Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are "natural" weight-loss aids safe?

{{en}}Green tea leaves steeping in an uncovere...Image via Wikipedia You've heard and seen their benefits extolled on infomercials- from "lose 30 pounds in 30 days" promises to miraculous before-and-after photos and they're sold everywhere, from your local drug store to the internet.

But just because these dietary weight-loss supplements claim to be made with herbs and other naturally-occurring ingredients doesn't mean you can take them without worry, "Dietary-supplement companies aren't required to show clinical data on their efficacy and safety to the FDA., which means we have no idea whether they work or if they're saf", says Michael Steelman. M.D. and Obesity specialist in Oklahoma City.

Take bitter orange extract, a substance that has replaced ephedra as an ingredient in many weight loss supplements( ephedra was banned 2004 after causing more than 16,000 adverse events, including several cases of stroke and death. What's more, bitter orange doesn't appear to help people lose weight, according to research review. And while there maybe some truth to the weight loss promises of hoodia, a cactus-like plant said to be used by African bushmen to stave off hunger, a lot of the products that claim to be made with hoodia don't actually contain much or any at all, says Lona Sandon R.D. a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Hoodia's a protected plant, and many experts suspect that companies replaces some or all of it with another species of the same plant. Whether hoodia itself is harmless is still unclear. There are two supplements that may have some safe body fat -and weight-loss potential:
green tea extract and conjugated linolec acid (CLA) Green tea contains ECGC , an antioxidant that may help boost metabolism, according to some studies. CLA, found naturally in dairy, was shown to reduce body fat in one small study, though participants' weights stayed the same. But the amounts found in EGCG and CLA supplements vary and some may not be effective says George Blackburn, M.D., an Obesity specialist at Harvard Medical school. Instead He suggests getting these compounds through food, whether by including green tea at breakfast or by adding an extra glass of skim milk to your daily diet.

Now you can ask yourself are "natural" weight-loss aids safe? think again.

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  1. Great information to know. I am always looking at the weight loss options and to be honest I did think that natural was better. Thanks

  2. I agree. This is great information. I have spent hours researching products on weight loss only to realize the best method is exercise, food management and the occasional body cleanse.

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