Diet Pills - Bad As Speed Or Ecstasy?

A special Heart investigation into diet pills has found that 91% of people in Devon have no idea what ingredients are in the tablets. 

Experts believe that more regulation is needed on these so-called fat burning tablets, which are readily available over the Internet and even in some high street shops. 

We found that a quarter of the people surveyed had used diet pills before but half of the 34 - 45 year olds that used them didn't even know what was in them. 

What isn't made clear is how dangerous these pills are and the nasty side effects they can have. 

Some of the tablets examined by our Heart investigator contained ingredients such as bitter orange, guarana and caffeine anhydrous. 

All of which are stimulants and can have similar effects to that of speed or ecstasy. 

Bitter orange for example is a substitute for an ingredient named ephedra, which is banned in the United States and causes increased heart rate and has even been linked to stroke and death. 

These ingredients can actually be quite helpful in some herbal remedies but when put together in high dosages in one tablet they can prove fatal. 

Our investigation found that 84% of the people surveyed didn't know that taking these pills could cause side effects such as heart palpitations, angina and seizures. 

Registered dietitian Gaynor Bussell told Heart: "There's a whole variety of diet pills out there. Some are just a waste of money - they won't help you to slim but they won't do you any harm.

"There's some that have several stimulants in them and each stimulant on it's own is probably enough to cause blood pressure to rise and make you very anxious and cause you not to sleep." 

LISTEN HERE to the exclusive investigation into diet pills by Gemma Mullin.

Everybody's limit to stimulants is different. Some people are more vulnerable and people with heart conditions and blood pressure are especially susceptible and could find that taking these tablets is enough to cause serious problems. 

If you are thinking about trying dieting pills or currently use them, take a look at the ingredients on the packet and make sure you research what you are consuming.