Dangerous Diet Pills and Ingredients to Avoid

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

To lose weight, you have to burn off more calories than you take in. This can be done through proper diet and regular exercise. But for those who are struggling to lose weight, they resort to the next best thing: diet pills.

Diet pills are made from either synthetic or natural ingredients. They serve a variety of purposes such as appetite suppressant, upping the metabolic rate or even triggering fat loss. While some of these diet pills are helpful in rev-starting a person’s weight loss potentials, others do more harm than good. And in today’s post, we are listing down all the dangerous diet pill brands and ingredients that you have to avoid:


Ephedra comes in different names such as Ma huang, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine. This drug contains chemicals derived from ephedra or species of ephedra. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine affect the nervous system, causing elevated blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm and increased heart rate. Using this drug regularly may lead to cardiovascular ailments including heart attack, stroke, and death. This diet pill ingredient is so dangerous that it’s banned in the US. However, ephedra is still available from retailers outside the US.


Synephrine is a chemical derived from bitter orange. It’s a common ingredient in all-natural diet pills. But despite its all-natural origin, this chemical causes the same effects as ephedra. It can raise the blood pressure, causing headaches, nausea, and increased heart rate. It can also cause fainting, insomnia, and jitters. Long-term effects of synephrine include heart disease, strokes and heart attack.


Sibutramine is a potent stimulant that increases the risk of heart diseases. Its side effects include jitters, palpitation, raised blood pressure and insomnia. It can also cause nausea, shortness of breath, and headaches. Long-term effects of this chemical include heart attacks, arrhythmias or strokes.

Because sibutramine is an extremely powerful and dangerous stimulant, it was removed from the market in 2010. However, various diet pills are formulated with this chemical to boost their efficacy. As such, always read the label of the diet pill and watch out for sibutramine. Meridia, which is a diet pill brand, contains sibutramine.


Phentermine is a type of stimulant that can help dieters lose several pounds faster. It works by speeding up the metabolic rate while suppressing the appetite. Sounds like a good deal, right? Wrong! What diet pill companies won’t tell you is that this chemical is derived from amphetamine. Amphetamine is a mood-altering prescription medication. It’s used to treat children with ADD or adults with narcolepsy.

Initially, phentermine was developed to cure obesity. But thousands of people died from adverse health effects after taking the drug. Long-term effects of Phentermine include liver disease, palpitations, irregular heartbeat and heart attack.


Fenproporex or Fen-Phen is a diet pill with chemicals derived from amphetamine too. Just like phentermine-based diet pills, Fenproporex diet pills can cause a wide range of heart diseases such as arrhythmias and heart valve issues. The FDA banned this diet pill in 2010, but some diet pills outside the US are formulated with this dangerous chemical.


Phenolphthalein is a laxative used as a colon cleanser. It was also a popular diet pill ingredient until 1999 when the FDA banned the chemical. In a statement, the FDA banned Phenolphthalein because it was “not generally recognized as safe and effective.” But this did not stop some diet pill makers from adding phenolphthalein in their products.

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