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Dangers of Diet Pills

You'll Never Guess the Reason For 20,000 ER Visits

While there is no magic pill for weight loss, many people still try diet pills, and instead of losing weight, they're ending up in the ER. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine led by the FDA and CDC found that severe injuries caused by taking weight-loss and energy-enhancement pills accounts for more than 20,000 emergency room visits. And about 10 percent (about 2,150 cases) were serious enough to require hospitalization. We're talking allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, chest pains, heart palpitations, and irregular heart rhythms tied to a wide variety of diet pills including herbal supplements, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals.

The business of diet pills is a rapidly growing $32 billion a year industry, and the health of consumers is at risk because of the low level of regulation. Under a 1994 federal law, supplements are considered safe until proven otherwise and, unlike prescriptions, don't need the FDA's approval and don't need to list side effects on the label. Sounds pretty sketchy!

The study only tracked hospital visits, not deaths, so there's no data about how many of these visits were fatal. But this is a huge wake-up call to those who are trying to lose weight this way. Even Carrie Underwood admitted in an interview with People that in 2005, she turned to weight-loss supplements to slim down. She was "taking things with ephedra in it," and says, "If I could go back and talk to myself I'd be like, "Here's how you do it the right way.'"


These supplements are widely advertised online, in magazines and on TV — Hydroxycut, Xenadrine, Raspberry Ketones, and Black Jack Energy are just a few. If you're trying to lose weight, this is definitely not the safest solution. Your best bet is to do it the old-fashioned way with eating right and exercise. It'll take longer, but you're more likely to keep the weight off, and it'll benefit your total overall health without a single risk.

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