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Dr. Ezinne Meribe: On Supplements & Weight loss Pills – Are You Willing to Risk Your Kidneys?



Every diet pill comes with a very clear instruction – eat clean and exercise. If these pills really work, why do they still ask you to eat clean and exercise? I have worked with thousands of women from across the globe and also lost weight myself, through eating clean and exercising. We’ve all kept if off without pills. So, why punish yourself?

A particular website promoting fat burning pills published this “If you aren’t eating right or exercising, don’t expect a fat burner to do much”. Aha! Then why waste all that money you would have used to jet off to Seychelles?

Again, did you know that for fat burners to work, there is a level of activity you must maintain else they’d just be stored as fat in the body? Also note that fat burners are stimulants and may tamper with your hormones. You may argue that you are taking it as an appetite suppressant; however, how long are you willing to give up your self-control (and good money) for a pill?

A few questions you should ask before buying or agreeing to a weight loss pill.
– Was this pill recommended by a ‘licensed nutritionist’?
– Who or where is the licensing body?
– Did you seek a second opinion from maybe an endocrinologist?

According to the NHS, “many different types of anti-obesity medicines have been tested in clinical trials, but only one has proved to be safe and effective”. With a caution: “If you haven’t lost weight after three months, it’s unlikely to be an effective treatment for you . . . it may be necessary to stop your treatment.” Furthermore, they wrote: “a significant number of subjects gained weight after stopping the drug, with some regaining up to 35 per cent of the weight they had lost’. This buttresses my motto that weight loss is about ‘behavior remodeling’ not pills or plans.

Did you know that diet pills do not have any board approval?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate many over-the-counter products, including herbal supplements (diet pills). Basically, you have no idea how much of the active ingredient is actually in the product, whether it will work, and most importantly, if it contains harmful substances. An FDA investigation found that nearly 70 kinds of diet pills were actually spiked with dangerous drugs.

The research done on them is almost always industry-sponsored making it a biased research in favour of the company – not you, not your health. Moreover, the research is usually done with very small data and not conducted long-term. When done in rats, the doses were massive to be deduced as effective for humans. Even when the active ingredients in these supplements may have worked in the laboratory, the commercial versions may not be effective and there is no way to physically distinguish between the high quality and low-grade ones. But remember, the pills always come with an advice – eat right and exercise.

• For example, raspberry ketone supplements in the market is based on the result of one clinical trial as of December 2017. This study was an 8-week trial involving seventy obese adults who were randomly assigned to receive either the supplement or an inactive ingredient (placebo) all of whom were placed on a restricted diet and exercise program (red flag). Of the 45 people who completed the trial, average weight loss in the supplement group was 4.2 pounds while in the placebo group was 0.9 pounds (0.4 kilograms).

Well, I’m glad to let you know you can calmly lose 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilograms) in 8 weeks without a restrictive diet and an insane exercise program. Some of these weight loss pills claim they contain the foods abundantly available to us. If that is true, why can’t we simply eat these foods, feed our body with intention and keep the weight off? You don’t need pills/supplements in any form to support your weight loss, eat real foods. Indeed, food is medicine and if you take the time to do your research, you will find several ways to nourish and heal your body with real foods.

Side Effects
The main ingredients found in various weight loss pills are used for their stimulant effect and the side effects have been associated with strokes, heart attacks, preventing absorption of fat soluble vitamins, fatty liver, insulin resistance, increased inflammation and other side effects like; irritability, anxiety, increased heart rate, sleep problems, dry mouth, heartburn, skin reactions, trembling and sweating.

Lastly, pills are for impatient people looking for a quick solution, only to gain the weight and even more, in a few days and I know you are not impatient. Consistency and a lifestyle change will get you there and keep you there.

Even if a celebrity is seen on TV promoting the pill, they are just doing their job and earning a living. It is not exactly how they keep the weight off. You are the sole proprietor of what you feed your body with. Don’t give up that authority to someone else. At least ask questions. Stop putting yourself at risk.

What you should be doing instead? Kickstart your weight loss journey by cutting out all forms processed foods and added sugars. This will aid weight loss and help reset insulin resistance, enabling your body to burn stored fat. The weight you really want to lose was not gained in one day and no miracle pill can make it disappear overnight.
Whatever name they come in – pills or supplements, always seek professional opinion from a licensed health practitioner, don’t put your life on the line for short term gain only to need kidney transplant in a few short years. The long-term risks that can be avoided are definitely not worth it.

NB: There is no one size fits all approach for weight loss. If you need to lose weight for health reasons – metabolic diseases, hypertension, diabetes etc. – make sure you are working with your doctor as well. This management should be multidisciplinary.

