natural weight loss vs prescription weight loss pills

Are Natural Weight Loss Supplements Safer Than Prescription-Based?

12 min read


19 Feb 2024

Things you’ll learn here…

  1. What are weight loss pills?
  2. Natural weight loss vs prescription weight loss
  3. Which type of diet pill is the safest?

Weight loss takes effort and dedication. It's not just a simple case of deciding you'll lose weight and then just doing it. The reality is that it takes discipline, planning, and a lot of willpower to reach your goals.

The basics are simple​​—eat less and exercise more. If you consume fewer calories and burn more, you'll get to where you need to be. 

As you are no doubt aware, the reality is far from easy, and unless you’re one of those people who can burn calories quickly, a weight loss journey can be a harsh one. 

It's a challenging journey, and making maximum effort with minimal returns can be stressful, to say the least.

Sometimes, we need a helping hand with weight management.

If you're looking to lose weight, one thing's for sure: There's no shortage of advice out there. You can't turn your head without seeing another new weight loss fad or someone advising you on how they lost weight and how you can do it, too. 

Some weight loss methods are based on scientific facts, and others are based on home remedies that are "said" to work, but there’s no proof. And the diet pill business is busier than ever. 

Long gone are the days when diet pills were considered to be a "pie in the sky" idea. Now, they're based on scientific fact, are sold over the counter, and are available by prescription from a medical professional. 

Taking weight loss pills is a convenient way to help those who are struggling to lose weight. 

Despite having the same end result, prescription and non-prescription pills are not a "one-size-fits-all," so it's a good idea to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. 

They all work in different ways, and your choice of the pill will be very much dependent on various factors, including your physical health and potential side effects.

As there are pros and cons for all weight loss drugs, it's a good idea to make your own informed decision as to whether or not to try a weight loss pill and, if so, which one to take. 

weight loss pills

What are weight loss pills?

Weight loss pills are a convenient way of helping people who are struggling to shed the pounds. They’re usually taken once daily, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise to assist in the process of losing weight. 

The last sentence might have surprised a few who were perhaps expecting the pill to do all the work​​—but the reality is that no "magic pill" exists. 

The various weight loss pills available work in different ways, but with one aim in mind— to assist in the process of weight loss. 

If you're looking for a weight loss pill that will allow you to eat whatever you want while sitting on the couch, you'll be bitterly disappointed. 

Weight loss pills are for those who are exercising, have tried various diets and are STILL struggling to lose weight. They’re a way of moving things in the right direction when your weight loss efforts need a kick start. 

So, how exactly do weight loss pills work? This will depend on the type of pill you go for—but if you make the right choice—you can see a big difference in your weight loss efforts.

Let's have a look at the various types of weight loss pills available and see which one is right for you.

The appetite suppressant

One of the significant struggles when trying to lose weight is the urge to overeat. Consuming more than you should, either through your main meals or by snacking too often and making the wrong food choices, will seriously derail the weight loss process. 

But, you'll be less likely to overeat if you feel less hungry. Step forward the appetite suppressant, designed to make your stomach feel fuller for longer. 

If your issue with weight loss is your desire to compulsively overeat, a suppressant may be the way to go.

The fat burner

The name sounds like a dream come true for those looking to lose weight. Well, the fat burner aims to do exactly what its name suggests by burning off fat. It achieves this through ingredients that increase your metabolism, which in turn helps to break down and reduce the accumulation of fat.

A fat-burner pill will raise your blood pressure and increase your energy, which helps burn calories and reduce body fat. 

It's a pill that won't suit everyone, particularly those who already have high blood pressure or who have sensitive stomachs, but it's a pill that can certainly do the job.

The fat binder

Fat binders or blockers prevent fat from being absorbed in your digestive system. Instead of the fat being absorbed by your body, it gets eliminated as waste. 

Again, this doesn't mean it's a license to eat what you want, but a fat binder may be the answer for those looking to reduce the amount of fat being added to their body.

The carb blocker

Carbs can seriously derail a diet, so a pill that helps prevent carbs from being digested and absorbed can greatly help weight loss. 

