Doctor's Tips for Choosing Weight Loss Products
||By Dr. Matthew Marturano, Naturopathic Physician
Friday, October 19, 2012
|Best Weight Loss Supplements
Along with the sexual enhancement and muscle-building categories, weight loss supplements are among those which face the most challenges when it comes to false claims and adulteration. The high demand for a "quick fix" has created the perfect storm for certain unethical and illegal practices to gain a toehold within the dietary supplement industry.
However, it's important to remember any products identified as such represent only a tiny fraction of those available and most supplement manufacturers would never risk their hard-earned reputation to make a fast buck on a fad weight loss supplement. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to keep the following ideas in mind when making purchases.
Do your research on a brand before purchasing anything. One of the most common misconceptions about the dietary supplement industry is that it's not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the FDA is authorized to regulate dietary supplements, and there's an entire section of federal regulations which govern their manufacturing process to ensure dietary supplements are safe for public consumption. However, these regulations are different from "conventional" foods, prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The FDA also regulates the types of claims that can be made by the manufacturers of dietary supplements in regard to health benefits and function.
Reputable dietary supplement manufacturers have extensive quality control and quality assurance systems in place along with an entire staff dedicated to ensuring their products are free from contamination or adulteration from the moment raw ingredients arrive in the plant to the time the final product leaves the warehouse. All of this takes money and, for this reason, products from reputable companies often cost more than their fly-by-night competitors.
Natural Is Usually Better
Generally speaking, ingredients found in nature tend to have less side effects than synthetic forms. However, it's important to understand that just because something is "natural" doesn't necessarily mean it's safe. If a natural substance has the power to alter the body's metabolism for good, then the potential also exists to cause harm. Both natural and synthetic supplement ingredients may also interfere with certain medications, particularly blood-thinners like Coumadin.
Generally safe natural ingredients include:
Chromium Picolinate -- Chromium picolinate is a well-studied weight loss ingredient that's been found to have effects on the metabolism of all three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) -- CLA has also been found to decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass. It's sometimes combined with chromium picolinate for a synergistic response.
What to Avoid
Products that contain ephedra should generally be avoided since this ingredient is associated with seizures, heart attack, irregular heartbeat and even rare cases of sudden death. Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate acid (GHB) is a naturally occurring substance that's known to have dangerous side effects. It's also known as the "date rape drug."
There are also many ingredients that may cause side effects and should be taken in moderation under a physician’s supervision. For example, bitter orange, yohimbe, germander and guar gum are just a few ingredients commonly used in diet pills. It’s important to ask a qualified doctor about proper dosages and if any health conditions are present that could be negatively affected by consuming these ingredients. Keep in mind most doctors receive little to no training in the use of dietary supplements and are prone to cautioning against all of them. Always be sure to consult with a doctor who has training and expertise in the questions at hand.
While there is no magic pill for weight loss and most likely never will be, proper use of dietary supplements can make a diet and exercise program more effective. There are many safe weight loss products available, and many of them are GMP-certified (good manufacturing practice) through the Natural Products Association (NPA). All it takes is careful research and the right professional support to find the product that will work the best for your body and goals.
Products you may like:
Now Foods CLA
Why you may like this product? This omega-6 fatty acid helps
reduce body fat and increase
lean muscle mass. This
supplement from Now provides
2.4 g of CLA per serving and
can be taken twice a day to
help you shed extra pounds and
develop a leaner physique.
Now Foods Chromium Picolinate
Why you may like this product? Manage you blood glucose
levels with chromium
picolinate. This supplement
helps the body metabolize
fats, carbohydrates and
proteins more efficiently to
help the body produce more
energy and reign in cravings