Diet pills continue to be unhealthy trend

By Morgan Miller
September 25, 2008

Shannon Keough

College is the start of young adults being able to make decisions entirely on their own. “What should I wear to class? Should I go to that party even though I have a test tomorrow?” And even, “What should I eat and when?”

Today’s society is focused on images. There is constant competition on who has the nicest clothes, purses and cars. Unfortunately, this competition even carries over into body images.

Society’s constant attention on body image forces college students, even at Cabrini, to try various diet fads.

As Mary Kate Smith, junior criminology major, points out, “Celebrities have a reason to remain extremely fit. We just want to try and look like them.”

Celebrities are constantly in the center of attention, therefore making them the perfect subjects to be analyzed and criticized. Take for instance, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Pictures of the actress surfaced last year that revealed her sporting a “fuller” shape.

Immediately, the media began to criticize Hewitt.

The celebrity gossip and news Web site even stated, “We know what you ate this summer, Love-everything!” Although the actress shot back that “a size two is not fat,” Hewitt was featured on U.S. Weekly magazine for losing 18 pounds in 10 weeks. How is this supposed to make college students feel about their own body images?

In order to “look like them,” students attempt dieting. Two of the most popular dieting techniques today are diet pills and the lemonade diet.

Michael D. Johnson, author of “Human Biology, Concepts and Current Issues,” points out in his book that diet pills are extremely dangerous for the simple fact that they “don’t have to be tested.” This is interesting, considering diet pills can cause dependence, increased heart rate and slow the metabolism.

Sarah Martin, junior business and Spanish major, has attempted the lemonade diet two times.

This mixture of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water is supposed to be the only thing consumed for 10 days. If strictly followed, the user will lose water weight, such as Beyoncé Knowles did for her movie “Dream Girls.”

“It became the new thing; once Beyoncé did it everyone started doing it,” Martin said. “I did it for one day and stopped. I wasn’t starving, I just wanted to eat.”

Obviously, just because celebrities are doing them does not mean it will work for a college student who most likely does not have a professional chef and personal trainer. “You know they’re not going to work,” Martin said. “They’re just funny to try.”

The fact that celebrities do these fad diets definitely does not make them healthy. Cabrini Nurse Susan M. Fitzgerald points out that everyone needs to be really careful about dieting in general.

“The body is an amazing machine built to preserve itself,” Fitzgerald said. “It learns to survive on what you give it.”

Fitzgerald explained that when an individual lowers their caloric intake, their metabolism lowers as well. Although you will begin to lose weight, once you begin to eat normally the weight will come right back, sometimes even more so than before.

In a society where body image is everything, students need to just keep in mind that a healthy diet and exercise will always be the safest way to keep the pounds off.

Fitzgerald said, “Everything in moderation.”

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Morgan Miller

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