Does any weight loss supplement actually work? Here's what experts say
Obesity is a big problem these days, so some people are turning to weight loss supplements to try to lose weight. However, do any of them really work? Let’s take a look at this subject via the subject matter experts’ advice and information.
First, what exactly are weight loss supplements? They are not medications, and are sold over the counter. They are touted as something that burns fat, gives you more energy, or to build muscle, and other ways of helping the person to lose weight. They are a big business, and in 2020 people bought over six billion dollars’ worth of weight loss supplements.
The facts are that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate them and they don’t have to pass any sort of tests, except to ensure they don’t contain any contaminants and are labeled correctly. However, the FDA can impose warnings against them if they make inaccurate claims and could ask them to take one off the market. For instance, Ephedra used to be touted highly to help people lose weight, but now it is banned because it was seen to cause problems with blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, irregular heartrates, and seizures.
One thing to know is weight loss supplement manufacturers almost never do any sort of trials to make sure their products work. Even if they do, it could be based on a single study, i.e. like raspberry ketones, for example. There has only been one study and it only involved 70 obese people who were put on a restricted diet and randomly given either the raspberry ketones or a placebo for eight weeks. Only 45 of these folks even finished the trial, and out of that they only lost a little over four pounds for the ones who took the real pill and less than one pound for the others.
Some think these supplements are totally safe because they are natural, but that isn’t always true. And since they aren’t regulated, in the past they have even found some contained unstated ingredients or even traces of prescription medication, which could be quite harmful to some people.
If you are considering trying a weight loss supplement to lose weight, you should always read up on it prior to using it, as well as speak to a doctor about it. There are credible websites out there that you can trust to give you real info, such as the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s site.
The truth is that several studies have been done on popular weight loss supplements ed and very few people showed any weight loss or it was less than a pound on average. One such study was printed in the Obesity Trusted Source journal which found most supplements didn’t result in the people losing large amounts of weight like the pills claimed would occur.
The researchers went over more than 300 clinical trials involving weight loss supplements and determined most of them were very biased. The study followed 12 popular supplements, to include: calcium and vitamin D, chromium, chitosan, chocolate or cocoa, caffeine and ephedra, green tea, guar gum, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), pyruvate, phenylpropylamine
and phaseolus. They concluded that unless a person changes their lifestyle, then they rarely lost a substantial amount of weight using these supplements.
Another such study on weight loss supplements was conducted in Australia in which they examined 121 studies. They concluded the pills didn’t help the recipients loss a meaningful amount of weight, and most lost less than five and a half pounds.
Studies such as the ones above show that the majority of weight loss supplements are likely not going to help someone lose enough weight to make them worthwhile. The only pills likely to help someone lose weight are those given by a doctor and approved by the FDA. Some of the approved prescription medications for obesity are: orlistat (Alli and Xenical), naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave), phentermine-topirate (Qsymia), semaglutide (Wegovy) and liragludtide (Saxendra).
Plus, the safety of over the counter weight loss supplements has been questioned as well, especially after what happened with Ephedra, as mentioned earlier. Here is some info on some of the popular types of weight loss supplements and their possible dangers:
Fat Trappers – These usually have a product called chitosan, which is made from crushed up shells of shrimp, crab and other shellfish. It is supposed to bind the fat in the foods people eat and keep that from getting digested. Studies show it does that to a small extent, but that it could keep you from absorbing vitamins your body needs like vitamins A and D. You shouldn’t take them for more than 3 months and should talk to a doctor prior to using them.
Fat Burners – These usually contain some sort of stimulant like caffeine or epherdrine as well as they could be stacked with aspirin, and contain a mix of ingredients like chromium picolinate, hydroxycitric acid and pyruvate. They are supposed to give the recipient more energy to burn fat and lose weight. They do work to some extent, according to studies, but they also can be dangerous as they raise the blood pressure and have caused issues like heart attacks, strokes and raised heartrates, according to several studies.
Even when the weight loss supplements seem to work, they are usually expensive to maintain for long periods of time, and going on a diet and exercising is more efficient and a lot cheaper. Additionally, weight loss fraud is fast becoming the leading type of scams in the US. The FDA is working to take the ones off the market that are mislabeled, contain contaminants, or are tainted. So, if you are considering using them, it’s best to talk to a doctor and get proper advice on eating a nutritional diet and doing exercise at least three times a week.
Here’s our top 3 weight loss supplements in the market today:
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