freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Diet pills don't work shock!!! | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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There’s a conference going on in Stockholm right now called the International Congress on Obesity – I went to one in Athens a few years back. I particularly remember it being really hot…

Anyway, two papers have been presented at the conference – one from the UK, one from Germany – on the sticky subject of slimming pills. And guess what? They don’t work. The papers looked at things like fibre tablets, plant extracts and even cabbage powder (blimey!) and declared them no more effective than a placebo.

Anyone who knows my thoughts on the placebo effect should be able to picture me frowning right now. To call something no more effective than a placebo, in my opinion, makes it, er, quite effective. Placebo is a powerful thing. If you think something’s going to work, then hey, it may just do that, fake or not.

But I digress. I would argue very strongly that slimming pills are far LESS effective than placebo. And I could have saved those researchers a ton of research grant money, if only they’d asked me first. I have tested – in the name of science, of course – countless slimming tablets and not lost an ounce. But perhaps that was because I was already convinced they weren’t going to work.

There are, of course, one or two slimming supplements out there that have some rather good research behind them, including pretty well thought-out clinical trials that show they do work. They just didn’t work for me because – and this is the thing most people who take slimming pills don’t get – doesn’t matter what you take, whether they’re herbal tablets that shrink your stomach, amino acids that boost your metabolism, or dubious concoctions that make you go to the loo more or whatever, you still have to eat less and exercise more (oh the horror!).

The good people at the British Heart Foundation piped up with their usual sensible advice – advice all would-be weight losers would benefit from taking on board: “There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss,” says senior heart health dietician Victoria Taylor. “To reduce weight we need to be using up more energy than we are taking in and to achieve this we have to make changes to what we eat and how much activity we do.

“Small, sustainable changes to diet and physical activity are likely to be the most effective approach to keeping weight off in the long term – and it needn’t cost you a penny.”

It’s awfully sad, but it’s true.