The word 'Fat Burners' usually refers to a group of over-the-counter diet pills with amphetamine like active ingredients which theoretically raise metabolism and help the body burn fat. These active ingredients perform like stimulants and 'rev up' the body, sometimes with unpleasant or even fatal effects.
Active Ingredients in 'Fat Burners'
Ephedrine, which is structurally similar to amphetamines is the active ingredient in the diet pill Ephedra, which is commonly known as ma huang. You may see either ephedrine, ephedra, or ma huang listed on the labels of some herbal weight loss drugs and fat burners. Doses of ephedrine that are sufficient to cause weight loss also can cause tremors, induce severe headaches, and make your blood pressure sore - especially when combined with caffeine as it often is in over the counter diet preparations.
Ephedra has been linked to more than 800 incidents including high blood pressure, severe headaches, heart rate abnormalities, seizures, heart attacks and even deaths. Ephedra derivatives also have been reported to produce acute hepatitis and other unexplained liver injuries. The FDA recommends that no more than 8 milligrams a day of ephedra should be used for no more than 7 consecutive days and that labels disclose all potential side effects, including death. Unfortunately, many preparations are sold without comprehensive ingredient labels so you have no way of knowing how much ephedra the product includes.
Fat-Burners & Fat-Burning Pills with Ephedrine Could Be Harmful
Some diet pills promise to burn fat, but according to one expert, a professional nutritionist who works with the Pittsburgh Steelers on their nutrition and has done extensive research on diet pills:
Ephedra will burn some extra calories, but the risks far outweigh the benefits.
Guarana is sold as a fat burner and a metabolism booster but its active ingredient is basically caffeine - 100 milligrams of guarana has about the same caffeine content as a cup of black coffee. Taken by itself, guarana is probably not dangerous, but it is no more effective for weight loss than caffeine.
Guarana is often used in herbal fat-burners in combination with ephedra, making the ephedra even more powerful and dangerous. This combination increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and death.
Weight Loss Pills
NOTE: Before using any form of diet pills or weight loss supplements, please consult your doctor.
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