The prevalence of obesity in the United States increased during the last decades of the 20th century. According to a 2011 report from the American Heart Association, 149.3 million Americans age 20 and older and about 1 in 3 children ages 2-19 are overweight and obese. Obesity adversely affects the quality of life and increases the risk of a number of health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Whether for health reasons associated with obesity or excess weight, a desire to feel better, the beginning of a new job or a new school year, or an upcoming high school reunion or wedding, most Americans will try to lose a few pounds at one time or another. In fact, during any one year, more than half of all Americans go on a diet to lose weight, according to WebMD. The problem is that casual dieters may not consult with a health care professional first and therefore may not understand that their diet may have an impact on mood and energy or that medications and supplements can interact with foods.
Depending on the type of diet being followed, your body may experience a nutrition imbalance. A low carbohydrate diet may cause fatigue and therefore a reduction in desire to exercise. Low-fat diets may create the need for dietary supplements such as omega-3-fatty acids or flaxseed oil. Instead of eating whole foods and fulfilling meals, some diets recommend participants take several vitamins and supplements, which is not recommended without a consult with a health care provider.
All prescription medications, over-the-counter products, vitamins and herbal supplements have the potential to interact with each other, the food a person eats or the nutrients in those foods. Foods can also impact how a medication is absorbed or metabolized. Consumers who take certain medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety or depression may have to avoid the diet-friendly grapefruit and grapefruit juice because it interferes with the medication's absorption in the digestive track or metabolism by the liver and could cause dangerous side effects. Foods high in vitamin K, such as leafy greens, can impact the effectiveness of anticoagulant drugs. Dieters should also note that many medications are absorbed more quickly into the body on an empty stomach. Some are supposed to be taken that way, many are meant to be taken with food.
If you are considering a diet, talk with your pharmacist, they can:
-- Provide information about any medications you are currently taking,
whether they should be taken with food, potential food or nutritional
interactions, and if those medications are having any impact on your
-- Help select appropriate dietary and nutritional supplements based upon
the type of diet you're following and potential nutritional deficiencies
that may result from that diet.
-- Give you accurate information about products being marketed
over-the-counter for weight loss, their effectiveness and any potential
-- Discuss the availability of prescription medications designed to help
with weight loss.
There are many over-the-counter products that claim to help consumers lose weight. Some are dietary supplements that are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consumers should talk with their pharmacist to learn what products are appropriate.
About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.
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