Diet Pills: Are They Worth It?

Can diet pills give you a boost in losing weight? Experts are divided on the answer, especially when it comes to whether diet pills can help you keep the pounds off long-term.

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Diet Pills

Sorry, there's no magic pill for losing weight. Adopting a more healthful lifestyle by eating fewer calories and being more active are the first tactics to take. But weight-loss pills may help individuals initially lose more weight.

Weight-loss drug therapy is designed for people who:

  • are overweight.

  • have tried to follow a meal plan for at least six months.

  • have pursued physical activity.

  • have undergone behavioral therapy with unsuccessful results.

  • have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater with no existing health risks.

  • have a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or greater along with health-risk conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

These drugs can jump-start weight loss. By losing a little weight in the beginning, you may be more motivated, have more energy, and develop more confidence as the pounds come off. Consider that some medications used to treat type 2 diabetes, such as Byetta and Symlin, also offer weight-loss benefits, so discuss those with your doctor, too.

Pills aren't a substitute for healthful eating and physical activity, however, says Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., author of several books on diabetes and exercise. "Diet drugs may speed up weight loss in the short run, but it's more important to focus on including exercises while losing weight by any means," she says.

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