These supplements will usually include ingredients such as chromium picolinate, which can help to curb cravings for carbs. They also feature ginseng, and astragalus, which can also reduce carb absorption in the intestines. This means you will eat fewer carbs and absorb fewer calories from the carbs you do eat.

woman taking pill

Natural weight loss vs prescription weight loss pills

As if the slimming pill minefield wasn't complicated enough, you also have a choice of pills. You can either choose natural weight loss pills that you can purchase online or over the counter, or ones that a medical professional prescribes for obesity treatment. 

Once again, this will be your own choice and should be based on a thorough look at the facts. The pills work as fat burners, appetite suppressants, binders or nutrient absorbers, and sometimes a combination. 

What's right for you might not be suitable for someone else, so let's have a closer look.

Prescription weight loss drugs

Some diet pills are only available through a prescription and must be approved by a medical professional. 

Prescription drugs have been scientifically tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are available to those who meet specific health criteria. 

Usually, prescription pills are green-lit based on your medical history. For example, you may be excluded from taking a prescription weight loss drug if you have a personal or family history of heart disease or kidney issues.

Some of the most popular prescription weight loss pills include…

Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave): This works as a suppressant by acting on certain parts of the brain to help reduce food intake and boost metabolism.

Liraglutide (Saxenda): This works by helping you feel fuller for longer and regulating your appetite.  

Orlistat (Xenical, Alli): This blocks the activity of certain enzymes that break down fats in your digestive system, reducing calories absorbed.

Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia): This is a suppressant that helps you to feel less hungry.  

Semaglutide (Wegovy): Like Liraglutide, this helps to give your stomach a fuller feeling and reduces your appetite.

Setmelanotide (Imcivree): This helps reduce hunger, decrease calorie intake, and speed up your metabolism. 

If you have difficulty losing weight through diet and exercise alone, have a weight-related condition, or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, you may be eligible for a prescription pill. 

Also, if you have health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, you’re likely to be considered for a prescription pill.

You’ll be able to take the medication for a limited period, during which time you must adopt a healthy lifestyle, eat a low-fat diet and exercise regularly. 

Certain medical conditions can rule out a diet pill prescription. For example, weight loss medications are not recommended during pregnancy.


Do prescription diet pills work?

Prescription medications can typically result in around 5% to 10% average weight loss, but this will vary depending on the type of pill you're prescribed, the amount of exercise you undertake and your diet.

Are prescription medications safe?

As prescription weight loss medications aren't made up entirely of natural ingredients, there can be side effects. Your doctor will be able to give you guidance on this. The most common side effects are…

  • Digestive issues
  • Constipation
  • Low blood sugar
  • Upset stomach and abdominal pain
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of kidney problems or failure
  • Liver disease
  • Gallbladder problems

So, while weight loss medication can help you achieve weight loss, it's not without its risks. 

Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of a prescription weight loss pill. 

The pros…

  • They've been scientifically proven to assist you in your weight loss goals
  • They have FDA approval
  • They may offer other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol 

The cons…

  • They won't work for everyone
  • They can cause serious side effects
  • You’re only likely to be considered for a prescription pill if you have a specific medical condition
  • There is a limit to how long you can take them
  • An increased risk of weight gain once your prescription period ends
  • More research is needed as to the long-term health effects of taking prescription pills

Natural weight loss supplements

The alternatives to prescription pills are natural dietary supplements that you can readily purchase over the counter or online. 

They’re not FDA-regulated in the same way as prescription pills, which makes them much easier to obtain. 

Even though you won't need a prescription for an all-natural weight loss pill, it's still a good idea to consult a medical professional before you take one—especially if you have any health issues which you feel might be affected by taking them. 

Like prescription pills, there are positives and negatives, but it’s up to you to decide as to which kind of pill you'd like to go for. 

Let's have a closer inspection of natural weight loss pills.

Are natural weight loss supplements safe?

They’re made from natural ingredients designed to help with weight loss, and because they contain ‘safe’ ingredients, they have little or no side effects. 

