications can be harmful and should be used only by patients who are at increased risk of medical problems because of obesity and not for cosmetic reasons to lose weight. They should be used only under a doctor’s supervision.

At first, prescription medications were promoted to the severely obese. Even with their so-called side effects, these medications were believed by experts to be less of a health risk than being seriously obese. It was only a matter of time before more prescriptions were being written strictly for cosmetic reasons. Many of these people were less than severely obese. Today these medications are commonly abused. People need to realize that these drugs are powerful and can be harmful if not used properly.

With use of these medications, pounds will be lost. But pounds will stay off only as long as the plan is continued. Once medications stop and old lifestyle habits return, pounds are regained. Medications are only a temporary solution.

Weight-Loss Medication Schemes

Beware of the following weight-loss medications and products. The Food and Drug Administration has banned many of them.

  • “Fat burners”—These products include such ingredients as alcohol, caffeine, dextrose, and guar gum and claim to dissolve excess fat.
  • “Diet patches”—These are promoted as a means to dispatch medication through a patch placed on the skin.
  • “Fat blockers”—These promote the blockage of fat absorption.
  • “Starch blockers”—These promote the blockage of starch absorption.
  • “Bulk fillers”—Excess fiber in these fills the stomach and absorbs fluids, but can obstruct the digestive tract.
  • “Magnet-type” pills—These are promoted as a way to flush out the body.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies for general health are not all bad. I get excited by their potential and the thought of more research. However, when it comes to weight loss, many of these so-called natural products can be downright dangerous. They are available through health food stores, mall kiosks, Internet sites, weight-loss clinics, individual distributors, and drug stores. The Food and Drug Administration warns consumers about the harmful use of many of these products, as their safety and effectiveness have not been tested.

Many herbal products contain an amphetamine-like compound with potentially harmful stimulant effects on the heart and central nervous system. Some of these products act as diuretics (substances that increase urine production), thus causing water weight loss. Others are promoted to increase metabolism and decrease appetite. Products like these often can lead to undesirable side effects like insomnia, irregular heartbeats, tremors, headaches, irritability, and high blood pressure. There are still other products that offer the benefit of helping consumers feel satiated or full. These products tend to absorb fluids in the body, making a person feel fuller, but in reality they have little weight-loss benefit.

Weight-Loss Effects from Hot and Spicy Foods

Hot and spicy foods often are promoted as foods that can help increase your metabolism (the rate at which calories are burned). Reports indicate that these foods do not increase your metabolism, but may just increase your desire to consume liquids because of their hot, spicy flavors.

Going to Extremes: Surgery

With all the makeover shows on TV, you may be considering surgery as an extreme weight-loss option. Following are some available procedures.

Gastric Bypass Surgery: Shortens the intestines and makes the stomach smaller to facilitate weight loss. Although this can help some to lose weight, don’t even bat an eyelash if you are not at least 100 or more pounds overweight. The side effects can be dangerous.

Adjustable Gastric Banding: This approach changes the stomach’s capacity and emptying time to result in weight loss. There are many side effects.

Liposuction: A surgery that removes fat tissues from the body. This is a short-term solution. If eating and exercise patterns remain the same, the weight will be back.

If you are considering surgery, please understand that these options carry many health risks. Do your research. When all is said and done, perhaps the best extreme makeover you may need is to finally take extreme care of yourself and your own diet and exercise.

Free to Eat Really Well

I promised you a diet that really works. So what does that really mean? Today most people think “diet” is a painfully restricted eating program. It conjures up thoughts of starvation and gestapo rules of “You will eat this,” and “You can’t eat that!”

The definition of diet actually is “manner of living.” Originally it was meant to encompass an entire approach to eating and daily activities. It’s time to reclaim the original meaning and feel free to eat really well and enjoy a full, active life. I’m often amazed at how many people are shocked when I exuberantly proclaim, “I love to eat!” As you become more knowledgeable with my program you can make good food choices, too. Only 5 to 10 percent of people who use a restrictive diet keep the weight off for more than five years. Most of the weight is regained within a year.

You need to be the boss of your body and what works for you. Don’t be taken in by overzealous claims. Don’t throw away your good sense of nutrition or your need to establish lifelong healthy habits. Balance your food choices and eat a variety of foods, doing so in moderation. Forget all the crazy options trying to seduce you. Choose to enjoy your food and really love life.

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