This article will take a look into the world of dietary supplements. Billions of dollars are spent worldwide on weight loss supplements and I want to investigate whether they actually work or not. There are literally 1000s of products available on the market, so I can't go through all of them but I will choose a select few and take a closer look at them for you.
Green Tea Extract
First off, you need to understand that all supplements that contain green tea only contain an extract of green tea which is then blended with other ingredients that are supposed to help with weight loss. So what is it in green tea that helps you to lose weight? It's Caffeine. Dr. Cooperman the managing director of consumerlab.com says that green tea can help with weight loss because it contains a lot of the stimulant caffeine which causes you to burn calories because you move more! So the active ingredient is caffeine and this is hardly a new idea, it's just a different source of caffeine.
Now we'll take a closer look at extracts. There are 4 different ways that green tea is extracted. Strong infusions, soft extracts, dry extracts and partly purified extracts. Strong infusions leaves about 2% of green tea extract and it is done by soaking the leaves in alcohol. Soft extracts comes from the strong infusions and this 2% is then concentrated down to achieve a concentration of about 25%. Dry extracts work similarly and are concentrated to 40-50%. It is this dry extract that is used in most most products and this is the extract that is best. Partly purified extract works very differently, but doesn't achieve the same high concentrate of green tea extract.
Here are a few different products that use green tea extract and contain caffeine in the extract to help you lose weight. You can read more about each product by clicking the link. Please note that these reviews were written by other people, but after doing a lot of research in each product, these are the best reviews I could find that provide good information about each product.
There is Thinner-U, Mega-T, Avatrim all of these products contain green tea and therefore they are stimulants designed to help you to lose weight by stimulating you into burning calories by doing more!
Tropical Fruit Extracts
There are many tropical fruit extracts and you might have heard the names Acai Berry, African Mango and more being featured on TV, advertised online and even spoken about on your favorite TV programs.
I'll discuss the two I've already mentioned because they both claim to be 'revolutionary'! First up is African Mango. The scientific name for this is Irvingia Gabonensis and there have been scientific studies done on it (Wikipedia). It seems that it can indeed help you to lose weight, according to the study which was a double-blind placebo controlled study, there was significant weight loss from the participants that were given African Mango. However, there was no significant reduction in body fact percentage which questions how effective it really is.
Acai Berry is similar in this regard. It would seem that the weight loss aspects of this extract are questionable. There have been no scientifically controlled studies that can confirm weight loss and also there have been no evaluations carried out by the FDA. Again, it's effectiveness in weight loss is questionable.
There are many other tropical fruits advertised for weight loss but again, it's difficult to see their actual effectiveness due to the fact that there are minimal scientific studies that can back up these claims. Unlike green tea, they are not stimulants and I would think that their effectiveness is minimal.
These laxative based supplements are the worst but yes they do actually help you to lose weight, however, this is only temporary. Laxatives help your body to clean out your digestive system through more frequent bowel movements. Yes, if your digestive system is full and then it's emptied from taking a laxative you will notice an immediate loss in weight that will subsequently increase when you next eat! If their is no food in your digestive system then you'll only be excreting fluids which can be very dangerous and lead to dehydration.
The fact is that before food reaches the bowels it has already been processed and all good and bad parts of the food have already been extracted and used by your body. So it doesn't matter how much you 'clean out' your bowels, the fat has already been absorbed and will result only in temporary weight loss. You should only take laxatives for medical reasons, e.g. constipation and never take them thinking that you will lose weight.
Yes, there are many more different products that I haven't mentioned here and I will be discussing those in future articles! So the three that we have looked at here, green tea extract, tropical fruit extracts and laxative based extracts, it's questionable if they work at all. Green tea extract based supplements might work because of the caffeine that is contained in them, but caffeine can have many side effects on your body, including; insomnia, the shakes and a general feeling of nausea.
If you really want to lose weight, it is my opinion that you stay away from weight loss products and eat a healthy diet and get exercise. This is really the only true way that you can lose weight.