Best diet pills for teenagers
For the body conscious, diet pills can be a tempting option, especially those that seem to promise a magic bullet solution to weight management issues. It may be that teenagers, who are often highly exposed to external pressures to conform to a certain body image, are increasingly turning to diet pills and supplements to help lose weight. However, without proper guidance and product research and consideration, it is possible that diet pills can do teenagers more harm than good.
This article will consider what diet pills, if any, are the best choices for teenagers.
Teenagers and Changing dietary needs
One of the reasons that many diet pills are not suitable or recommended for those aged under 18 is teenagers have constantly changing dietary needs. The metabolic rate of a teenager can change dramatically depending upon growth rates. Growing obviously takes a lot of energy, and so restricting energy from food via the use of drugs can have consequences upon physical development.
Each type of diet pill carries a different set of results and effects upon the body. Fat-binders, which prevent the digestion and absorption of some dietary fats, can cause deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins if used over a prolonged period of time. These vitamins include vitamin A, which is necessary for bone growth, tooth development, cell division, gene expression, and regulation of the immune system. Vitamin D, another fat-soluble vitamin, aids uptake of calcium into the system, and so plays a role in bone development and health, as well as immunity and cell-growth.
Metabolism boosting diet pills can cause an increase in blood pressure, which is dangerous especially considering that overweight and obese teenagers are more likely to have high blood pressure than teens in the healthy weight range. Many diet pills also contain diuretics of various strengths, which can alter levels of electrolytes in the body, as well as lowering blood pressure, and reducing sodium levels in the body. Depending upon the strength of the diuretic and the frequency in which it is consumed, other side effects can occur.
Do diet pills work for teenagers?
There are many diet pills available that have negligible effects upon weight loss, but are successful or well known due to high profile marketing campaigns. By reading customer reviews of products such as XLS-Medical fat binder, it is easy to see that consumers are divided between slating the pills failure to cause weight loss, and exalted praise for the diet pills that aided significant weight loss. No diet pill is guaranteed to cause weight loss, and what works for one person may not work for another. Similarly, what has worked for a person once may not work at all or as well if the same diet pills are used repeatedly. This is because the body becomes used to the effects of the diet pill, especially if it is based upon ingredients that stimulate metabolism or suppress appetite by interacting with the brain on a hormonal level.
Some diet pills may work in the short term, but without sustained lifestyle changes, inevitably weight will be regained over time. This may be the reason why a 2009 study found that “habitual” diet pills users are three times more likely to be overweight. The best way to use diet pills, if at all, is in conjunction with a balanced diet and active lifestyle. A balanced diet should be maintained over the long term, and viewed as a permanent health choice rather than taking any drastic action in the form of crash dieting, skipping meals or any other unhealthy weight loss behaviours.
It is important to remember that diet pills in general are formulated for adults. This means that the physical requirements of teenagers are not factored in when considering doses of ingredients. As such, it may be that many of the active ingredients present in diet pills are in high doses, which may be excessive for teenagers or children. For example, diuretics are needed in smaller amounts to affect children than is required in adults. Excessive amounts of any ingredient increases the chances of side effects occurring, and so should be avoided at all costs.
Diet pills are often associated with side effects. These can include diarrhoea, constipation, insomnia, liver damage, headaches, oily stools, stomachaches and flatulence. This is not an extensive list of side effects, as they vary between individual diet pills, in both occurrence and severity. Diet pills that have been associated with more severe long-lasting side effects are regulated and often banned because of their risk to the health of the user. Side effects associated with many over the counter diet pills are generally short-lived and should not pose a serious health threat to a healthy adult. However, because of the large doses of some ingredients in diet pills, these side effects could present themselves more often, or as more severe, in teenagers. Generally, the effect of any diet pill upon teenagers is not researched in depth, as they are not a part of the targeted market. Clinical studies are usually undertaken with subjects being over 18 years old. This means that there are possibly serious side effects that only impact some teenagers that are not yet documented. This additional risk makes the use of diet pills in adolescents even more unadvisable.
Diet pills that contain diuretic or laxative ingredients may be damaging to health if used in large amounts over long periods of time, and often have negligible or only a temporary effect upon weight loss. High strength diuretics can cause light-headedness, dehydration, dry mouth, confusion, muscle cramps, and extreme tiredness, as well as excess urination.
Clearly, the consequences of taking diet pills extend beyond just the potential for weight loss. Choosing and taking a diet pill is a serious decision, and it is best to be fully informed before any purchase is made.
