September 13, 2012

Weight Loss Supplements

Weight Loss Supplements 

Photo credit: Food_Supplements_Prove_Harmful_cancer

Losing weight, although can greatly improve your emotional and physical health, however, it can be a slow process. There are diet supplements that can boost weight loss, opting for a range of products that claim to decrease appetite, block fat absorption, or increase metabolism. The following are the six products you can buy at most health food or drugstores that have some weight loss evidence behind them: Calcium, Fiber, Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), Green tea extract, Meal replacements, Orlistat, an over-the-counter weight loss drug.

However, you should always check with your doctor before taking any type of supplement. Even supplements can have side effects and may interfere with medications you take. And, when it comes to weight loss, there are no quick fixes. A healthy eating plan and regular physical exercise should be the foundation of any weight loss program.

Researchers found that dieting women who received 1,000 mg of calcium supplements each day lost, on average, more weight and more body fat than women taking a placebo. And those researchers who have found a connection between calcium and weight loss hypothesize that dietary calcium might play a role in the breakdown and storage of fat. Additionally, the weight loss that has sometimes been observed in people who eat dairy may have something to do with specific dairy proteins and magnesium, another important mineral abundant in dairy products.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Some studies have found that CLA diet supplements can help you lose body fat and increase lean body mass. When a group of overweight people took 3.2 grams of CLA each day for six months, they lost more body fat than people taking a placebo and gained less holiday weight during the winter months.



Things that delay gastric emptying and stay in the stomach longer theoretically will make you feel fuller for a longer period of time,” says Sasha Stiles, MD, an obesity expert at Tufts Medical Center. “There’s enough fairly good research to show that an appropriate amount of fiber, such as bran or psyllium, can do this.” A recent study found that overweight and obese people who took a fiber diet supplement each day reported less hunger after meals thanas people taking a placebo, and there was a trend for those using a fiber supplement to lose more weight.
If you decide to increase your fiber intake from food or diet supplements, be sure to add fiber to your diet slowly. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming constipated.
The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends that men under age 50 consume 38 grams of fiber a day, and 30 grams a day after age 50. Women under age 50 should consume 25 grams of fiber per day, and 21 grams per day after age 50. Most people only get about half of this amount.


Green Tea Extract

There are components in green tea extract that have shown some effects on lowering body weight, these are are catechins, caffeine and theanine.
One recent report found that daily green tea extract supplements helped obese men and women lose weight and lower their body mass index (BMI -- an indicator of body fat). Green tea extract also helped reduce amounts of dangerous belly fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of death. Not only that, green tea extract lowered blood pressure and LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol at the same time.


Meal Replacements

Experts agree that the most proven weight loss supplements are meal replacements, including bars and shakes.
 “There’s very good scientific literature around meal replacements that is encouraging -- this is a strategy for some people that is efficient and safe,” says Steven R. Smith, MD, professor and assistant to the executive director for clinical research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
“For folks who adopt that strategy, there’s pretty good long-term success,” says Smith. “The reason for that is that it’s simple, it’s structured and it allows people to continue to enjoy food with their evening meal.”


Over-the-Counter Orlistat

Technically, Orlistat is a medicine, not a supplement. However, it’s approved by the FDA for sale without a prescription (brand name Alli), thus many people consider it a diet supplement.
“This is the one that has the data behind it,” says Caroline Apovian, MD, the director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center. “It blocks 25% of the fat calories eaten from being absorbed.” Orlistat helps people lose weight as long as they also follow a diet and exercise. But it can have some unpleasant intestinal side effects. Be sure to follow the product’s recommendations to limit fat intake to minimize potentially embarrassing problems with anal leakage and gas.


General Suggestions for Using Weight Loss Supplements

If you do use weight loss supplements, be aware that the vast majority of products sold as diet supplements are not regulated by the FDA. To make sure that the product you are purchasing has undergone quality control testing, look for diet supplements that bear a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal or that have passed assembly on the website.
Be sure to ask your doctor about taking weight loss supplements before you use them. Avoid products with excessive levels of caffeine, which can cause side effects, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

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