Fads come and go, but one fact remains constant: the weight loss industry has been a multibillion dollar industry for decades. From diet programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers to “supplements” promising decreased appetite and increased metabolism, the trends continue to change. And consumers are not afraid to continue to pour money into the industry.
But what really works? Are we handing money over to companies which do nothing more than take advantage of our desire to live a healthy lifestyle? We all want to look and feel good; what will truthfully help us achieve that goal?
Let’s look at a few of the weight loss supplements which are available now, and at their efficacy.
Weight Loss Pills: Garcinia Cambogia
Back in the 1990s, there was a lot of hype surrounding ephedra. Consumers would buy this supplement by the tub, expecting that it would decrease their appetite and boost their metabolism.
It worked, to a degree. Eventually, however, the public caught on that taking too much ephedra was essentially like taking speed – those in less than optimal health began to suffer heart attacks, and other side effects were experienced.
Enter garcinia cambogia fruit. Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit, and it’s said that the rind of this fruit can help to block the body’s production of fat. It also was claimed to give the user energy, making it the perfect, safe substitute for ephedra.
As it turns out, there may be some truth behind the garcinia cambogia claims. The active “ingredient” in garcinia cambogia is hydroxycitric acid, which may help to raise your body’s production of serotonin. Basically, it works as a mild antidepressant. This can, in turn, diminish cravings which are emotionally driven.
It’s possible that garcinia cambogia can also help to lower LDLs in your body, or the “bad” cholesterol. So is garcinia cambogia an effective weight loss pill? Studies indicate that, in concert with a healthy lifestyle the supplement can help.
Weight Loss Pills: Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract sounds harmless, right? After all, billions of people drink green tea, so why not grind it up and put in in a capsule?
The answer: because it probably won’t help you to lose weight. The claims are that green tea extract will help your body to burn fat. That by taking a green tea capsule or two a day, your metabolism will turn into a fat burning machine. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
If you’ve tried green tea extract and have experienced positive results, congratulations! Unfortunately, it’s probably not what you think. Green tea isn’t burning fat – instead, the caffeine in the product will act as a stimulant, and allow your metabolism to temporarily speed up. Also unfortunately, caffeine can have a negative impact on your heart’s health if consumed in great quantities.
Our advice? Skip the green tea extract and opt for a coffee. You’ll get the same caffeine effect, and it’ll taste much better than that little pill.
Weight Loss Pills: Sleep Aids
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention sleep aids as a highly marketed weight loss pill. Many commercial weight loss programs have featured these; usually in conjunction with a “daytime” supplement they would offer a “nighttime” counterpart. So what do sleep aids have to do with weight loss? A lot!
First, the obvious. If you’re fatigued, you’re more likely to reach for a “pick-me-up.” Caffeine and sugary snacks fall into this category. Obviously, that won’t do well for your weight loss plan.
Secondly, however, sleep has a huge impact on your metabolism. Sleep deprivation can boost your appetite, increase your risk of diabetes and can ultimately lead to obesity. Sleep deprivation will adversely impact your body’s ability to use insulin. It will increase your stress hormones, causing you to crave food. And it will diminish the production of the hormones which control hunger.
So what do we recommend? Try a natural supplement like melatonin or even one like Somnapure, which contains melatonin and chamomile. Steer clear of caffeine during the day, and avoid the supplements which contain caffeine. Begin a bedtime routine, and stick to it to ensure that it becomes habit. Healthy sleep is one of the most effective ways to ensure weight loss.
Weight Loss Pills: Workout Supplements
We’re going to state the obvious. The best way to lose weight is through a healthy, balanced diet and with a physician-approved exercise program. It is and always has been the best way to maintain optimal health.
But sometimes you want results faster. It’s tempting to visit the bar at the gym and eye the supplements behind the counter. Do they really work? Will they help you lose weight more quickly?
Research points to both yes and no. Confusing? Not if you check out the psychology. There are a range of workout supplements available, and they contain everything from protein or carbohydrates to creatine and testosterone boosters.
The efficacy of these supplements is still being explored via studies. But one thing has been determined: these supplements change the way you feel. Taking these supplements will make you feel as if you’re doing something to enhance your workout, and thus may help you to work out harder.
As with any supplement, we strongly advise you to read the ingredients on the label. Many supplements may cause caffeine, which can cause heart problems particularly during an intense workout. Some products may contain ephedra-like ingredients, which can be extremely dangerous.
Even the seemingly benign ingredients, such as Niacin and B3 can be harmful if used incorrectly. Liver toxicity and “niacin flush” are two common examples of this. If you have any doubt, check with your doctor.
Weight Loss Pills: What We Recommend
It’s easy to fall prey to the weight loss industry’s claims. There are billions to be made by appealing to our desire to look and feel good. And there are more products on the market than we could possibly cover in one article.
Our recommendation to you is if you do choose to use supplements, be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. Always exercise moderation, and always be sure that you’re cleared by a physician before you start any program.
There are products which can help you lose weight, and which will do so in a healthy way. Use good common sense, and they can be part of your healthy lifestyle.