Consult your G.P
If contemplating the use of diet pills, the best advice for teenagers is to visit their general practitioner. They can provide information about recommended diet and exercise programs and talk about other lifestyle changes that may affect body weight and health in general. A doctor will also be able to explain the risks of using or misusing diet pills, which may help make the decision about what course of action to take to aid weight loss.
Finally, a doctor will also be able to see if the teenager in question will qualify as a candidate to be prescribed Orlistat. There is a strict list of criteria that the patient must adhere to, as referred to in more detail below. Orlistat is the only diet pill that will be prescribed by any doctor in the UK, and is often considered to be a last resort, due to its slow working nature and the possible side effects, as described below.
If consulting a doctor about the possibility of using diet pills to aid weight loss, Orlistat may be prescribed in the form of Xenical. This is available only to those who have a BMI of 30 or above. This level of BMI is classed as clinically obese, a status that poses serious health risks. For anyone who has any health issues that are exacerbated by being overweight, a BMI of 28 is sufficient to be prescribed Xenical.
Xenical is the only fat binder diet pill available on prescription through the NHS and has a minimum age limit of 12. Whether an individual is suitable for Xenical or not is up to the discretion of the examining doctor. However, it is important to remember that in the USA, Orlistat is not available to those aged under 18 due to FDA regulations. This suggests that the use of Orlistat by those aged under 18 is not advisable, even in the UK where it is legal.
Xenical works by binding itself to lipase enzymes in the stomach. As lipase enzymes usually break down dietary fat in the stomach so that it is small enough to be absorbed into the intestines, the physical blocking of these enzymes reduces the amount of fat that can be processed by the body. Any fat that remains unprocessed is therefore expelled as faecal matter. This process means that not all of the calories eaten are processed, which over time can lead to weight loss.
With Xenical, weight loss is intended to be slow and steady, which minimises shock to the body, whilst also minimising the chances of weight regain. Follow-up research shows that significant weight loss is possible depending upon what diet is followed alongside use of the diet pill. The side effects that are associated with Xenical can be unpleasant and can include diarrhoea, loose stools, gas, bloating, and oily leakage. These are typically a sign that too much fat is present in the diet and therefore being passed through, and the diet should be modified accordingly. Multi-vitamins should also be taken whilst using Xenical, as the nature of Xenical may lead to a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins.
For more information about Orlistat, we recommend you read our Orlistat review.
Banned substances and product research
If you are unable to purchase diet pills in shops due to age restrictions, it can be tempting to turn to the internet to purchase diet pills. This can be a risky strategy, as it is much harder to regulate the internet for sales of illegal or banned diet pills that pose a threat to health. There have been a number of deaths and serious injuries in both the U.S and the U.K that have been connected with the use of banned diet pills purchased through websites based abroad, so that they fall outside of restrictions posed by individual countries. These have included teenagers who have turned to illegal sources out of desperation, rather than seeking help from a doctor or nutritionist. Most notably, it is illegal to sell DNP for human consumption, but legal to sell as a pesticide. DNP, or 2, 4 – Dinitrophenol has led to 16 deaths in Britain alone in the past decade, often due to overheating, a side effect of this poison marketed as a diet pill.
When buying diet pills on the internet, it is an essential step to research thoroughly the product being considered. Ideally, diet pills will be purchased through legitimate suppliers such as Boots, Superdrug, Holland and Barrett, and Amazon, or prescribed by a doctor. If buying direct from the manufacturer, it is advisable to seek information about the product from other sources to check that the ingredients are legal for sale in your country of residence. This is to ensure that any side effects will not be hazardous to health. By also reading about the ingredients and research into them through clinical trials, as well as impartial customer reviews, it is possible to find out a significant amount of information about any diet pill. All of this information should be factored in when going through decision process.
It is important to remember that no diet pill is a cure for all weight issues. They need to be used, if at all, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise regimen for best results. Diet pills should not be used to counteract the effects of a continuing unhealthy diet high in fat and calories, as this will yield few results and puts increased levels of stress upon the body. Before any teenager seriously considers taking diet pills, they should talk to their doctor about their suitability for diet pills, as well as for more general information about their dietary needs.
This article has in general looked at teenagers under 18, but the advice does extend to teenagers who are 18 and over, as well as to some extent those in their early 20s. Other weight loss options should be considered seriously before turning to diet pills, and even then, the diet pills available should be researched thoroughly to determine what individual product is best for each individual dieter. Here at DPR is a good place to start researching diet pills, as there is plenty of advice contained in our many articles, as well as lots of information contained within the reviews of different diet pills.
If you are not a teenager, we recommend you read our other best diet pill articles.
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