The pills work in the same way as prescription pills: By curbing your appetite, absorbing fat and carbs, or by fat-burning. The type of ingredients you can expect in a natural supplement can include…

Red pepper: Contains capsaicin, which has been shown to boost metabolism and suppress appetite. A 2014 study shows that participants who consumed red pepper were less hungry.

Ginseng: Research has shown that ginseng can help absorb fat and limit the digestive system's ability to absorb fat. 

Chromium Picolinate: has been found to lower blood sugar and benefit the body's response to insulin.

L-carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body turn excess fat into energy, and research has shown that it can promote weight loss.

Vitamins B3, B6, and B12: Have been shown to help fight fatigue, boost energy levels, and speed up your metabolism.

Although you can get these weight loss supplements without a prescription, it's still a good idea to consult a medical professional before making a commitment.

Like prescription pills, these supplements are not a quick fix for weight loss. But if you use them sensibly alongside a regular exercise program and a diet, they can give you a huge advantage in your weight loss efforts.

Do natural diet supplements work?

Natural weight loss pills work similarly to prescription pills, and combined with regular exercise and the right food choices, they can also help you in your weight loss goals. 

There are also a variety of pills available, and what works for you might need to be more successful for someone else. For instance, you might get on better with a fat burner than a suppressant, or vice versa.

As natural pills tend not to be FDA-approved, it's also a good idea to check the company's credentials selling natural weight loss pills. 

They should have plenty of testimonials from clients who have successfully used their products and be upfront about the ingredients used in each pill.

In summary, natural weight loss pills work in the same way as prescription pills, are more readily available, and without the risks of major side effects.

 The pros

  • They have little or no side effects
  • No need for a prescription
  • They are more readily available than prescription pills
  • There is no time limit as to how long you can take them
  • They can help to minimize weight regain


  • They’re not FDA-approved
safety sign

Which type of diet pill is the safest?

If you're having difficulty with weight management and are looking to try diet pills for the first time, the next decision you need to make is which way to go: prescription or non-prescription. 

The choice you make should be based on your circumstances, your health, and all of the information you have to hand regarding both types of pills. 

Even a modest weight loss can lead to major health benefits. So it's important that you choose the one which is right for you.

Whichever weight loss pill you choose, you should be prepared to make some dietary and lifestyle changes too. 

You’ll need to be more aware of the choices you make which will lead to healthy weight management. Weight loss doesn't come easily, but if you're prepared to apply yourself, shifting excess weight will be possible.

Your decision should be based on factors such as how much weight you want to lose, how long you expect to take them, and most importantly, the effects they will have on your health. 

For example, if you have medical issues that may be compromised by the potential side effects of a prescription weight loss pill—you'll want to go for a natural product.  

Your wellbeing should be your top priority at all times. If you're looking to lose weight, you're clearly thinking about the health benefits which come with it, so you're on the right track already. 

If you choose a prescription weight loss pill, you should discuss the potential side effects with your medical professional and weigh it up against the positive. 

Prescription pills and FDA-approved drugs have been shown to work, but they come with their fair share of side effects. Weight loss medications can work, but you and your doctor need to weigh the pros against the cons.

Prescription Pills Natural Pills
FDA approved?   ✅  ❌
Little or no side effects?  ❌  ✅
Unlimited time for use?  ❌  ✅
Based on science?  ✅  ✅
No prescription needed?  ✅  ✅

If you're looking for the safest option, a natural supplement should be your top choice. A supplement that contains ingredients that have been scientifically proven to assist in weight loss and has little or no risk of side effects. As a bonus, you'll be able to use the supplements for as long as needed without the time restrictions that come with prescription pills.

Reach your weight loss goals with PhenQ

Using a natural supplement, alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise is a safe way to reduce your body weight and maintain weight loss.

PhenQ is a powerful new slimming formula combining multiple weight loss benefits in one pill. It contains ginseng, red pepper extract, Chromium Picolinate, l-carnitine, B vitamins, and a host of other all-natural health-boosting ingredients. 

It's an all-in-one fat burner, suppressant, fat-blocker, and energy booster.  Give it a try.