The weight loss products industry has been booming for the past few decades simply because of the societal changes in the way we work and eat. It used to be you could pretty much eat whatever you wanted because you were going to burn calories by doing what you needed to survive. These days, we're far more sedentary. That on top of harmful toxins in our food and environment wreck havoc on our body's natural ability to balance stress, hormones and weight.
As consumers, we're left with a slew of commercial weight loss products that purport to increase our metabolism and detoxify the body of harmful substances. Before you buy any product, you must carefully consider your goals and expectations. Weight loss diet products fall into three categories: appetite suppressants, fat burners and fat binders.
Appetite suppressants act on the core of our hunger drive: the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is seated at the center of the brain and drives our desire and motivation for food. This is essential for survival but when kicked into overdrive, it leads to cravings, overeating and obesity. Appetite suppressants lower the drive of the hypothalamus, which reduces your appetite and increases your sensation of fullness. Taking an appetite suppressant should be evaluated carefully, especially if you have heart disease or high blood pressure as many of these products contain stimulants. Appetite suppressants are available as pills or patches.
Next, you have fat burners. Fat burners are commonly used by athletes as sports supplements to enhance metabolism. For dieters, fat burners trigger your hypothalamus to produce cortisol and adrenaline, which provides positive feedback to your metabolism to burn more calories.
Finally, there's a relatively new class of weight loss product called fat binders. These are potent chemicals that absorb lipids before they pass into your small intestine. As a result, your body does not absorb up to 75% of the fat taken into your digestive tract. These pills may seem like a "cure all" but they come with side effects. Fat binders can cause diarrhea, gas and bloating.
For adults who are have more than 30% body fat (obese), prescription diet pills can be used for six months or less to help boost initial weight loss. Some of these prescription pills can help you lose up to 10% body fat, but they also require major lifestyle changes in order to keep the weight off. Non-prescription weight loss pills are also effective, but like prescription pills, come with side effects. Both prescription and non-prescription weight loss pills are regulated by the FDA.
A third class of pills are herbal supplements. These pills are not regulated by the FDA and often come with fewer side effects because they use all natural ingredients. Be extremely careful when using these supplements; check for interactions if you're taking other medicine and always consult with a doctor before you dive into a herbal weight loss product plan.
Any plan needs to have a holistic approach to your health. There's no "magic pill" that can make you lose weight. Weight loss products help boost your body's ability to lose weight more quickly, but total lifestyle change is needed for sustained weight loss. This is where these programs come into your total weight loss plan. You need to exercise, take care of your body and eat well to have long-lasting success. Self-acceptance and research are your first, and most important, steps to building a new healthier YOU.