Do weight loss supplements work is a question that I see being asked a lot in some of the online health groups with varying answers. With so many weight loss drugs and diet supplements available on the market today it’s very confusing if you want a definitive answer.
Most of these supplements can be bought online or over-the-counter without a prescription. Some of them come in the form of a pill, while others are in liquid form. Yet, they all claim to be the best.
They promise to help you shed all that unwanted fat with less effort on your part, which is why so many people are easily tempted to give them a try. But in most cases, there is not a lot of scientific studies to back up their claims and others even come with health risks.
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So, let’s try to understand how these supplements work, and address the question, do weight loss supplements work?
What Are Weight Loss Supplements?
Weight loss supplements are dietary supplements intended to help people lose weight. They are made from different ingredients, including varying amounts of herbs such as green tea, garcinia cambogia, mangosteen, African mango and yerba mate, fiber, CLA, and minerals. Most supplements are sold in capsules and tablets. But there are also liquids and powders.
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Although their main goal is to help with weight loss, these supplements work differently. Some brands claim that their products work by blocking the absorption of carbohydrates or fats. Others say that they help to curb your appetite and speed up your metabolism.
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Before you decide to take any type of weight supplements, you should talk to your healthcare provider. This is especially recommended if you are suffering from any health conditions and are taking medications. Some of these supplements could interact with your medications and interfere with their efficacy in treating your conditions.
How are Weight Loss Supplements Regulated?
The companies behind these weight loss supplements are responsible for the safety of their products. They must ensure that their products are safe to use and free from any contaminants that are harmful to health. Above all, each product should be labeled accurately and must indicate the ingredients that they are made of.
Supplements are not medicines. Therefore, they do not require approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, if a supplement is found unsafe, the FDA can issue a warning against the product and will request the maker to remove the product from the market. The FDA can also take legal action against companies that make false claims about their supplements.
Unfortunately, it’s rare for these manufacturers to carry out studies to determine if their products are effective and safe. In those instances where studies are done, they only involve a small number of individuals who will take the supplements for only a few weeks.
Erica Bessell, the lead author of the first global review of complementary medicines for weight loss, has revealed that the use of weight-loss medicines cannot be justified based on current evidence. According to her,
Our rigorous assessment of the best available evidence finds that there is insufficient evidence to recommend these supplements for weight loss. Even though most supplements appear safe for short-term consumption, they are not going to provide weight loss that is clinically meaningful.
Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
Yes, weight loss supplements could work in the short term, but they are not the safest solution nor the healthiest way to lose weight. These pills can be expensive and are usually only effective for a short time. To have lasting weight loss and good health you really need to completely overhaul your diet and lifestyle.
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The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy balanced diet such and exercise regularly. Understanding and changing your attitude towards eating are also important for weight loss.
For better and quick weight loss results without hunger then a Paleo diet or a low carb diet like the Keto Diet are good. You can even do a vegetarian version of the keto diet if you don’t like the idea of eating meat.
Related reading: Does a Low Carb Diet Work for Weight Loss?
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But for some people, eating a healthy diet and performing regular exercise may be difficult to achieve. In this case, it is best to see a doctor who can determine if you are a good fit for weight loss medication. The doctor will consider your Body Mass Index (BMI), health condition, and other factors to determine which weight loss medications could work for you.
In most cases, pregnant women, children, and teenagers should not take any type of weight loss pills.
Weight Loss Supplements Safety Concerns
A weight loss product is not necessarily safe simply because it is made from natural ingredients. Although rare, some of the dietary supplements for weight loss have been found to cause serious health problems, such as liver damage.
It’s also important to know that some of these weight loss supplements can have strong effects. For instance, ephedra, an herb once used for weight loss, has now been banned by the FDA. It has been found to trigger adverse effects on the user, such as high blood pressure, mood changes, irregular heart rate, heart attack, stroke, and seizures.
Some weight loss supplements have also been found to contain “hidden” illegal ingredients that can be harmful to your health.
It’s therefore important that you do your homework if you are thinking of using a weight loss supplement. When doing research, refer to credible websites, such as those run by the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements.
Do weight loss supplements work? The answer to this question is that they may work in the short term but they are not a lasting solution. Simply losing weight with the use of supplements and ignoring eating healthily does not result in good health.
As stated above, these supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Some of them have not been scientifically studied and some studies are only for the short-term. You also have to beware of possible side effects.
While many people have claimed to benefit from these weight loss supplements, they may not work for everyone. Also, none of them are risk-free.
Instead of buying a weight loss product online, it would be better to consult a nutritionist or Naturopath who specializes in weight loss. They can take a detailed medical history, look at your existing diet and lifestyle and guide you on the best eating plan to follow.