In October last year, reality TV star Kim Kardashian said that a slimming product called Quicktrim helped her in losing weight. We don’t know how honest Ms. Kim was but the product definitely made headlines for the wrong reasons. After its effectiveness and safety were questioned, all medical stores and pharmacies pulled it from their shelves in Australia.
Kim K is known for her killer curves.
The pills were cancelled from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods as there was insufficient evidence to support the indications for the product. This caused Kim K and her sister Khloe an expensive lawsuit over their endorsement of the product. Even after that, the curvaceous businesswoman did not stop promoting the product!
Slimming pills are one of the numerous unhealthy weight-loss products populating the market. In fact, the promotion of such products is so aggressive that consumers blindly start using them without even consulting dietitians or nutritionists. Keri Gans, a registered dietician based in the US says, “They’re just another quick fix. You might lose some weight, but the next step is gaining it all back, because you haven’t actually changed your eating behaviour.”
Back home, Anamika Nair*, 27, started consuming slimming pills and shakes offered by Herbalife, a global nutrition and weight management company. “I came to know about Herbalife through my mother’s friend,” she says. Though she refused to reveal her weight, she said that she had lost 3.5-4 kgs in a month. “I am happy. I have been using the products for the last three months and that has helped in maintaining the good things in the body. There are no side effects,” she beams.
How safe are those pills?
Cell Activator, Cell-U-Loss and Formula 2 Multi-Vitamin are the pills that Anamika takes thrice a day. “I drink peach water which is for cleansing of the body. Also, I have only shakes for breakfast and dinner though lunch is important,” she says. Like many weight-loss products, Herbalife is an expensive deal and costs Rs 11,000 a month. Despite the hefty amount and safety concerns, Anamika confidently continues to use the products.
But she is not the only happy customer. Herbalife’s customers from across the globe have shared their success stories on the company’s Facebook page. They have even written that Herbalife has helped them in fighting ailments like acid reflux to chronic fatigue syndrome. That is not a surprise since the creators themselves claim that their products are formulated with the goal to achieve good bodily health and not just mere weight loss.
Mike Buss, founder of Swindon-based “Mike Buss PT Fitness Centre” and an ex-military personnel, strongly disapproves of Herbalife. “Everyone wants the quick fix, to get rid of the weight gained over the years of an unhealthy lifestyle and with companies like Herbalife offering the Holy Grail and the body you have been dreaming of, people just get suckered in,” he posted on his blog.
He strongly points out that even after you return to your original eating lifestyle, your metabolism will be destroyed so badly by the products of Herbalife that you will quickly put on weight. It’s true that most Herbalife distributors are not qualified dietitians or nutritionists. They don’t have the appropriate educational background or even fitness professional qualifications. Surely, you wouldn’t ask your plumber to fix your computer. So, why take a risk with your own body?!
Aayushi Sharma, a 22-year-old MBA student reveals, “A friend of mine based in the US used to take slimming pills. She followed a strict routine which was tough to maintain. So after a few months, when she stopped taking it, she gained more weight than ever.” The 22-year-old added, “Another friend resorted to Ayurvedic medicines to slim down. She used to visit the washroom 6 six times a day. If medicines could really make you slim, everyone would have had a great body by now!”
Shekhar Bajpai, a chartered accountant, is completely against any form of medication to lose weight. “Go for a walk, run and eat healthy. Don’t take tablets that may harm your body in any possible way. Anything from weight loss pills to medically approved proteins, you never know what and how your body would react to it. It’s better to have fruits once a day than to take anything not produced by nature,” he explains.
Though many youngsters may oppose such pills, people like Anamika who are eager to shed weight turn their attention to unhealthy ways. No dietitian or nutritionist will guarantee that the consumer will suffer from any side effects but the doctors would also not rule the possibility of not suffering from them at any point.
Popular health and medicine website thesymptomfind.com quotes increased heart rate and blood pressure levels, insomnia, anxiety attacks, headaches, dizziness, weakness, dry mouth, numbness, abdominal cramping, diarrhoea and liver problems among many other side effects of consuming slimming tablets.
Singhal says that drinking coffee, soda or beverages adds to the calories. “Keep yourself hydrated as it keeps your body functioning optimally,” she adds. Going the vegan way is also necessary. “Be vegetarian for at least 5 days per week or more. Choose paneer or mushroom curry instead of chicken or mutton curry. You’ll consume less fat and saturated fat, plus increase your fiber intake,” she points out.
Singhal also gave a very significant tip to people working 9-5. “Instead of buying lunch every day, or worse yet, skipping lunch altogether, pack your lunch as far as possible. Make a sandwich with whole grain bread, a chapatti roll with lots of veggies, salad like sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and grated carrots. Add a piece of fresh fruit. Satisfy your sweet tooth with yogurt or fat-free pudding and your need for crunch with murmura, almonds or a little saunf. Skipping meals is not an option,” she explains.
There is really no way of stopping those who think popping slimming pills is the only option. But people who want to shed weight sensibly should learn to eat when hungry and stop when sufficiently full. Abstinence from slimming pills or any other medicine should be a big no-no.