There is no magic pill for weight loss

Without a doubt, weight loss is one of the greatest challenges faced by those working in the health industry. No matter how one tackles the issue, there will always be the allure of the quick fix in a society that is accustomed to seeking simple answers to complex questions. Weight loss supplements abound on the Internet. All promise to deliver results.

Do any of them work? The simple answer is yes and no! There are no supplements that will safely overcome lousy eating and lifestyle habits no matter how hard we want them to.

Having said that there are few key ingredients in some of these products that will assist in directing you towards a leaner profile. The following are those which have been shown to safely increase fat burning and metabolism.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA):
CLA directs fats away from storage in fat cells while also increasing fat burning in the skeletal muscle. CLA is naturally present in dairy products and beef, (however the animals need to be grass fed to have any appreciable amount of CLA). The ideal candidate should have at least 3 inches of abdominal fat or 15lbs of excess weight, otherwise this may not be the right supplement for you. The dosage required is 1500 mg two times per day before meals for at least 3 months.

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA):
HCA is derived from a fruit from India called Garcinia Cambogia. Research has found that it helps to prevent the conversion of carbohydrates into fat by inhibiting an enzyme. The hormone insulin is a signal for fat storage; HCA helps reduce the secretion of insulin in response to glucose. HCA may also help reduce appetite.

Citrus Auranticum:
This is a natural stimulant derived from bitter orange. It acts as an effective fat-burner and metabolic stimulant without the negative consequences associated with ephedra-type products. It works by acting directly on fat receptors, increasing their breakdown. Auranticum may also suppress hunger. The dosage required is an extract of 4% synephrine in a 500 mg capsule, 30 minutes before each meal three times per day.

Green tea:
Recent studies has found that the catechins (particularly EGCG), the antioxidant in green tea, help increase fat burning and reduce the risk of cancer, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Green tea may lower blood sugars by inhibiting enzymes that allow the absorption of starches and may decrease the absorption of fat from the intestine. Green tea also contains theanine which has a calming effect on the body while increasing energy. Typical dosage is three or four cups per day or a 300 to 400 mg capsule of green tea extract daily. Make sure that the product you are taking contains at least 390mg of the active EGCG component in your daily dosage.

There are many products that will combine some or all of these ingredients to provide a synergistic effect. Make sure that the product you are using provides standardized amounts of the active components. Remember the key hormone driving the fat gaining process is insulin. Western diets are typically high insulin releasing ones. Controlling blood sugar becomes crucial for anyone trying to manage their weight. Making sure that your food choices are drawn mainly from those with a low glycemic index and/or a low glycemic load will go a long way towards making any weight loss strategy a success.

Mario Alonzi, B.Sc., Manager of the Nature’s Source store in Mississauga