Are Weight Loss Supplements Really Effective?

It seems like there is always a “new” way being touted to lose weight in the form of a diet pill. Dietary or weight loss supplements is a $2.4 billion industry in the United States. Since 1 in 3 U.S. adults are obese (having a body mass index over 30), is it surprising that over half of Americans take weight loss supplements?

Do they work? Are they effective? Are they safe? Are there any side effects? There are many questions that must be thought of when talking about something not approved by the Food and Drug Administration — which most dietary supplements are not.

Here To Stay

In fact, Oregon State University researched hundreds of weight loss supplements in a clinical trial, finding that most of them provided little if any benefit for losing weight when users made no lifestyle changes.

The trial found that most of the dietary weight loss pills belong to one of the following categories:

  • Chitosan, which blocks absorption of fat or carbohydrates
  • Stimulants, such as caffeine or ephedra, which speed up metabolism
  • Products like conjugated linoleic acid that claim to change the body composition by decreasing fat
  • Appetite suppressants, such as soluble fibers

Abusing these types of weight loss supplements can pose serious health threats, especially for people with certain medical conditions like heart conditions or diabetes, or pregnant or breastfeeding women.  

Results did show that these types of pills aided in weight loss a little when participants made healthy changes to their diet or increased their exercise.  

Vitamins for Weight Loss

Only green tea, fiber and low-fat dairy supplements were shown to help with modest weight loss compared to placebo groups in the study. Here are some other vitamins that may help with weight loss:

  •  Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) — increases and maintains metabolic rate
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) — burns fat and carbohydrates
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) — processes fat efficiently
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) — regulates thyroid and metabolism hormones 
  • Vitamin C — helps suppress hunger

Although these vitamins can assist with weight loss, taking too many of them will not help to lose weight fast, so follow the directions. Eating the proper number of meals each day, eating healthy foods and exercising while taking these vitamins will ultimately provide the best weight loss results.

Have you ever tried weight loss supplements? What was your experience?

Resources: CBC News, Vitamins Health

Photo credit: cybertoad

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