Dr. Ezinne Meribe is the host of Beyond A Dress Size podcast; a podcast series that creates stimulating conversations to pull down misconceptions on nutrition, weight loss, health and body diversity while empowering women to live life beyond the numbers on the dress label, scale or tape. She leverages her professional qualifications and personal experience to teach women how to OWN & LOVE their bodies and LIVE in it fabulously; having successfully won the struggle with being overweight and loving her body. A UK certified Wellness Professional, she is a trained Body Positive facilitator who is also certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She strongly believes that for many women, the struggle with weight loss is deeper than the presence or absence of food on our plate. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) with a postgraduate training in Public Health from Kumamoto University, Japan. As a Medical Doctor and Public Health Specialist, she continues to promote preventive medicine as the number one way to combat the severe health system constraints in developing countries. She is a contributing author for BellaNaija and Women of Rubies and her work has also been featured on Thrive Global, Ellevate Network, MetrowomanNg, MumpreneurNg and TheWCommunity. You can connect with her on Instagram @beyondadresssize Facebook @beyondadresssize Read more on Medium @ezinnemeribe Or send an email to [email protected]


  1. Reu

    May 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    This is enlightening bt how abt appetite inducing and weight gain pills?do they also pose serious risks?

    • Dr. Ezinne

      May 2, 2018 at 9:23 am

      I’d have to ask, who prescribed the pills?

  2. @askddietitian

    May 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you Dr Zinny , it’s sad that people still do this , also people who use laxative teas and the rest it’s terrible … people losing 3 , 4 even 7 kg in 1 week …. forgetting that they are not only losing fat but also water weight …. as a registered dietitian any weightloss that is more than 1kg per week is disastrous …

    • Dr. Ezinne

      May 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Can we get an AMEN!!!

  3. Iyke

    May 1, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    “Lastly, pills are for impatient people looking for a quick solution, only to gain the weight and even more, in a few days and I know you are not impatient. Consistency and a lifestyle change will get you there and keep you there”

    That sums it……
    Unfortunately most folks are ignorant and lazy to make lifestyle changes….they are the ones that say ‘Accept me the way I am’.
    There should be change in our mentality per the way we look at fitness and healthy living. Such a disgrace to see a young wo/man of 25 yrs with pot belly….carrying diabetics and HBP up and down.

    Per use of supplements, it is extremely important to research who the manufacturer is. I always suggest folks to go for ‘Manufactured BY’ instead of ‘Manufactured FOR’ products. The former is more credible and can be verified than the later.
    A combination of healthy/ clean eating,resistance training and authentic supplemention is key.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • The Real Oma

      May 1, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      Hian, Iyke! We have missed you o.
      Welcome back 🙂
      Back to the topic. I only started going to the gym yesterday, today being second day. My joints hurt but I intend to keep it up.
      I am not fat by any means sha, just wanting to keep things that should be flat, flat, and help those that should protrude, protrude, hehe.

    • Dr. Ezinne

      May 2, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Thats another angle – authentic supplementation. I’d look into it. Lifestyle change is key

  4. Mrs chidukane

    May 1, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Iyke onye OMA na Europe, how are you doing? Long time.

    • Iyke

      May 1, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      O di mma nwanne m. Kedu?

  5. Chinyere

    May 1, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you very much Dr Emeribe, l appreciate and welcome the health advice the world of men and women towards body Heath paticulary myself. I have just started working on my weight by taking only fruit in the morning, solid food at launch while fruit for dinner. Please, can more light be thrown for to know if that process will give me good result to the weight loss. Thanks.

    • Dr. Ezinne

      May 2, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Chinyere, the truth is you are restricting feeding. You may say weight loss initially but after a while nothing changes and frustration sets in. I may have to write about this one in another post

  6. Jane

    May 1, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    This message needs to be preached far and wide. Am always weary of such Miracle pills and don’t understand why people jump at it. Most people have been duped in the process. To loss weight, you just need to eat right and exercise ( Fullstop)

    • Dr. Ezinne

      May 2, 2018 at 9:22 am

      And be patient while at it.
      Thank you for reading.

  7. Cece

    May 1, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Pills For loosing weight have never been one I subscribe to.Weight loss goes a long way in improving our health,sleep and state of mind.No miracle pill can make the weight disappear?not even the ones from China

    • Dr. Ezinne

      May 2, 2018 at 9:22 am


  8. Mama

    May 2, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Don’t even get me started on the so called “slimming teas” that proliferate the Nigerian market with their ridiculous claims. That’s how my sister sent me a picture of one coffee-green tea that is said to be for weight loss and asked me to help her buy it. “Which one is coffee- green tea again?”, I asked. And you don’t even want to hear the price she quoted. Sharp guys will sit in their sitting rooms and mix different concoctions and women will jump and buy. I just told her it is either she drinks coffee or green tea, there’s nothing like coffee-green tea. If you must have it, better to mix it yourself.

    You don’t even have to go to the gym to lose weight. There are different simple work-out-at-home videos on Youtube. Check out Pahla b fitness and Leslie Sansome’s walk/jog at home videos. Nothing tedious but it works. Agreed it is easier for some than others, but if you stick to an exercise routine and healthy diet. expect to see results.

  9. Azumara Obianuju

    May 2, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks Dr Ezinne for this wounder write up but this Keto diet/lifestyle that is trending all the internet now what do you have to say about that

  10. Nashua Nutrition Discount Codes

    June 20, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Awesome article. Thanks to you for creating this article! A wonderful health guide for weight loss. keep up the good work

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