Supplementing for Weight Loss


The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are diet plans, diet supplements, and exercise videos to meet the needs of everyone. More money is spent on advertising weight loss products than the gross national product of many third world countries. There are many snake oils and “magic” pills out there that only reduce the size of the users wallet, not their waistline. However, there are some good products out there, as well.

First, it is important to come to grips with the fact that there is no supplement on the market that will allow you to make solid, long term weight loss progress without making some dietary changes. Remember, if your current diet made you fat, it will continue to keep you fat. Nutritional changes are the most important part of a good weight loss program. Diet is essential to long term weight loss success.

Caloric intake is important, but it is secondary to when and what you eat. Protein, and more specifically, the amino acid, is an important nutrient within the body. It is used for muscle production and repair. It is used to produce certain key hormones and messengers within the body. It also is used to produce red and white blood cells. Many of the amino acids pair with other nutrients and chemicals to trigger important physiological functions within the body. Essential fats are important for energy, lubrication, and protection within the body. Complex carbohydrates provide long, and short, term energy for the body. Sugars are unnecessary in the diet, the body breaks all of the carbohydrates down into glucose for energy production. Water is another essential part of the weight loss puzzle. It is required by the body for most functions. Plus, many nutrients, vitamins and minerals require it for transport.

After diet, vitamins and minerals are the next key to a good overall weight loss program. The vitamins and minerals help keep the body functioning properly, which also increases the metabolic rate and improves many internal processes, including digestion. Many dieters choose to use a good multi-vitamin and mineral formula to supplement the vitamins and minerals taken in through the diet. This ensures that all of the vitamins and minerals are obtained, especially in today’s processed world where many foods are lacking some, or all, of their natural vitamins.

Supplements For Weight Loss

Diet and weight loss supplements can be a helpful piece of the puzzle if the others are already in place. There are three major categories in diet supplements; metabolic boosters, nutrient blockers, and thermogenic formulas. Metabolic boosters cause an increase in the metabolism due to an increased energy production. Nutrient blockers block the absorption of a particular nutrient. And, thermogenic formulas increase the rate of lipolysis and the metabolism to produce heat within the body.

Metabolic boosters generally contain caffeine, ginseng, guarana, and other stimulants. The premise behind these supplements is that by stimulating the central nervous system more energy will be required so the metabolism will have to increase to meet the new demand. These generally work well in the short term, but after a while the body adjusts to the new levels and it requires larger doses to get the same effect.

Nutrient blockers usually bind to a particular nutrient, usually either fats or carbohydrates, and prevent them from being absorbed through the lining of the digestive tract. This means a lower total caloric intake and less of the fats or carbohydrates to be processed, meaning more of the other nutrients must be called into play. One common side effect of these supplements, however, is diarrhea and intestinal discomfort.

Thermogenic formulas strive to increase lipolysis, the release of fat from fat stores. Some do help with this process, while others simply increase metabolism, which in turn increases the core temperature. These supplements often contain ginger, caffeine, cayenne pepper, ephedrine, bitter orange, capsicum, and other natural substances. The increase in temperature does not automatically signal a burning of fat. The burning of carbohydrates will also increase the core temperature.

Weight loss supplements are only a piece of the whole weight loss puzzle. A solid, nutritional diet, with plenty of water, quality vitamins and minerals, and a good exercise program are all vital pieces of that same puzzle. There are some good supplements out there among the sugar pills and snake oils. Supplements that help increase the metabolic rate, along with releasing fatty acids from the fat stores, may be just the ticket to moving off a plateau or jump starting a diet plan.

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