On Weight and Beauty

On Weight and Beauty

Beauty is what most, if not all, people want to have. In fact, billions of dollars are spent every year just to attain the elusive dream of physical perfection. Surgical procedures have been designed to improve and alter the nose, chin, mouth, and even the entire face and body of a person who would be willing to spend for it. Of course, not everyone can afford these highly expensive medical procedures.

Manufacturers of beauty products offer a cheaper alternative through the various brands and concoctions they feed to a large market. Beauty soaps, astringents, lotions and a host of other beauty products are packaged and sold to an eager army of customers. These products all “promise” to make a woman’s skin more soft, smooth, and silky.

These products are not only limited to toiletries and tabletop skin cleansing preparations. It extends to a wide range of pharmaceutical items as well. Some of these pharmaceutical products include acne pills, growth pills, and slimming pills.

While it is true that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” — society has already set some standards on what constitutes beauty. People have differences in terms of what is beautiful in terms of skin, hair color, shape of the eyes, or the fullness of one’s lips. Still, most people agree on one thing: the shape of a woman’s body. For this reason, weight loss pills are among the most bought beauty products in the market.

Weight loss pills contain different chemicals and ingredients that either reduce a person’s appetite or prevent the absorption of fat in the body. For example, ephedra is still being used as an ingredient in some weight loss pills. Ephedra is a botanical product widely used to enhance alertness and as a weight loss aid. It is actually a low stalky shrub with jointed green to brown stems and tiny unnoticeable leaves. It is the source of ephedrine alkaloids and has a long history of medical use in China. Reported adverse effects led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban ephedra-containing products in the United States in 2004, although it can still be legally sold as tea. Despite the ban, many ephedra products are still being sold over the Internet. The main slimming effect ephedra is appetite reduction. Possible side effects of long-term ephedra use include high blood pressure, heart rate irregularities, sleeplessness, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Other weight loss pills uses different kinds of chemical contents. Some dietary pills block the absorption of dietary fat, which is relatively safe, but can cause constipation, bloating and other stomach ailments. Other weight loss pills reduce body fat and builds up muscles. These products are relatively safe.

Green tea extract is also used for slimming purposes. The extract increases calorie and fat metabolism and decreases appetite, although there is limited evidence to support the claim. However, long term use of green tea extract can cause vomiting, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea.

With all these weight loss pills easily available on the market, one can easily think of a “dieter’s dream” where every single fat-burning product is within reach. Dietary supplements and weight loss aids are not subject to the same rigorous standards applied in the regulation of prescription drugs or medications sold over-the-counter. Thus, they can be marketed with limited proof of effectiveness and safety. Vendors can make health claims about products based on their own review and interpretation of the studies without the authorization of the FDA, however the FDA can pull a product off the market if its proven dangerous.

A persons scrutiny and curiosity would be their best protection. Reading labels and consulting doctors or pharmacists about the dietary supplement they are taking or considering taking is advised.

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