When it comes to weight loss, more and more people seem to be trying “the latest and greatest” products. If you fail with one product, the next time around, you try something different—like a supplement that is supposed to melt away fat without any effort on your part.
You may think that dietary supplements are low-risk because they’re natural, but these products can pose dangers just like all medications do. There haven’t been enough studies yet to really know whether some of these supplements work or not; even if they do help with weight loss, there could be other risks involved.
So what should you look for when considering a dietary supplement? Here’s some information:
Don’t be fooled by false claims.
Companies often make promises of easy weight loss without diet or exercise. Although it’s easy to be tempted by the “quick fix” claims of dietary supplements marketed for weight loss or appetite suppression, most of these products haven’t been proven safe or effective. And don’t fall for unrealistic claims like “lose 30 pounds in four weeks” either; the only way to lose that much fat that quickly is to severely restrict your caloric intake (less than 1000 calories a day). Talk about starvation! You need at least 1200-1300 calories a day to maintain your current weight.
Don’t risk your health.
Many people misperception that herbal or traditional products—and those that are “natural”—are safe to use. Still, research has shown that many of these products carry the same dangers as pharmaceutical agents. Because dietary supplements like weight loss pills and appetite suppressants aren’t regulated for safety, harmful substances could be in them (for example, ephedra), or they could interact with other medications you may take or cause health problems ranging from mild stomach discomfort to liver damage or death.
If a product is labeled “homeopathic,” it doesn’t mean it’s completely natural and free of potential risks either. Some homeopathic products have been found to contain drugs not listed on the label; others have caused side effects such as nausea and vomiting when taken with other medications or following surgery. And studies have shown that homeopathic remedies may not even contain any active ingredients—so they’re virtually useless.
Don’t substitute supplements for healthy eating and exercise.
Supplements can be expensive, so you may think taking a weight loss supplement will help you lose weight without changing your diet or exercise habits. But the only way to lose weight and keep it off is by creating a low-calorie eating plan that controls your calorie intake and increasing physical activity through regular exercise. Be wary of misinformation about dietary supplements; the best ways to improve your health through proper nutrition and moderate physical activity—not cheap, unproven weight loss products. Discuss with your physician what dietary supplements might offer benefits in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program.
Weight Loss Supplements Industry
Weight loss supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. Because of this, it’s no wonder many people might today consider using them to supplement their diet and exercise program.
But here’s what you should know: Although it’s easy to be tempted by the “quick fix” claims of dietary supplements marketed for weight loss or appetite suppression, most of these products haven’t been proven safe or effective. Many have been associated with severe — even fatal — side effects in some cases.
Many people have a misperception that herbal or traditional products — and those that are “natural” — are safe to use. Still, research has shown that many of these products carry the same dangers as pharmaceutical agents. For example:
- Some supplements can interact with blood thinners, radiation therapy, or prescription medications.
- Some interact with many drugs and might cause allergic reactions or severe side effects in people taking certain medications.
- Using Yohimbe and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) prescribed for depression has resulted in death, apparently from the potentiation of this effect.
The bottom line is that you should ask yourself whether it makes sense to spend money on weight-loss dietary supplements to lose weight when there are safer ways to improve your health and manage your weight. You’ll find that healthy changes to your diet combined with other forms of physical activity make more nutritious choices more accessible, not more difficult.
Weight loss supplements are not natural; they might even be more dangerous than prescription weight loss pills.
Weight loss supplements are not natural.
Most of them don’t work, and the companies that make them know this. Despite how useless their products tend to be, the industry makes billions each year. You will see hundreds of pills and potions if you visit a local pharmacy. Most do almost nothing, but they all sound great on television and at the checkout stand where employees may or may not even work for the company that makes these useless products. Some of these companies use expensive celebrity endorsements to sell junk. Others go so far as to claim their ingredients can help regulate your metabolism. There is no such thing as a pill that can magically burn fat or boost your metabolic rate without negative consequences such as increasing blood pressure or increasing heart rate, which can cause an increase in anxiety.
The fact is, there are no ‘magic’ weight loss supplements at all. You’ll find pills for this and potions for that, but nothing that works better than what you can buy at your local pharmacy or grocery store. What’s available may help you lose water weight but not fat because it doesn’t change your metabolism (which regulates how much fat your body stores). To keep the weight off, you will need to eat less, exercise more, and live a healthier lifestyle. Most companies do not want to tell you this vital information because it would mean they wouldn’t make any money if you were educated about how worthless these products indeed are.
There are no shortcuts when losing weight. The only way to reach your goal weight is to make lifestyle changes such as eating smaller portions and exercising regularly. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.
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