It is a popular saying that ‘one cannot be too rich or too thin,’ and who amongst us can deny the lure of nutritional dietary supplements for instant weight loss. But the big question remains, do they work?
As usual there are some supporters of the concept, highlighting the advantages of dietary supplements in weight management, where as there are others who argue that these dietary supplements do nothing and at times can even be harmful.
So what should one do?
Let us begin by telling you about what dietary supplements actually mean. These are essential preparations meant to supply the nutrients, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids and fibre that the body misses upon through the daily diet. These dietary supplements are taken as food in some parts of the world, whereas they are labelled natural health products or drugs in other countries
Codex Alimentarius, is an organisation dedicated to collections of internationally required standards, guidelines, codes of practise and other recommendations relating to food, their production and safety. This organization is supported by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations and World Health Organizations (WHO).
Now-a-days the market is flooded by food supplements that claim instant and effective weight loss; these are different types of dietary supplements that claim to reduce weight by following different mechanisms. Given below is a list of weight loss dietary supplements together with their purported mechanism.
Supplements that increase the body’s energy expenditure: Ephedra, Bitter orange Guarana, Caffeine, Country mallow, Yerba mate, Modulate carbohydrate (Chromium, Ginseng)
Supplements that promote a feeling of satiety: Guar gum, Glucomannan, Psyllium, Increase fat oxidation or reduce fat synthesis (L-carnitine, Hydroxycitric acid, Green tea, Vitamin B5, Licorice, Conjugated linoleic acid, Pyruvate)
Supplements that have a blocking effect on dietary fat absorption: Chitosan, (Increase water elimination (Dandelion, Cascara), Enhance mood (St. John’s wort) Miscellaneous or unspecified (Laminaria, Spirulina [also known as blue-green algae] Guggul, Apple cider vinegar).
Despite an organization being in place for the regularization of these nutritional supplements, the truth remains that most of these are not monitored by authorities and people most of the time take them at their own risk.
These weight loss dietary supplements are easily available at the health store, supermarket or the chemist, not to forget the plethora of options available online. The reason behind their being available in abundance in such outlets is again a lack of proper regulatory standards as in case of prescription drugs and are sold with no or minimal proof of their effectiveness. The silver lining though is the fact that they can be recalled by Food and Drug Authorities, if found to be unfit for human consumption. Thus it is very important for any of us to research adequately on any weight loss food supplement before thinking of taking them. There is absolutely no dearth of information available online on these weight loss supplements. But the best advice will come from your physician. Only a physician can best recommend what weight loss dietary supplement will be suitable for you, and will not interfere with any of the prescription medicine you might be on.
Despite all this, it cannot be denied that these weight loss dietary supplements have seen to have worked in a number of cases. In the coming articles, we will attempt to discuss the mechanism at work and the efficacy of these supplements one by one.
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