When your goal is to shovel less food in your mouth, any drink labeled as “appetite suppressant” seems super appealing. From juices to teas, there is a plethora of drinkable products out there that claim to cut your cravings. Heck, doctors have even been known to prescribe appetite killers for short term use to boost weight loss. But not all appetite suppressants are created equal. In fact, some drinks meant to control your appetite have side effects that can be deadly.
Wait a minute, you’re probably thinking, how can that appetite-halting tea I like be bad for me? As it turns out, there is a lot we can’t tell about appetite-suppressant drinks from their labels. Yes — even the ones that claim to be “natural.” Here’s what companies don’t want you to know about drinks meant to squash your appetite.
Wait. If they’re so dangerous, why does everyone drink them?
Part of the mass appeal of appetite-inhibiting drinks is that many of them come with celebrity endorsements. (Remember all the celebrities that did ads for Hydroxycut back in the day?) But one thing to keep in mind about these drinks is that many of them don’t have actual research to back their weight-loss claims.
Take Hoodia, for example, which is found in many popular green tea drinks claiming to suppress your food cravings. While we know plenty about green tea, there is limited research to prove that Hoodia is effective at quelling appetite. (Scary, considering Hoodia supposedly rewires your brain so you think you are full. Would you want your brain rewired by a supplement that isn’t backed by science?)
And don’t doctors occasionally prescribe them?
It’s true — doctors occasionally prescribe appetite suppressants to assist in short-term weight loss. However, you aren’t likely to find a doctor who is going to write you a prescription for a tea or special drink. A doctor will likely prescribe you a drug that has been clinically proven to help with weight loss.
Furthermore, your doctor might advise against mixing an “herbal” or “natural” weight-loss beverage with your prescribed suppressant, as the ingredients can mix and have dangerous side effects. (More on those in just a second.)
The labels flat out lie to you
The thought that the label on your beverage is lying to you probably seems preposterous. Unfortunately, it isn’t unheard of for labels on appetite-halting drinks to fib about ingredients.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearly states on their website that dietary supplement firms do not have to get FDA approval before marketing their products. As a result, many weight-loss supplements “including teas and coffees” don’t include some active ingredients on the products’ labels. As you might have guessed, unknowingly drinking up these unlabeled drugs can lead to a whole slew of scary side effects.
Appetite suppressants can hurt your heart …
One of the worst things about appetite-suppressing drinks is that they can be detrimental to your heart health. According to Livestrong.com, appetite suppressants are linked to chest pain, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, and heart attacks. The FDA banned the herbal appetite suppressant Ephedra in 2004 because it was linked to severe conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and seizures, to name a few. Some cases even resulted in death.
… and your brain
Perhaps the scariest appetite-suppressant drinks are the ones that influence your brain. Excess use can lead to hyperactivity and even psychotic episodes, according to Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience. This is due to heightened amounts of caffeine. And too much caffeine, Livestrong.com summarizes, can lead to hallucinations and psychosis.
A few things to consider
All this negative information about appetite-suppressant drinks might have you feeling a bit down. Especially if you are looking for help with meeting a weight-loss goal. But instead of taking the easy route and gambling on a potentially dangerous drink, consider starting a new workout and meal plan instead. You should also consider talking to your doctor about healthy and safe products that can do the job.
What’s really natural
No, there’s no miracle product out there that can suppress your appetite for a long stretch of time. There is, however, a long list of foods that can help keep you full longer and cut cravings. Snacking on almonds and adding avocado to your salad are just a couple ways you can fill up on good food and not be ravenous later.
Plus, avocado is much tastier than any appetite-suppressant tea out there.