If you check out the weight loss section at your local health food store or vitamin shop you will find no shortage of supplements marketed as fat loss aids. There are fat burners, carb blockers, appetite suppressants, metabolism boosters and vitamin blends; all of which claim to help melt away body fat. The million dollar question is; do any of these supplements actually work? The answer to this question is not so clear cut.
Most fat burning blends have a long list of fancy-sounding ingredients in addition to the tried and true stimulant, caffeine. The companies that produce and market fat burners often site clinical research that supports the efficacy of these other ingredients, but in truth, the amounts included in a serving are often insufficient to provide any benefit. At the end of the day, consumers are paying $30 to $60 for a bottle of caffeine pills. If you go to the pharmacy you will find “No Doz” caffeine tablets or a generic version for around $5. The bottom line; the math on fat burners just does not add up.
There are many natural supplements that claim to have appetite suppressing effects, but the overwhelming consensus is that only the prescription strength appetite suppressants get the job done. However, there are two ways to suppress the appetite without visiting your doctor and risking the potential side effects that come with pharmaceutical strength medications; caffeine and a low carbohydrate diet. Caffeine has well established (but mild) appetite suppressing effects, and a low carbohydrate diet keeps blood sugar steady, which blunts the appetite and prevents cravings.
Meal replacement products particularly those high in protein and essential fatty acids and low in carbohydrates are one type of fat loss supplement that actually works. Preparing healthy, balanced meals is tedious and time consuming, and being able to whip up a quick protein shake or eat a protein bar is much more convenient. However, not all meal replacements are created equal. For best results, choose one that contains 20 or more grams of protein per serving and fewer than five grams of sugar and 12 grams of fat per serving. Also, look for high-quality whey or milk protein in the list of ingredients. These products are great when you have to eat on the go or grab a quick breakfast on your way out the door.
Carb and Fat Blockers
These supplements were very heavily marketed for a number of years, but have proven to be largely ineffective. The claim was that they would bind with dietary fats or carbohydrates and prevent them from being digested. However, research showed that the effect was far too minimal to be significant. There are still a few of these products out there (white bean extract, chitosan), but they are not worth your time or money.
If you are serious about weight loss, begin an effective regimen, clean up your diet and choose a quality meal replacement product for occasions when you do not have time to cook at home.