Diet Pills FAQ

The following information presents a general introduction to the principles behind diet pills.

What is a brand name drug?

A brand name drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is supplied by one company (the pharmaceutical manufacturer). The drug is protected by a patent and is marketed under the manufacturer's brand name.

What is a generic drug?

When a drug patent expires other companies may produce a generic version of the brand name drug. A generic medication, also approved by the FDA, is basically a copy of the brand name drug and is marketed under its chemical name.

A generic drug may have a different color or shape than its brand name counterpart, but it must have the same active ingredients, strength, and dosage form (i.e., pill, liquid, or injection), and provide the same effectiveness and safety as its brand name counterpart.

What are examples of each?

Valium is a brand name drug whose generic counterpart is Diazepam. On the other hand, Amoxicillin is a generic drug of the brand drug Trimox.

Do all brand name drugs have generic equivalents?

No. Approximately half of all drugs on the market have generic versions.

Are generics as safe as brand name drugs?

Yes. The FDA requires that all drugs be safe and effective and that their benefits outweigh their risks. Since generics use the same active ingredients and are shown to work the same way in the body, they have the same risks and benefits as their brand name counterparts.

Are generic drugs likely to cause more side effects than brand name drugs?

There is no evidence of this. The FDA monitors reports of adverse drug reactions and has found no difference in the rates between generic and brand name drugs.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is, briefly, the sum total of everything that happens in the body - the building up of various substances (muscle, proteins, RNA, hair, nails, enzymes, storage fat, bones) and the breaking down of others (food, storage fat, etc.). Both "building up" processes (called anabolic) and "breaking down" processes (catabolic) are going on simultaneously, all the time. And the raw material, the stuff the body uses for this myriad of tasks, is food. Or, more properly, the nutrients contained in food.

What effects Metabolic rate?

  1. By far the largest contributor is your "basal" or resting metabolic rate. (They're not exactly the same thing, but for our purposes they're interchangeable.) This is basically the number of calories you burn at rest, just sitting in a chair.
  2. The second biggest component of your metabolic rate is determined by your level of activity and exercise.
  3. The third component is sometimes called the "thermic effect of food," and is defined as the amount of calories (or energy) it takes to actually digest and process the food you eat. ("Thermic," by the way, means "heat", and "thermogenic" means "heat producing." Remember that energy production is going on in the body at all times, and one of the byproducts of energy production is heat. Which food type has the highest thermic effect? Protein.)
  4. The last and smallest contributor to the metabolic rate is something with the intimidating name of "facultative thermogenesis," which basically means the heat-producing effect of things like fidgeting, reaction to cold and stress, and other similar factors.

How can I improve my Metabolism?

The biggest determiner of resting metabolic rate is how much muscle you have. Muscle is where the action is, as muscle cells are loaded with tiny little power centers called mitochondria, which are where your calories get "burned" (more properly, it's where the breakdown products of food - like fatty acids and glucose -- get "oxidized," but let's not get too technical). So the more muscle you have, the more powerhouses you have to break down fat. All things being equal, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even while sleeping.

How do diet pills work?

Enhancers "rev up the engine" to improve your metabolic rate. Others considerations are the appetite effect. Ingredients often found in these products (besides the stimulants) are carnitine and chromium. Both of them play an important part in supporting different aspects of metabolic function (blood sugar in the case of chromium, and fat metabolism in the case of carnitine).

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