What You Should Know Before Taking Supplements to Lose WeightPosted on: April 14, 2018
If you’ve been thinking about taking supplements to lose weight, you might also have wondered if this is a good idea. While there are hundreds of these products on the market, not all of them are safe or effective. Taking supplements to lose weight is something that you need to consider very seriously.
The desire to lose weight quickly is one that most dieters have in common. For this reason, supplements designed to aid in and/or manage weight loss are hugely appealing to those who want to shed extra pounds. Of course, not all weight loss supplements are created equal. Furthermore, even those that are safe to take might not provide you with the results you’re hoping for.
Before Taking Supplements to Lose Weight You Want To Do The Following:
Have Realistic Expectations
First things first, never forget that there is no magic supplement that will lead to fast fat loss. Time and again, studies have shown that the most effective way to lose weight and prevent it from returning is to eat a healthy low-calorie diet and regularly engage in physical activity.
That being said, taking supplements to lose weight may help you reach your weight loss goals. For instance, some products may give you a boost of energy, which could help you stay on top of your exercise goals. Some supplements may also help to curb your appetite, which could make it easier for you to stick to eating fewer calories.
Nevertheless, weight management supplements should only be thought of as tools that help with weight loss. Moreover, they should always be used in conjunction with a healthy low-calorie diet and regular exercise. Supplements should never replace these conventional weight loss efforts. Regardless of what claims may exist about a product or how much it might be endorsed by a celebrity, doctor, etc., taking supplements to lose weight will not lead to miracle weight loss.
Research for Supplements is Limited
Something else to keep in mind when taking supplements to lose weight is that there’s little research to backup claims regarding their safety and efficacy. Unlike prescription weight loss drugs, the herbs and other ingredients in supplements have not been extensively studied to determine just how safe or effective they are for fat loss.
Even in the case of prescription weight loss medications, research has shown that although prescription drugs for treating obesity may be beneficial, they do not work for everyone and the benefits may be modest. This is worth noting if after taking supplements to lose weight you are considering trying prescription medication.
More specifically, on average, long-term clinical trials of prescription weight loss drugs have shown that when participants make appropriate lifestyle changes, these drugs increase the likelihood of achieving enough weight loss to lower the risk of certain diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, etc.), within one year. Still, as is the case when taking supplements to lose weight, possible side effects and adverse reactions to drugs for obesity treatment can affect how well a person might respond to these medications.
The bottom line is researchers are still learning about the benefits of weight loss drugs. More importantly, they know even less about the potential benefits and risks of over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss products. Taking supplements to lose weight is not a clinically proven method for weight loss.
There’s More Than One Type of OTC Weight Loss Treatment
Essentially, there are two general categories under which OTC weight loss products are classified:
• Nonprescription drugs
• Dietary Supplements
There are different regulation standards for each category. Just like prescription medications, nonprescription drugs need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug company behind the product must provide the FDA with results from clinical (human) trials that show the safety and effectiveness of the drug at its nonprescription dose.
This isn’t the case for dietary supplements. If you’re taking supplements to lose weight, you should know that manufacturers of these products can make claims about them that are not subject to FDA review or approval. What’s more, research that is provided to support claims can vary in terms of its quality.
Due to this fact, it can be difficult to make informed decisions about products when you’re debating taking supplements to lose weight.
Look for Clinical Evidence to Support Weight Loss Supplement Claims
You’ve probably come across a dietary supplement that claims to be “clinically proven” to cause weight loss. As good as this sounds, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. Saying something is “clinically proven”, offers no details about the clinical research.
The Mayo Clinic gave an example of this type of claim when discussing claims about raspberry ketone supplements. This may be something you might find of interest if you were thinking about taking supplements to lose weight that contained raspberry ketones.
Supplements containing raspberry ketones are often marketed as being “clinically proven,” natural weight loss products. However, as of December 2017, only one clinical trial involving this substance has ever been published. Moreover, the eight-week trial didn’t study the effects of raspberry ketones alone. The supplement studied contained multiple ingredients, including raspberry ketone, caffeine, bitter orange, garlic root extract, ginger root extract and other herbs, minerals and vitamins.
Seventy obese adults took part in the trial and were randomly assigned a placebo or the supplement. Only forty-five participants completed the full eight-week trial. Among those who completed the trial, the ones taking supplements to lose weight lost an average of 4.2 pounds. Comparatively, the average weight loss in the placebo group was 0.9 pounds.
While it can be said the weight loss in the treatment group was modest, the trial was not long enough to know if the supplement will actually help with weight loss over the long term. More importantly, the supplement included multiple ingredients. This makes it impossible to determine which ingredients did, in fact, help those taking supplements to lose weight, shed pounds.
“All-Natural” Doesn’t Mean Safe
Aside from not knowing how effective weight loss supplements are, limited research also makes it hard to know just how safe they are. This is why taking supplements to lose weight can sometimes be dangerous. It’s a common misconception that simply because a product is natural, this means that it is safe. This is untrue, regardless of what the makers behind the product might claim.
For example, the herbal stimulant Ephedra (ma-huang) was widely used in weight loss supplements before it was deemed unsafe and banned. Even though it is “all-natural”, taking supplements to lose weight containing this herb, was leading to serious and life-threatening adverse effects. Among these included mood changes, irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, stroke, seizure and heart attacks.
Bitter orange (citrus aurantium) is another popular weight loss supplement ingredient that may also be unsafe. Although it is not banned, this herb is considered to be the ephedra substitute. This reason is the chemical properties of bitter orange and its actions are similar to ephedra. As such, taking supplements to lose weight that contain bitter orange may lead to similar adverse effects. More research needs to be conducted on this herb to discover just how safe it is.
Do Your Homework Before You Buy
You can’t simply place your trust in the claims that you read about the products that interest you. You need to conduct your own research, as well. There are different places online where you can learn about dietary supplements and their ingredients. The Office of Dietary Supplements, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and WebMD are great places to start.
Also, don’t forget that the research you conduct before taking supplements to lose weight is about investigating the best possible ingredients. Understanding more about the ingredients in diet pills that work, will help you to know if they are right for you.
Your Doctor Should Know about Your Weight loss Plans
Prior to taking supplements to lose weight, you should inform your doctor about your plans. Simply because you do not require a prescription, does not mean that you shouldn’t seek the advice of your healthcare provider. Seeking the advice of a medical expert can help you in your quest to obtain the best possible support and treatment to achieve optimal weight loss results.
Consulting with your doctor is especially vital if you have health problems, are currently taking any medication or are pregnant, breast feeding or planning to become pregnant. Taking supplements to lose weight can sometimes negatively interact with other medications or supplements you might be taking. They may also make certain medical conditions worse.
Ultimately, if taking supplements to lose weight is your plan, take every precaution available to improve your chances of benefiting from the experience.