By Michael A. Smith, MDThere’s a plethora of diet pills and plans for just about everyone out there, encompassing all body
types and weight loss goals. As such, it’s easy to get lured into trying any new diet or pill that promises quick, lasting successes and a slimmer waistline.
But taking diet pills and following fad diets without the proper guidelines can be very costly, in terms of both money and your health.
So, to help you navigate your options and increase your chances of reaching your goals safely, we’ve compiled this list of “dieting don’ts” to keep in mind.
The idea is pretty simple. See it here in this post? Don't do it!
Dieting Don’t #1 - Take StimulantsAvoid pills that increase your heart rate, blood pressure and stimulate your brain. Many of such so-called “metabolic boosters” do exactly these things — raise your metabolism by stimulating your central nervous system and cardiovascular system. However, this can have unwanted effects.
Take for instance, ephedra. It contains stimulating compounds such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Currently banned, its use has been linked to heart attack, stroke, and even death.1
Fortunately, there are safer and even more effective ways to raise your metabolism without the negative side effects.
Consider supplements like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), for example. CLA represents a group of healthy fats found primarily in meat and dairy products. In studies that support the use of CLA, the amount of CLA used varies from 2 to 12 grams per day.
The Journal of Nutrition in 2000 published a study using 3.4 g CLA per day for 12 weeks. This dose significantly improved metabolism and reduced body fat in overweight and obese participants.2
If you’re interested in trying it yourself, 2–4 grams of CLA a day should do the trick.
Dieting Don’t #2 - Make Up Your Own RegimenLook, you can’t just pop a diet pill and expect to lose weight. If the pill you want to take or the plan you want to follow has research results supporting it, then you’ll need to copy what they did in the study — if you expect to experience the same results.
For example, if the study participants who took the pill also ate 1800 calories and jogged for 20 minutes every day, then you need to do the same thing! Doing anything less will not produce the same results.
Make sense? Good.
Dieting Don’t #3 - Believe the HypeHeadlines are written by marketing and advertising experts, not scientists. Their goal is often to “sensationalize” the results and add urgency to the story.
So, don’t just take their word for it. Be smart and look up the study (if there is one) which supports their product before buying it.
If there isn’t any research to be found, then the claims they make are probably anecdotal — an historical account of the effectiveness of that particular diet or diet pill. In cases like this, the hype is even worse and serves as a red flag, signaling you to find a different pill or plan.
That being said, there are diet pills with published results from well-controlled studies. You’ll just have to spend the time doing the research to find them.
Dieting Don’t #4 - Skip a DayCompliance is the key to success when it comes to losing weight. On and off pill-popping or dieting leads to on and off weight loss — or what is called “yo-yo dieting.” We’ll touch more on yo-yo dieting in a moment.
If you’re taking a diet pill of some sort, take it as suggested each and every day. Skipping a day may allow for your body to counteract some of your weight loss by activating built in starvation-prevention mechanisms.
So, always stick with your diet or your diet pill with razor sharp focus and determination if you're serious about results.
Dieting Don’t #5 - Give Up Too SoonFirst off, it takes time to lose weight. You’re essentially reprogramming your body to burn calories instead of storing them. So stick with your pill or plan and be patient. Far too often dieters give up on their diet plan and pills right before experiencing significant weight loss.
It’s disheartening to speak with people who are trying so hard to lose weight only to hear about them giving up right when real, lasting success was finally within reach.
But how long should you continue with your diet pill or plan before giving up? I would say you need to give any pill or plan at least six months before stopping. You definitely don’t want to stop until you’ve completed the amount of time used to study the pill or plan in question.
So there you go - now you know which "dieting don’ts" to be on the lookout for!
By the way, if you found this information useful, you may also want to check out our weight loss protocol available here.
- Mayo Clin Proc. 2002 Jan;77(1):12-6.
- J Nutr. 2000 Dec;130(12):2943-8.
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