Do Diet Pills Really Work?

The diet pill industry is going from strength to strength with countless products claiming to make you shed those pounds for good – but do they really work? DESIblitz explores five diet pills to curb weight loss woes.

diet pills

People should stop taking [pills] if they fail to lose 5% of their body weight within 3 months.

Looking and feeling great has never been more important than today.

Quick fixes ranging from extreme diets to bootcamps are cropping up almost every week.

But what if the secret to weight loss was simply popping a pill?

DESIblitz takes a look at some of the key diet pills on the market right now, and how they can help you to lose weight.

Raspberry Ketone Supplements


What are they: Raspberry Ketone is the extract from the raspberry fruit that produces its aroma.

How do they work: The ketone is thought to have similar properties to those found in chilli peppers and the stimulant, synephrine.

This acts as an appetite suppressant while also increasing metabolism, promoting fat burning.

Side effects: There have been some reports of increased heart rate and blood pressure in users. This supplement is not recommended for people with pre-existing high blood pressure and related conditions.

Verdict: This supplement has been affirmed by television personalities and online salespersons as a wonder pill for dieters.

However to date there has been no significant scientific studies on humans to test this theory and its safety in long term use.



What is it: Alli is sold over the counter in pharmacies and is a low dose version of Orlistat, the only weight loss medication prescribed on the NHS.

How does it work: It is claimed that for every 2 lbs that is lost through dieting, Alli can help you lose a further 1lb by blocking 25 per cent of the fat you consume from being absorbed. The undigested fat is then passed in bowel movements.

Side effects: Common side effects include flatulence possibly with oily spotting, sudden bowel movements and fatty, oily, or soft stools.

Alli may also reduce your body’s ability to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Verdict: Alli is most effective when the user is on a low calorie, low fat diet which makes it more of a lifestyle change rather than simply taking a pill.

In addition, the user would have to take a multivitamin a day to make up for the decrease in vitamins absorbed. This weight loss aid would not be for everyone, as it cannot guarantee to be halal and yields some pretty unsociable side effects.



What is it: Zotrim is a herbal remedy for weight loss.

How does it work: Zotrim contains a Yerba Maté leaf extract, Guarana seed extract and Damiana leaf extract. These contain caffeine which suppress appetite and energise the body.

Side effects: If you have a sensitivity to caffeine, it’s likely that Zotrim will cause a similar reaction. Symptoms typically include insomnia, headaches, nausea, and an increase in blood pressure.

Verdict: Zotrim’s main attribute, aside from being natural, is that it contains a sufficient amount of caffeine to suppress appetite.

This could be effective when used regularly but at £20.95 for a month’s tablets, it’s cheaper to buy a jar of coffee.



What is it: Ephedrine is not available to buy over the counter in the UK but is found in some cold and flu remedies. In recent years, it has gained online notoriety as a weight loss solution.

How does it work: Ephedrine acts as a strong stimulant and appetite suppressant.

Side effects: There are numerous side effects ranging from difficulty sleeping, nausea and restlessness to dependence, nervous system damage and heart attacks.

Verdict: It is clear that the costs of taking Ephedrine outweigh the benefits. The impact of these pills on the body could cause substantial health problems.

Also, as it is not readily available in shops in its most recognised form, people are resorting to online buying. This carries its own risks as production isn’t regulated and the tablets could be laced with impurities.

Omega-3 Supplements


What are they: Omega-3 supplements contain essential fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. Research indicates that it has to be an effective fat burning tool – that’s right, burning fat with fat.

How do they work: Omega-3 supplements encourage fat burning by allowing your body to respond more effectively to the hormone, Leptin, which regulates the amount of fat the body stores. They can also suppress appetite and increase metabolism.

Side effects: It is recommended not to exceed 3 tablets a day. This can potentially lead to low blood pressure and hormone imbalance.

Verdict: One of the potential drawbacks in taking Omega-3 supplements is that there isn’t an instant dramatic weight loss as promised by other solutions.

Still, it works to encourage the body to perform effectively overall – metabolism and fat burning included.

Incorporating Omega-3 into your day can be done without any major lifestyle upheaval which makes it a somewhat effortless solution to weight loss. We like the sound of that!

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people should stop taking weight loss medication if they fail to lose five per cent of their body weight within three months of beginning treatment. Most people fail to meet this target without diet and exercise.

This has simply reaffirmed what we already know; that getting moving and eating better is the true secret to weight loss and the quick-fix pills are, unfortunately, not the miracle cure they are portrayed to be.

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Bianca is a keen writer and is passionate about food, history, culture and politics. She is fond of humour and believes it to be a vital tool in overcoming life's challenges. Her motto is: 'A day without laughter is a day wasted.'

Please consult your GP or doctor before taking any of the diet pills described above.

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