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Weight Loss And Dieting Pills

After several conversations this week with acquaintances, my eyes have been opened to something which I feel people need to be educated on – diet pills.

It seems in our day and age, so many people are obsessed with self-image, they want to be slim, desired by the opposite sex, and have a feeling of self-gratification in the way they look.

It’s easy to gain weight, living a comfortable life and over indulging in relaxing and easy activities during the day, sitting by a TV screen watching the latest programmes, whilst eating some sweet sugary form of cake, biscuits and drinking cups of tea. While all this is happening, chemical juices are being released inside our brain making us feel good.

Image Of Chocolate

So what’s the downside?

When you look in the mirror 3 months later and the silhouette of something which was once a desirable, attractive human being has been replaced by an overweight less attractive human being, it can be that much of a shock to some people, they go looking for a quick and easy way to reverse the damage they have inflicted on their image, and most end up coming across some form of “diet pill”. According to the lady in the shopping queue two months ago, they can shed up to 5lbs of fat in just two weeks.

What are they?

Well, there are hundreds of different brands of diet pills and it would be silly for me to write about every brand listing the downsides and benefits, so instead I’ll write about something, which most have in common; the ingredients.

I think around 90% are pretty useless in terms of weight loss, The ingredients are so “weak” they give nothing but a placebo effect to the user and maybe a mild appetite suppressant followed by a large waste of money. Some however have ingredients, which will actually do something. The two, which I’ve come across the most, are Ephedrine and Clenbuterol.


What is clenbuterol?

It is a central nervous system stimulant

What does it do?

It’s used to treat asthma because it dilates the bronchi inside the lungs increasing airflow. It’s also a thermogenic. This means that it increases the core temperature of the body, and as a result, daily calorie expenditure is increased.

Common doses

The most effective way to take clenbuterol is to start off with a small amount to limit side effects, and take the drug for two weeks followed by a two-week break. This is because after 2 weeks the effects get reduced as you become more tolerant. Most tablets come in 20mcg (Micrograms) capsules.

Day Dose
Day 1 20Mcg
Day 2 40Mcg
Day 3 60Mcg
Day 4 80Mcg
Day 5 100Mcg
Day 6 120Mcg
Day 7 140Mcg
Day 8-14 140Mcg

*This dose is based on a typical male adult, doses would be slightly lower for females

Does it have side effects?

It’s possible, whilst taking this drug to experience some harsh side effects some of note are:

  • Palpitations (increased heart rate) you might also be aware of your own heart beat.
  • Headaches
  • Muscular tremors and cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Increased Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Hypertension (higher blood pressure)
  • Cardiac Hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart)
  • Facial Flushing

I would not advocate the use of Clenbuterol to anyone with high blood pressure or heart problems. As with any drug, safety can’t be 100% guaranteed.


What is ephedrine?

Ephedrine is similar in structure to amphetamines, and like clenbuterol is a central nervous system stimulant.

What does it do?

It’s used medically as a decongestant and a bronchodilator. It increases airflow in the lungs by dilating the bronchi so it’s useful for treating asthma. It’s also a thermogenic, increasing the core temperature of the body resulting in extra calorie expenditure.

Common doses

Ephedrine is most effective when stacked with caffeine and aspirin. This is commonly abbreviated to ECA or ECA stack. The doses vary but are usually around:

  • Ephedrine: 20-30mg (Milligram)
  • Caffeine: 200mg
  • Aspirin: 75mg

Be careful when choosing a diet pill that contains ephedrine, some contain really small doses which have little effect. There are also variations of ECA ingredients, which have different names. Some are known as:

  • Ma Huang (6% Ephedrine), so 100mg Ma Huang = 6mg Ephedrine.
  • Guarana (22% Caffeine), so 100mg Guarana = 22mg Caffeine.
  • White Willow Bark is the same as Aspirin.

Ephedrine should be taken 12 weeks on 12 weeks off, this is to prevent increases in tolerance to the drug.

Does it have side effects?

Quite similar to Clenbuterol

  • Palpitations (increased heart rate) you might also be aware of your own heart beat.
  • Headaches
  • Muscular tremors and cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Increased Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Hypertension (higher blood pressure)
  • Cardiac Hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart)
  • Facial Flushing

Diet Pills

Clenbuterol vs Ephedrine For Fat Loss

Ephedrine gives around 2-3% increase in metabolic rate
Clenbuterol gives around 7-10% increase in metabolic rate
Side effects are similar for both. Some people report more fat loss on Ephedrine, other on Clenbuterol.
Ephedrine is a much better appetite suppressant than Clenbuterol.
Both Ephedrine and Clenbuterol help to retain muscle tissue whilst burning fat.
Ephedrine maintains levels of HDL (Good Cholesterol) whilst on a calorie restricted diet.

Wrap Up

Diet pills have become more and more popular since their discovery thanks to clever marketing strategies, and what may seem like a quick and easy fix to a weight problem is likely to be false hope given to people by companies trying to boost their profits by selling their pills. There is no magic pill which will make weight drop off. Where these pills do have benefits and they do help, if the correct diet and exercise isn’t in place, no weight loss will occur.

If you consider that there’s 3500 calories in 1 pound of bodyfat, the increases in metabolic rate from a diet pill might yield an extra 150-200 calories burned each day, which would result in an loss of 1 pound of bodyfat in 3 weeks. Most would argue the greatest benefit is the appetite suppressing qualities.

No diet pill is as effective as a clean diet and cardiovascular exercise. My advice to everyone reading this article would be save your money, and if you do decide to try them, be smart, be careful and be safe.


Dupont-Versteegden EE, Katz MS, McCarter RJ. Beneficial versus adverse effects of long-term use of clenbuterol in mdx mice. Department of Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Centre, San Antonio, USA.

Duncan ND, Williams DA, Lynch DS. Deleterious effects of chronic clenbuterol treatment on endurance and sprint exercise performance in rats. Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

Buemann B, Marckmann P, Christensen NJ, Astrup A. The effect of ephedrine plus caffeine on plasma lipids and lipoproteins during a 4.2 MJ/day diet. International Journal of Obesity 18: 329-332, 1994.

Astrup A, Breum L, Toubro S, Hein P, Quaade F. The effect and safety of an ephedrine/caffeine compound compared to ephedrine, caffeine and placebo in obese subjects on an energy restricted diet. A double blind trial. International Journal of Obesity 16(4): 269-77, 1992

— Ste @ 10:54 pm, October 31, 2008


  1. Very simple, yet comprehensive break-down of what diet pills are. I had come to fairly similiar conclusions through past research, however this will aid in providing a rather clear resource for anyone who may enquire with me about their use. Cheers.

    Comment by Ben — February 25, 2009 @ 6:17 am

  2. Good info, I didn’t know Clenbuterol was “similar” to Ephedrine. I take ephedrine all the time and wonder how effective taking clen would be. Anyone who mentions the ECA stack you know is a real lifter!

    Comment by William — April 20, 2009 @ 6:59 am

  3. Or a real porker ;)

    Comment by Ste — May 6, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

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