What is DNP? DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) is a chemical that is used in dyes, photographic chemicals, explosives and….. weight loss pills. Initlally used in the first wolrd war to make bombs, the bomb makers suffered fatigue, elevated body temperature, sweating and weight loss. Later in the 1930’s this led to it’s use as a weight loss aid.
How does DNP work?
Popular as it causes weight loss by causing the body to burn fat and carbohydrates. DNP stops oxidative phosphorylation occuirng in mitochondria, which are the energy makers in the body, so this stops ATP (our energy currency) being made. Instead energy is released as heat. It also leads to increases in temperature and in metabolic rate, which aids weight loss. Other more hramful side effects can include vomiting, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches and irregular heartbeat, plus death. The number of deaths in the UK has been increasing, leading to the call for this substance to be banned.
Are fat burner pills safe?
These type of pills can be popular in the bodybuilding community and with young adults who have learnt about them on social media. Being bought via the internet from outside the UK these pills look like they are going to help you lose weight fast, but carry huge dangers to your physical health.
The Foods Standards Agency has been talking about the dangers of DNP since 2015. The message has not been loud enough. We now need more awareness of the dangers and also very tight controls around the sales. This involves banning the toxic chat on social media and educating younger people as to why diet pills can be so dangerous.
You can listen to my thoughts on BBC News in the video below. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, please do get some help. You can book in for dietitian support with me or reach out to your GP. There is also a helpline manned by the team at Beat.