One thing is for sure when you’re trying to lose weight – there are plenty of diet supplement products out there claiming they can help you lose more weight than diet and exercise alone. But, most of these claims are unfounded since there is no scientific research to support them. It’s important to know exactly what you’re taking, so I took the time to find clinical studies supporting the ingredients that work, so you can make the right choice for your needs.
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Diet Supplement 101
A diet supplement is any ingredient or formula of ingredients that claims to support your weight-loss efforts. These may work by suppressing your appetite so you don’t feel as hungry and can comfortably eat less, by increasing your metabolism so you burn more calories, or using both approaches. You can find out everything you need to know by looking at the list of active ingredients.
Commonly Used Diet Supplement Ingredients
Caffeine is everywhere in the modern American diet and comes with plenty of research to support its metabolism boosting ability. Research from the International Sports Science Association shows caffeine works by increasing fatty acid metabolism and decreasing glucose metabolism during exercise.
Nearly all of the B vitamins work to help increase energy and metabolism to burn more calories, while also working to suppress your appetite so you eat less.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea is widely praised for its ability to boost metabolism, but studies show it takes more than drinking a cup a day to get results. Because it would take six to seven cups per day to get the clinically proven dose, many opt to take it in supplement form. A meta-analysis of many studies, published in the International Journal of Obesity shows, “Catechins or an epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)–caffeine mixture have a small positive effect on WL [weight-loss] and WM [weight maintenance].”
A cactus plant that claims to suppress the appetite, Hoodia is more hype than effective. A molecule in the plant may work on the brain to curb hunger, but science is limited, and results are inconclusive.
This fiber absorbs water to artificially fill the stomach and suppress appetite. It may also help reduce cholesterol. As the American diet is often lacking in fiber, increasing fiber intake is critical for weight management.
Are Diet Supplements Effective?
Generally, yes. It depends on the quality and the ingredients found in the diet supplement as to how well it will work to give you the weight-loss results you are looking for. While many diet supplements don’t have clinical research to support the entire formula, you can look at the individual ingredients and the research behind them to get the potential of the supplement. Some will only have a minimal effect, while others will have a stronger effect. Diet supplements are always more effective when combined with a sensible diet and exercise program.