Weight loss medications and supplements are usually frowned upon because they are regarded as a shortcut to weight loss. More importantly, they are seen as an ineffective weight loss shortcut that can actually be counterproductive. This is because there are a number of diet pills and weight loss pills in the market that contain questionable ingredients. However, this doesn’t mean that all weight loss supplements are bad or ineffective. After all, there are a number of nutrients, plant-based compounds or phytonutrients, and other organic ingredients that can aid weight loss when combined with a sustainable diet and exercise routine. These supplements don’t always promote weight loss directly, but they can support other bodily functions like digestion, appetite regulation, metabolism, and blood sugar regulation, thereby making it easier to lose weight.
So, if you’re looking for quick fixes or weight loss shortcuts that will allow you to bypass having to eat healthily and exercise, you will be disappointed. However, if you’re ready to make a commitment to healthy eating and exercise, these natural supplements will make it a little bit easier for you to reach your weight loss goals.
Supplements for Weight Loss
Whey protein isn’t usually thought of as a weight loss supplement as it is most strongly associated with bodybuilding and muscle growth. In truth, whey protein can also be used to promote weight loss as was demonstrated in a study that appeared in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (1). They recorded a weight loss of about 4.5 kilos in individuals after adding whey protein to their diet.
Whey protein works by suppressing your appetite and reducing feelings of hunger. At the same time, it aids muscle growth and this affects weight loss too. Muscles require more energy and a higher metabolic rate as compared to fat, so when body fat is replaced with muscle mass, it also boosts metabolism and fat burning. Additionally, protein requires more energy for digestion, so your body burns more calories when breaking it down.
The only downside to supplementing with whey protein is that you can end up gaining weight if your protein shakes are calorie dense and you aren’t keeping track of calorie intake.
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Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit that is native to Indonesia, but it became a global sensation after US celebrity doctor, Dr. Oz promoted it on his show. The fruit has been the subject of several studies, which lend credence to its weight loss benefits. The skin of the pumpkin-shaped fruit has been found to contain hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is believed to be the main source of its health benefits.
Some research suggests that garcinia cambogia extract can have an inhibiting effect on fat-producing enzymes, restricting fat buildup in the body (2). At the same time, it has also been found to boost levels of serotonin, improving your mood, and reducing food cravings (3). This is precisely why garcinia cambogia extract is now a standard ingredient in some of the best weight loss supplements.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
Green coffee beans may sound exotic, but they are regular coffee beans that simply haven’t been roasted. The fat burning and weight loss benefits of green coffee beans are linked to their caffeine content and chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid cannot be obtained from regular coffee, as roasting destroys it. The reason why green coffee bean extract is so effective as a weight loss aid is because caffeine boosts fat burning, while chlorogenic acid slows the breakdown of carbs.
The weight loss benefits of green coffee bean extract have been highlighted in several studies, with a review that appeared in Gastroenterology Research and Practice pointing out that supplementation increased weight loss by about 2.5 kg (4). The addition of green coffee bean extract in supplements for weight loss can also yield other benefits as it is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to help with blood sugar regulation, which can again aid appetite control.
L-carnitine is another popular diet supplement as the compound plays a role in energy metabolism in almost all mammals, humans included. It helps transport fatty acids into cells’ mitochondria, so that they can be utilized as an energy source. This in turn aids weight loss. Of course, this is an oversimplification, as the actual mechanism of action is a lot more complex.
Nevertheless, evidence from a review of several studies suggests that L-carnitine supplementation can increase weight loss in obese and older adults by as much as 1.3 kg (5). Some of the benefits of L-carnitine are also thought to be indirect and may require long term supplementation for visible gains. These include enhanced exercise recovery, improved muscle oxygen supply, reduced muscle soreness, and so on.
We are often so fixated on exotic and less expensive solutions that we tend to overlook some of the simplest choices. Fiber supplements like psyllium husk can be extremely effective as a dietary supplement to help lose weight as it is 70 percent soluble fiber. The supplement forms a viscous mix in the gut that slows gastric emptying, reduces appetite, and prevents food cravings, all of which results in improved weight loss.
Although psyllium husk is primarily used as a digestive aid to relieve constipation and diarrhea, studies show that fiber supplements like psyllium are effective at promoting healthy and sustainable weight loss (6). The downside to fiber supplements is that some people may experience bloating, gas, and other digestive symptoms.
Weight loss supplements like these can give you an edge, especially when you’re dealing with stubborn fat or when you hit a weight loss plateau. Just make sure that you’re buying your supplements from a trusted source, as there are many diet pills that contain dangerous chemical ingredients. In fact, some prescription weight loss medications like lorcaserin have actually been recalled because of possible links to cancer. This is one more reason why it’s best to stick with natural supplements like garcinia cambogia and green coffee bean extract.
Most importantly, keep in mind that there are no shortcuts to weight loss. Although the weight loss supplements listed here are among the most effective, they are not meant to be used as a substitute for healthy eating and exercise. Instead, you can use these supplements to support your weight loss program for greater gains and enhanced weight loss.