The overweight are always looking for ways to help improve the success of their weight loss efforts. We all know that diet and exercise are critical to losing weight and keeping it off, but finding ways to help us burn those extra calories is certainly welcome.
There have been many substances reported to be effective in helping lose weight faster and easier. But, do any of them actually work? Well, that's just the question that one review attempted to answer.
An article published in Obesity Reviews evaluated conjugated linoleic acid, diglycerides, medium-chain triglycerides, green tea, ephedrine, caffeine, capsaicin and calcium for their ability to speed weight loss by increasing the metabolism, inhibiting fat absorption or some other mechanism. In addition, this review evaluated the feasibility of actually using the substance as a weight loss supplement. The following details some of the substances that were reviewed in this article.
Conjugated linoleic acid
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a term for a group of geometric and positional isomers of octadecadienoic acid (linoleic acid) that occur naturally in food. The primary dietary sources of CLA are animal-based products like meat and dairy products. In animals, CLA has been shown to reduce body fat and increase lean body mass, particularly in mice. However, study results in humans have produced inconsistent results.
Calcium and dairy products have gained a great deal of attention in the last few years for the possibility that they may be instrumental in helping to lose weight. There have been several significant studies that suggest that when people reduce their overall calorie intake, while increasing their intake of dairy products, they lose more weight than when restricting calories alone. Studies have also shown that, in general, people who consume low fat dairy products daily tend to weigh less and have less body fat than those who do not.
But what about people who use supplements rather than dairy products to increase their calcium intake? Different studies have produced different results in some cases; however, it appears that the most effective way to use calcium to help with weight loss is through dietary dairy calcium, rather than through calcium supplements alone. Because of this, researchers believe that it is not solely the calcium that helps with weight loss, but some combination of calcium and another substance in the dairy products.
If you're aiming to increase your calcium intake to help promote weight loss, it is suggested that you consume at least 1400 mg of calcium daily.
Ephedrine and Caffeine
In recent years, there have been a multitude of weight loss supplements on the market that contained a combination of ephedrine and caffeine. These supplements were shown to be effective in increasing your metabolic rate.
However, ephedrine has been banned in the US because it was found to be unsafe. Many users have reported dangerous side effects from the use of ephedrine; including death from heart failure. Therefore, regardless of its effectiveness, using ephedrine for weight loss is not realistic.
Caffeine, however likely has some effect on the metabolism on its own. In many studies, people who consumed caffeine have been shown to lose more weight than those who did not consume caffeine, when placed on the same low calorie diet. In addition, studies have shown that caffeine drinkers tend to weigh less than those who never consume caffeine.
The problem with caffeine alone is that since most of us consume caffeine whether or not we're trying to lose weight, it may have little effect on its own when we go on a diet. If we're already consuming caffeine, we may need to increase the amount we consume significantly in order to see our bodies respond to it. Increasing your caffeine intake too dramatically can cause sleeplessness, jitters and increased heart rate and blood pressure, so this may make it unfeasible.
Green tea has been shown in many studies to increase metabolism, lower cholesterol levels, burn fat and inhibit the absorption of dietary fat. Part of green tea's magic comes from the fact that it contains caffeine, but this is not its only weight loss property.
Green tea is a potent source of anti-oxidants, which is believed to be part of the reason that it seems to help burn fat. Green tea's anti-oxidants are some of the most powerful found in any food, and they seem to help the body burn fat and reduce the amount of dietary fat that turns into body fat.
Green tea can be an effective weight loss supplement, and has virtually no side effects. In addition, green tea offers many health benefits. Green tea has been shown to lower cholesterol and prevent many diseases like heart disease and cancer. So, green tea is one weight loss supplement that can be added to your diet with the knowledge that it's an overall healthy dietary change.
So, as you can see, there are many products that may have some effect on your ability to lose weight. Each person's body is different, and for this reason, supplements may affect each person differently. As long as a supplement is safe, there's no reason not to try it to see if it works for you. If you do find a supplement that's effective, you're one step closer to achieving your weight loss goals, and with less effort, as well.