Let’s face reality. As much as doctors and pharmacists will tell you there are risks in taking diet pills and the effects they could have on your health, people take them anyway. What I do believe in is the power of knowledge and educating yourself before taking any chances. Let’s take a look at three pretty popular diet aids and how they compare to each other: Acai, Hoodia, and Raspberry Ketones, the newest craze.
Raspberry Ketones were recently discussed on the Dr. Oz show and hours later pharmacies were getting calls from patients. “Where can I get it, is it safe?” Well I can tell you that not many pharmacies or stores carry this product yet. It’s believed that raspberry ketones help burn fat by increasing the release of norepinephrine in your body. This causes the body’s temperature to rise and in doing this increases the body’s metabolism. Increased norepinephrine could causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Currently most of the raspberry ketone studies conducted were done in mice and we don’t have much to go on for how this will affect humans.
Hoodia is derived from a plant located in Southern Africa called hoodia gordonii. Commercially you can buy it in capsules, tablets, chocolate chews, and a variety of other forms. There are numerous websites selling hoodia, but because the products are not regulated by the FDA it’s possible you won’t be getting any of what you paid for.
There are few studies to support the effectiveness of hoodia. Pfizer was looking to enter the diet pill market and developed a molecule called P57, which was very similar to hoodia, but in 2003 decided to discontinue their research and give the rights to the other company they were working with, called Phytopharm.
Hoodia hasn’t been available long enough to determine what side effects it can cause, thought it is believed that it has an effect on the liver. One of the possible mechanisms it may have is tricking the brain into thinking it has had enough to eat, circulating blood sugar and suppressing both appetite and thirst. This would not be a good option for diabetics and anyone who has liver problems like hepatitis.
Acai is a berry that comes from Brazil. You can find it in diet pills, a juice, and in cosmetic creams and chapsticks, among many other forms. The jury is still out on whether acai has any potential in weight loss. There aren’t really any studies that support its use or significant weight loss results.
Right now it is considered more as a powerful antioxidant that contains anthocyanins and flavonoids. Antioxidants have the potential to help prevent cancers and inflammation. They also help to slow down the aging process, like preventing those little wrinkles from forming around your eyes or mouth.
You could add drinking the juice to your diet, but it may be loaded with sugar and calories. The actual side effects of acai are really not known but I would think some gastric side effects like cramping and diarrhea might happen if you were to drink too much of the juice or eat too many berries.
If you are looking to purchase any of these products there are a lot of websites trying to suck you in. I would steer clear of those and try to use more trustworthy sites like drugstore.com or Amazon. The other websites may be here today and then gone tomorrow with your money and you stuck with a product you aren’t happy with. If you can find these products in a retail store or a pharmacy take a look at the box and go with one that has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are after an acai, hoodia, or raspberry ketone, you also want to make sure those ingredients are listed as close to the front of the ingredient list as possible; the further down the list the less there is.
If you are going to take these supplements, I would recommend going into it with no expectations and proceeding with caution. Be advised that any long-term effects will only truly be garnered by incorporating a proper diet and exercise regimen; and it’s always smart to visit with your doctor before popping any of these pills.
February 10th, 2012