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Weight Loss Supplements: Do They Really Work?

written by: Courtney Kent • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 5/25/2011

Weight loss supplements claim to boost your fat shedding efforts. With so many out there, are there any that work better than others? This article looks at the natural, and scientific, ways to burn more fat, and become a healthier,not to mention sexier, you.

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    With obesity cited as an epidemic, and so many people struggling to regain their health, it is no wonder that the market has been flooded with weight loss supplements. There are now so many options to choose from, it is important to be well equipped with information before you head off to the store, as supplements has become a much-generalized term for the many products that claim to speed your journey to a hot body.

    These supplements all make different claims as to what they can do for you. Some examples are:

    • Block fats and carbohydrates from being processed by your body
    • Boost your metabolism
    • Curb your appetite

    A common factor is in the ingredients used to produce most weight loss aids. Most commercially available products rely on complexes of B vitamins, caffeine, and bitter orange extract.

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    Image:Kittikun Atsawintarangkul
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    Which Supplements Are Effective?

    • Endoburn NT - This particular product is made by a company called BSN, short for Body Science Nutrition. BSN is a major player in supplements designed especially for competitive athletes and bodybuilders. Those who have tried Endoburn, and ventured to comment on their experiences, seem to be very happy with its effects. This weight loss booster is more suited to those who are already active, or those who wish to be more active, but are lacking the energy.
    • Lipo 6 - This fat burner, released in 2005, is another product popularized by the fitness and bodybuilding industry. For four years since its release, it was voted as the number one fat burner by a the popular bodybuilding website, BodyBuilding.com. That is quite an achievement with all the competition. I purchased this supplement to help me shed those last stubborn pounds after hearing all the hype. In my experience, I would say Lipo 6 is effective if you are active. Like all supplements, it is by no means a miracle worker.
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    These are only two of the many supplements available; however, they are from reputable companies and are a good place to start. You will notice, if you read the package, that the claims made are based on trials. Critics of weight loss supplements are quick to point out that the product's performance in any of these trails are based on subjects also are also eating healthy and exercising. This type of performance trail seems to be the standard in the weight loss industry, and some products found at your local drugstore will come with eating plans and exercise guidelines. Depending on the amount of weight you have to lose, you can almost guarantee restricting your food intake and adding exercise to your daily routine will shed some pounds. But was it as a result of the weight loss supplement or the dieting and exercising?

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    Boost Your Metabolism for Faster WeightlossDo you want to speed up your metabolism and see your body burn fat faster? Read on to get the inside scoop on how to get your weightloss efforts to pay off faster. That means you'll see results faster and get the body you've been working so hard for, you guessed it, faster!
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    Another factor to consider before purchasing any supplement, is the safety of many of these products has been under considerable scrutiny in the last couple of years. Many of the products labeled as herbal have not even been studied by the FDA. For instance, the common ingredient called bitter orange has similar effects to ephedra. For some people that could be fatal, as was witnessed when ephedra’s effects reared their ugly head. The bottom line for anyone who is considering trying any supplement is to be careful and consult your doctor. A physician can best determine if a product is safe for you to use, based on your personal medical history.

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    Image:Phanlop88, freedigitalphotos.net
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    Are There Natural Alternatives to Supplements?

    The alternative to using supplements would be to include more fat burning foods in your diet. These foods have various effects, similar to those stated above in reference to supplements. The big difference in this case is the foods are almost certainly safe for consumption. Some of the foods you should incorporate in your diet are:

    • Foods high in Vitamin C such as grapefruits and oranges. Vitamin C helps to break down fats and expel them from your body.
    • Spicy Chili Peppers, high in capsaicin. By ingesting these fiery little gems, you will speed up your metabolism and burn more calories.
    • Lean meats, an essential ingredient for weight loss. The body has to work harder to break them down, which means a calorie-burning boost for you!

    I again want to stress, exercise and proper nutrition are the best ways to reach your weight loss goals. Weight loss supplements used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle could help you reach your goals faster, but are definitely not a required element.

    The most important thing to remember is, before you make any extreme diet changes, start a workout plan, or take a weight loss supplement, you must see your doctor. That is the only way to be sure that you are healthy enough to embark on these changes. In addition, if you are already doing all that you can to lose weight, that is also a reason to see your doctor; there may be a medical reason why you are not getting results.

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    Sources:

    Zeratsky, Karherine, R.D, L.D. "Is bitter orange safe and effective for weightloss?", http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Bodybuilding.com, http://www.bodybuilding.com

    BSN, http://www.bsnonline.net

    Nutrex.com, http://www.nutrex.com

    FDA: Food and Drug Administration, http://www.fda.gov

    Images: Spoons and Vitamins, Kittikun Atsawintarangkul, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1671

    Dumbells, Phanlop88, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2042