If you’re like me, then you have tried EVERY diet pill and weight loss supplement in the book! Some were relatively safe – Apple Cider Vinegar, which tastes horrible. Some were not so safe – Xenadrine, which made my heart flutter. Nonetheless, as a fitness and wellness professional, I’ve come to understand which supplements are safe and which ones are risky. I’ve also learned which ones are effective and which ones are wastes of money.
- Quick Trim (from the Kardashian’s)
- Xenadrine (popular in the early 2000’s)
- The list goes on and on…
All of these pills are “thermogenic” compounds. Simply put, they are a combination of basic vitamins and TON of caffeine. Overall, they try to raise your body temperature. However, simply being hot (literally) doesn’t make you lose weight. If it did, people who live in warm climates would be significantly smaller than people who live in cold climates – as a native Texan, let me tell you, that ain’t true!
When caffeine is used in moderation, it can provide you with more energy to workout and, as a result, you may burn more calories and lose weight. But just taking thermogenic compounds by themselves, without significantly increasing your exercise intensity or daily activity, will not lead to weight loss! All these pills are going to give you is INSOMNIA! And guess what, sleep deprivation is a leading cause of weight gain. So, no need to waste your time or money on any of these thermogenic compunds.
The bottom line is that you should NOT trust all of the claims that weight loss pills make and you should not go BROKE buying supplements. When used effectively (in combination with a healthy diet), vitamins and supplements are a great way to fuel your muscles and replenish your body of essential nutrients. The most effective supplements can be purchased over the counter at a local drug or nutrition store. Here’s a list of weight loss supplements that I personally recommend:
Also, here’s an informative table that that provides a good overview of popular weight loss supplements, pills and products.
|Alli — OTC version of prescription drug orlistat (Xenical)||Decreases absorption of dietary fat||Effective; but weight loss is even more modest than that with Xenical||Loose stools, oily spotting, frequent or hard-to-control bowel movements; reports of rare, but serious liver injury|
|Bitter orange||Increases calories burned||Probably ineffective||Similar to ephedra: raised blood pressure and heart rate|
|Chitosan||Blocks absorption of dietary fat||Probably ineffective||Uncommon: upset stomach, nausea, gas, increased stool bulk, constipation|
|Chromium||Decreases appetite and increases calories burned||Probably ineffective||Uncommon: headache, insomnia, irritability, mood changes, cognitive dysfunction|
|Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)||Reduces body fat||Possibly effective||Upset stomach, nausea, loose stools|
|Green tea extract||Decreases appetite, and increases calorie and fat metabolism||Insufficient evidence to evaluate||Dizziness, insomnia, agitation, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, diarrhea|
|Guar gum||Blocks absorption of dietary fat and increases feeling of fullness||Possibly ineffective||Abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea|
|Hoodia||Decreases appetite||Insufficient evidence to evaluate||Insufficient information available|