Health Risks of Diet Pills and Supplements: Understanding the Consequences

Weight loss ads are everywhere in our society. There are constantly new supplements being advertised to improve your health. But are weight loss supplements really healthy? We’ll take a look at the health risks of diet pills and how they impact people with eating disorders.

What Are Diet Pills?

Diet pills are supplements or medications taken with the intention of losing weight. They may be sold over the counter or as a prescription. The function of diet pills depends on the type used—most function by altering how your body breaks down and absorbs nutrients. While supplement companies claim that their products result in weight loss, research indicates that many supplements have a minimal impact on one’s size.1

The Harmful Effects of Diet Pills in Eating Disorder Recovery

Using diet pills often indicates that you have an unhealthy relationship with food. The goal of these supplements is to alter the way that your body utilizes nutrients intentionally. To change this natural process, which often deprives your body of nutrients that it needs, means that you may long for weight loss at the potential cost of your overall health.

For those who are already suffering from an eating disorder, using diet pills is a barrier to recovery. An essential aspect of eating disorder treatment is learning how to nourish yourself, trust your body, and value your worth at any size. Diet pills directly contradict this message and are not recommended for those who are living with an eating disorder. Not only can diet pills have a harmful effect on the way that you view food, but they can also wreak havoc on your body.

Side Effects and Health Consequences of Diet Supplements

Diet pills can have a negative impact on your health. The side effects vary depending on the type of supplement you use but may include the following:1

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vertigo (also known as dizziness)
  • Heartburn
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Fishy body odor

While many people will experience some unpleasant side effects, some may experience serious and life-threatening consequences from these supplements, including:1

  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Liver damage
  • Mania
  • Allergic reactions
  • Heart attacks
  • Heart failure
  • Death

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. If you have any questions about any medications or supplements that you are using, talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about the potential side effects.

How to Prevent Health Risks of Diet Pills

The only way to prevent the health consequences of diet pills is to stop using them. However, we understand that it can be hard to give them up. Through treatment, you can learn how to embrace your self-worth without relying on weight loss to feel like you’re enough. That is why Magnolia Creek offers treatment options to help support you through your recovery. To learn more, contact us or give us a call at 205-678-4373.


  1. Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss – Health Professional Fact Sheet (


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