Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Do’s & Don’ts of Diet Aids

Shira Isenberg

Why bother exercising and cutting out calories, many question, when you can get a quick weight-loss fix in the form of a pill, supplement, or meal replacement? Fact is, when it comes to diet aids, there’s a lot of scary stuff in the fine print.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A serial dieter, Sharon Greenspan* was thrilled when her sister-in-law brought her a bottle of diet pills from Mexico. In just two months’ time, Sharon dropped a dramatic 50 pounds from her 4-foot11-inch frame. “I wasn’t eating anything. I just wasn’t hungry. I drank coffee and water, and if you put cake in front of me, I would just look at it,” Sharon remembers.

But when the bottle was finished, her husband wouldn’t let her get any refills. He was too scared by the side effects. “I was so nervous, always yelling,” Sharon admits. “I felt shaky, but at the same time, super-confident, like I could move mountains.” Once the effects of the diet pills wore off, Sharon started gaining back every single pound she had lost.

The drive to be thin is so powerful that it can propel otherwise smart women like Sharon to take questionable or even downright risky medications in the hope of shedding a few pounds. Even risky diet pills can prove irresistible because you often see the results right away. Why bother dieting or exercising, many question, when there’s a quick fix in the form of a pill, supplement, or meal replacement?

It’s also hard to ignore the tantalizing claims of “natural” remedies or advertisements that demonstrate nearly unbelievable results. Manufacturers are cashing in on this desire for instant weight-loss gratification — in 2009, the sales for nutrition products topped $108 billion (yes, billion).

In truth, the popularity of these diet aids should come as no surprise because in our culture, we often turn to pills to solve problems. Sometimes, it’s a good thing, like taking medication for depression, anxiety, and ADHD. In a similar vein, if you’re overweight (a category that includes two-thirds of Americans), popping a diet pill may be just what the doctor ordered. Especially as excess body fat can cause joint problems, as well as increase the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Out with the Girls
Yonoson Rosenblum Another progressive revolution that eats its own
And I Will Glorify Him
Eytan Kobre Herman Wouk “made G-d a bestseller”
What You've Learned
Alexandra Fleksher Allow me to let you in on what school is all about
Going Broke
Mishpacha Readers Reader feedback for “The Kids Are Going to Camp..."
Top 5 Ways Jews Try to Lose Weight
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Gaining weight and talking about losing weight
He Soaked Up Our Pain
Rabbi Yaakov Klein A tribute to Reb Shlomo Cheshin ztz”l
Leaving on a High Note
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman And then it happened. I knew it would
Family Matters
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP Not the answers they teach in medical school
Play the Night Away
Riki Goldstein May we all share simchahs, no strings attached!
Fast Thinking
Faigy Peritzman How we react when we're exempt from a mitzvah
Baalat Teshuvah
Rachel Karasenti Don’t ask, “So how did you become frum?”
Confessions of a PhD Graduate
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When it comes to parenting, we’re always learning
Dear Favorite Little Sis
Anonymous I ended up wanting to be like you
Who's Making My Phone Calls?
Sara Eisemann Should I be upfront that I’m calling for myself?