I already explained in another post that there is no magic weight loss pill. There isn't a substitute for good, clean eating and exercise. That being said, there are many, many products on the market that claim to help with fat loss. Are they all lying, or is there some truth to their claims?
Fat blockers are one of the ways fat burning supplements claim to rid the body of fat. The supplements are usually made from a shellfish derivative called chitosan. Chitosan enters the body, binds to the fat in the food a person has eaten, and keeps it from being absorbed by the body. There are two downsides to this method. First, fat blockers can also prevent the body from absorbing nutrients it needs. Second, that bound fat still needs to leave the body, which it often does in the form of stomach pain and diarrhea. (source: FitDay.com)
Appetite is suppressed by manipulating the body’s chemicals and hormones to trick the brain into feeling full. Suppressants that take away general hunger are called noradrenergic drugs. These drugs are often cousins of amphetamines, and work by triggering fight-or-flight hormones than interrupt the body’s hunger signals to the brain. The other class of suppressants, which are designed to make you feel fuller quicker, work by manipulating serotonin reuptake. The idea is to trigger a sense of well-being that distracts you from the need to eat more. Negative side affects of these drugs vary from a nervous feeling to heart attacks. They also tend to lose their effectiveness as more weight is lost. (source: FitDay.com)
Artificially increasing the human body’s metabolism, or the speed in which it breaks down and uses nutrients, is a long established method of weight loss. One of the most common drugs used to do this is caffeine. When the body is stimulated by caffeine, it releases hormones into the bloodstream to cue a quickening of metabolism. These hormones are not in infinite supply, and constant stimulation can change the body’s ability to regulate itself and its weight. Overuse of metabolism stimulants can also have the opposite of the desired effect, causing the metabolism to slow down in self-preservation. This is one of the reasons caffeine based fat burners do not maintain effectiveness over a long period of time. (source: FitDay.com)
When you exercise, you naturally increase your body's core temperature, thus boosting your metabolism naturally. Thermogenic fat burners cause your body temperature to increase in a similar fashion, whether or not you are exercising. WebMD considers just about every herbal weight loss supplement to be a thermogenic fat burner. (source: weighttraining.com)
According to Women's Health Magazine, specific vitamins and nutrients can actually help to flip an internal switch that signals cells throughout your body to burn more calories, wasting many of those calories as heat. Without these important nutrients, the opposite happens.
Do They Work?
The good news is that yes, many products and food-based nutrients can help with fat loss. The bad news is, you need to be eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising for them to help. You can't just sit around eating pizza in front of the TV, pop a few pills and expect to see any results. If you're already committed to eating right and exercising, then some supplements can help you lose weight more effectively.
Are They Safe?
This is probably a better question. You really need to do your own homework on both the product and the manufacturer to tell for sure. Children, the elderly, persons with heart and kidney conditions and nursing or pregnant women should avoid taking any type of supplement that can radically increase metabolism. Thermogenic fat burners definitely fall into this category. Before taking a thermogenic fat burner, you should be certain that you are in a good state of health. Chest pains, shortness of breath and signs of dehydration should be reported to your primary health practitioner immediately, even if you have stopped taking the thermogenic fat burner. (source: weighttraining.com)
Fat burning supplements can have some small effects on weight loss. Some authorities claim that these types of supplements can safely be used in small amounts, and they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss. But the means the drugs employ to do so involve manipulating the body’s natural processes, sometimes to a severe degree. Side effects are to be expected, and the truth is those side affects range from uncomfortable to fatal. Anyone with any sort of pre-existing heart, hormonal or digestive condition should seriously consider avoiding fat burning supplements. For other people, it remains a personal choice, but one that should be made with a certain degree of wariness. (source: FitDay.com)
For long-term, healthy weight loss, eating the right kinds of foods and nutrients like those I mentioned above are the best course. And regular exercise. You don't want to be one of the people who take the next magic pill only to find out years later that it's been proven to do heart damage, for example.
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