The European Medicines Agency suspended the licence of the drug Reductil this week, suspecting that it may cause heart attacks and strokes. 17 deaths have been linked to the drug in Britain since 2001 and 1,105 suspected adverse reactions have been reported. Reductil contains Sibutramine which tricks the brain into feeling full, allowing people to eat up to 20% less. Two years ago, another anti-obesity drug, Acomplia, was suspended on suspicion of causing suicidal thoughts.
Reductil is reported to achieve only modest weight loss, which may not be sustained after stopping the drug. The news demonstrates that there is no quick fix to weight loss; pills are often ineffective or carry health risks and embarrassing side effects.
The key to losing weight lies in burning more calories than you take in. Exercise helps to raise your metabolic rate and to burn excess calories; aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 times a week. To reduce calorific intake, limit the amount of saturated fat, sugar and processed foods such as white bread or biscuits. These foods are all laden with calories and they can cause cravings for more of the same.
Essential fats found in oily fish, nuts and cold pressed vegetable oils are important for health and metabolism, so include these in your diet. To reduce cravings, balance blood sugar by eating three small meals and snacks every day. Include protein, fruit and a small amount of wholegrain carbohydrates for energy, but allow the bulk of each meal or snack to be vegetables.
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