The Dangers Of Diet Aids Essay Research

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The Dangers Of Diet Aids Essay, Research Paper THE DANGERS OF DIET AIDS About a month ago, I stepped onto my bathroom scales. When I looked down at the numbers, my fears were confirmed: I had gained 5 pounds. Overcome with a desire to shed this unwanted extra weight, I decided to join millions of Americans just like me, and buy some sort of diet aid to help me along. I had no idea what to look for, what to avoid, and possible side effects, so I began to research the different types of diet aids, both chemical and herbal, and was hit with some very disturbing facts. It has been estimated that nearly 10 million women in the U.S. buy over-the-counter diet aids.(Cottrell, 99) Diet aids come in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, powders, milkshakes, herbal teas, and candies.

They work in one of two ways, either by suppressing the appetite or by producing a feeling of fullness that encourages the eater to limit her food consumption.(Cottrell, 99) This feeling of fullness is often brought about by the ingredient guar gum, which forms a gel in the stomach. It has not been proven, though, that guar gum has a benefit for weight reduction.(Cottrell, 99) Amphetamines, which suppress the appetite, are a common ingredient in many over-the-counter diet aids. They are also commonly found in other drugs such as Speed, Crystal, White Crosses, 357 Magnums, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, and Meth, most of which are illegal.(Cottrell, 99) Amphetamines increase heart and breathing rates and blood pressure, and dilate pupils. Users can also experience a dry mouth,

sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety.(Cottrell, 100) Extremely high doses can cause usersto flush or become pale; they can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination and even physical collapse.(Cottrell, 101) Toxic psychosis, delusional thinking and even death can also occur. Long-term heavy use of amphetamines can lead to malnutrition, skin disorders, ulcers, and various diseases that come from vitamin deficiencies.(Cottrell, 101) Lack of sleep, weight loss, and depression also result from regular use. When people stop using amphetamines abruptly, they may experience fatigue, long periods of sleep, irritability, extreme hunger and depression.(Cottrell, 101) The length and severity of the depression seems to be related

to how much and how often the amphetamines were used.(Cottrell, 101) Another common ingredient that is chemically related to the amphetamine, is Phenylpropanolamine (PPA), the only FDA-approved over-the-counter weight loss drug.(Cottrell, 100) PPA, the active ingredient in Dexatrim, Acutrim, and most other diet aids, acts on the appetite center in the brain, the hypothalamus, reducing the desire to eat.(Cottrell,100) PPA is also found in over 150 prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The FDA labeled the 75-mg dose of PPA found in diet aids Safe and effective. (Cottrell, 100) This does not mean that there are no side effects. Phenylpropanolamine related side effects include dizziness, heart palpitations, and rapid pulse, and are increasingly being reported to poison-control

centers and emergency rooms at a slow but steady rate.(Cottrell,100) Peter Vash, M.D., M.P.H. warns that PPA can raise blood pressure and cause cerebral hemorrhaging and strokes — even in some fairly young people. (Cottrell,100-101) Because of these side effects, it is recommended that Phenylpropanolamine-based diet aids be used for no more than twelve weeks at a time and to never be used if another medication — such as cold medicine — containing PPA is being taken.(Cottrell,101) Many people are under the misconception that natural diet aids are better to use than chemical. Often their side effects can be just as harmful. Natural diet aids suppress the appetite by filling the user up with a mixture of grain and citrus fiber, making her feel full.(Cottrell, 101) Potentially