Your Guide to the Top Weight Loss Supplements

While there are dozens of supplements marketed for weight loss, Nutrition Consultants of Tulsa reviewed five of the most popular supplements on the market to help you make informed decisions.

1. Supplement: SENSA It is a granular product which is sprinkled on foods. It contains maltodextrin, tricalcium phosphate, silica, natural and artificial flavors. According to the founder, Alan Hirsh, MD, F.A.C.P., as we eat, smell and taste food, receptors send messages to the brain, which releases hormones that tell the body it's time to stop eating. This is called "sensory-specific satiety" and SENSA is supposed to enhance smell and trigger a sense of "feeling full" so that less food is eaten. The clinical studies on this product have not been accepted for publication by any peer-reviewed journal. Bottom line: Skip it, due to proof of effectiveness.

2. Supplement: hCG hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) is a hormone produced in pregnancy. Combined with a 500 calorie diet, hCG marketers claim that it enables dieters to mobilize fat without being hungry. It is available in drops, tablets, or physician-approved injections and was given a boost this year when The Dr. Oz Show featured an investigation on it. There is no peer-reviewed published science to prove these claims, only testimonials. While a 500 calorie diet alone should result in weight loss, it is an inappropriately low level of calories for health. Bottom line: Skip it. Any time calories are severely restricted, don't be fooled by eager marketers, unfortunately, even if they are physicians.

3. Supplement: Green Tea Extract Green tea, rich in catechins like EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), comes from the Camellia sinenis plant. The supplements boast of their supposed fat-burning and metabolism-boosting action, which lead to weight loss. Preliminary evidence suggests that green tea extract (270mg EGCG per day) may help reduce weight as long as a low calorie diet is followed along with it. EGCG has been shown to boost calorie burning by 50-100 calories per day. Bottom line: It's not a miracle worker; a reduction of 50-100 calories a day won't make a significant impact on someone's weight loss when just one pound of weight loss takes a reduction of 3500 calories.

4. Supplement: Stimulant Laxatives Aloe, buckhorn, cascara, frangula, rhubarb root, and senna are naturally-occurring botanicals long know for their laxative properties. Weight loss from diarrhea produces a temporary water weight loss. Furthermore, by the time laxatives act on the large intestine most of the calories are already absorbed by the small intestine. Chronic use of these plants can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and kidney failure. Bottom line: Skip it. Laxatives do not promote long term weight loss; they simply speed things up in the intestinal tract.

5. Supplement: Xanthigen Xanthigen is a botanical compound derived from seaweed and pomegranate seed oil. It helps women with fatty livers lose weight by reducing liver fat and the body stops accumulating fat in general. A 16-week study published in January 2010 Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism found that 151 subjects took 300mgs pomegranate seed oil and 300mg brown seaweed extract with an 1800 calorie diet and reduced body fat and liver fat. Bottom line: This product may have potential. Look for future research to clarify its role in weight loss.

If weight loss supplements worked, there wouldn't be dozens to pick from. There is no short cut for weight loss. Moving more and eating less than needed is the only remedy.
Bottom line: Don't waste your money on supplements.

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