Potential Dangers of Hoodia
While Bushmen in South Africa have been using the Hoodia plant as an appetite suppressant for thousands of years, they have not been eating it every day. They use it sparingly, when they are going on long trips, etc. So scientists are unaware as of yet what the effects are of using Hoodia every day. While there are many natural medicines and herbs on the markets, most of the other herbs have been known by the rest of the world for longer, and tried by more people, before reaching the point where they are sold as nutritional supplements. Right now it would appear that there are no side effects to eating Hoodia, but daily use may show differently. Side effects which have appeared through use of Ephedra and epinephrin also took time to appear, although Hoodia would have different side effects if it has any, because Hoodia is not a stimulant. However, many Hoodia pills have not been approved by the FDA as a weight loss or diet pill, and thus have not undergone testing as a safe way to lose weight. Nor does anyone know what the effect might be on pregnant women who take Hoodia before they know they are pregnant.
The main danger of Hoodia is that people will starve themselves. Not to death, but many people, in their zeal to lose weight, may take a greater amount of Hoodia and not eat because they are not hungry. Many mistakenly believe that the key to losing weight is eating less, which for some people, it is. But for others, the key is not in eating less but in eating healthier. Eating below a certain amount of calories, depending on your current weight, can actually cause you to gain weight in the long run. A minimum number of calories is necessary each day for the running of our body, as even when you are sitting still, energy is being used for breathing, the nervous system, and keeping the heart beating.
If you eat less than a certain amount of calories per day (it varies in people depending on their weight and metabolism), your body begins to go into starvation mode. Your metabolism will slow down, (which can have a long term effect on your metabolism) and if you don’t eat enough in the following days, your body will begin to protect its fat storage (your brain, for example, is made out of fat cells), and instead break down your muscle proteins into the simple sugars it needs to run your heart and lungs. Since muscles use up a lot of energy, this will also lower your metabolism, although some people may think that they have lost fat, because they will lose weight from the breakdown of the muscle. Muscle actually weighs more than fat, so this can be a bit deceptive. So the people who think they can take a miracle plant cure and thus not have to eat actually can end up gaining weight in the long run.