Do Weight Loss Supplements Really Work?

Do Weight Loss Supplements Really Work?

Do you think stimulants, appetite suppressants and other diet supplements can help you lose weight? Recent research reveals that these methods are not really effective.

There has been an influx of information about different ways to lose weight. Some say drink green tea everyday or eat high-fiber crackers. Others tell you to use appetite suppressants or over-the-counter pills that can block the fat absorption in your body. Well, the bad news is that diet supplements fail to deliver the promises they claim, according to a published research in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Typically, supplements must be combined with diet and exercise to really work.

Four Categories of Diet Supplements

Melinda Manore, a nutrition and exercise science professor at Oregon State University reviewed hundreds of diet supplements and categorized them into four. The first category of supplements can block fat or carbohydrate absorption. The second are metabolism-boosting stimulants like ephedra and caffeine. The third include products that are able to decrease fat. The fourth includes appetite suppressants like soluble fibers.

After reviewing the products, Manore said that very few products had randomized clinical trials to support their claim of effectiveness. In addition, the clinical trials of the said products had data that showed minimal weight loss benefit — just two pounds of weight lost compared to the placebo groups. And not all of the studies included exercise as a weight loss factor.

The supplement that people are looking for must help them not just to lose weight but to maintain their lean tissue mass as well, if not increase it. So far, no supplement can do this. Instead, many products are known to cause unpleasant side effects like gas and bloating. Sometimes, there are even cases of stroke and heart problem.

What Works?

Upon analyzing the intake of green tea, low-fat dairy products and fiber as part of a healthy diet, the effect on the participants was a drop of 3 to 4 pounds on average. But, these products must be taken together with a restricted-calorie plan.

The popular belief that drinking green tea can boost weight loss isn’t true. What green tea does is increase the fat oxidation and energy expenditure by the body. But this does not translate to a measurable loss of weight. Fiber, on the other hand, can increase satiety, thus contributing to weight loss. But, a high-fiber supplement must be taken together with lots of leafy vegetables, lean protein and physical exercise in order for weight loss to happen.

Guidelines to Healthy Weight Loss

Manore gave these weight loss guidelines to follow instead of just taking diet supplements.

Plan it

You need to plan what you will eat and stick with the plan. If you eat spontaneously, you will more likely have poor food choices.

Eat salads or soups first

The best meal starter is a salad or soup broth. It will help feel fuller so you won’t overeat the rest of the meal.

Be active

Keep your body moving. This is especially important if your desk job is making you sedentary. Use the speaker phone when answering calls so you can walk around. Stand during long meetings, if allowed.

Eat you veggies

This is a must in every meal.

More fiber

Eat more “wet” fiber like cooked oatmeal instead of dry fiber like a fiber cracker.

Avoid processed food

Processed foods are easier to digest. But foods like vegetables, whole fruits and whole-grains are harder to digest. The latter is better for boosting your metabolism.

Photo credits: Image by Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

Categories: Nutrition, Weight Loss

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