Losing weight can be difficult, especially as we get older. As a result, many advertisers claim to have the secret to losing weight. Mostly, these claims come in the form of a pill. Unfortunately, these claims are more fantasy than fact. Here, we break down why over-the-counter diet pills don’t work, and which supplements have been proven to actually help with weight loss.

The lie: Over-the-counter diet pills/weight loss supplements/natural remedies will help you lose weight faster.

No diet pill, nor weight loss supplement, will effectively help you lose weight. The majority of them don’t work. And those that appear to work usually do so in unhealthy ways that don’t actually include losing fat. But, that doesn’t answer the question as to why there are so many natural weight-loss products on the market. This is because the FDA does not regulate over-the-counter diet pills, and weight-loss pills only need to be safe to consume to be legally sold. But, even with them being regularly sold, there is very little scientific evidence that any of them actually work.

The disappointing, yet obvious, truth is that no over-the-counter diet pills or supplements are going to help you lose weight. But, there are prescription medications that do help people lose weight. These medications come in two categories: appetite suppressants and fat blockers. They have been proven to work, but only when combined with diet and exercise. Appetite suppressants’ effects only last between one to two months, while one of the main side effects of fat blockers include having very loose, oily stool. The medications should only be used when prescribed and supervised by a doctor, since they can have very adverse side effects, including abdominal cramps, diarrhea,and loss of bowel control. If you want to know more about prescription supplements, consult with your doctor whether or not they’re the right choice for you.

What about natural remedies? Well, many natural remedies, be it for weight loss or any other number of things, rarely ever have scientific backing. But, there is one natural remedy that has been proven by the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements to actually work, and that is green tea. Green tea has been proven to have a modest effect on weight-loss. As with prescription supplements, green tea works best when combined with a good diet and exercise, and should not be over-consumed, as with anything containing caffeine.    

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