Are These the Secret to Weight Loss?

If you Google “lose weight fast” you’ll find millions of posts, ads and articles about supplements, drinks and other concoctions that promise rapid weight loss with no effort. It’s surely no surprise to you that there is no such thing as a magic pill. Losing weight and keeping in shape requires a nutritious diet and healthy exercise. Sorry to disappoint, but there is no way around that.

That said, here are a few of the more recent supplements you may have heard of and what if any benefit they deliver.

Garcinia Cambogia – This supplement is made from a plant, native to Indonesia that has a small, pumpkin shaped fruit. The fruit contains an extract called HCA (hydroxycitric acid) that suppresses your appetite by increasing your body’s production of serotonin. And it can stop your body from making citrate lysate, which is the chemical it uses to store carbohydrates as fat. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Take Garcinia Cambogia, decrease your appetite and don’t store fat. Well, no. The vast majority of GC supplements on the market don’t contain nearly enough HCA to actually work. If you can get your hands on an actual GC plant, go for it. But don’t waste your time or money on GC supplements.

Green Tea – Green tea is hyped as being a metabolism booster and especially effective in helping people shed belly fat. The active ingredient in green tea supplements is called EGCG and in its pure form it can spur your body to make more of a hormone called CCK, which suppresses your appetite. Green tea also contains lots of caffeine and an antioxidant called catechins which have been shown to speed your metabolism. However, as with Garcinia Cambogia, the actual amount of these ingredients in green tea supplements will not impact your ability to lose weight. If you want to enjoy the benefits of green tea, your best bet is to drink it hot and brewed from powdered matcha tea which contains upwards of 150 times the EGCG in other forms of green tea.

Apple Cider Vinegar – This one has been hailed as a magic elixir recently with the supposed ability to help with everything from losing weight to controlling diabetes. A CNN article cites a Japanese study of 175 participants who incorporated apple cider vinegar into their diets over a 12 week period. The study found only a negligible difference in the weight lost by participants who consumed the ACV over those who had only the placebo. Carol Johnston, a dietician quoted in the same article, notes that while ACV may not live up to its reputation for weight loss, it can be effective in helping to regulate your blood sugar which can be a positive for diabetics and those with pre-diabetic symptoms.

Coconut Oil – Most people had never even heard of coconut oil 7-10 years ago, but today it’s practically everywhere. Most grocers carry at least one brand of it and people are using it for everything from baking to conditioning their skin and hair. When it comes to weight loss, its power is in its ability to help your body regulate blood glucose levels and the fact that it is made up of mostly medium chain fatty acids. These are used immediately by your body for energy and therefore boost your metabolic rate. A 2009 study also showed that coconut oil can help improve thyroid function in those suffering from hypothyroid disorders or under-active thyroid. It’s easy to incorporate coconut oil into your diet by using it for baking, dissolving it in coffee or even eating it raw (if you dare).

In summary, not one of these or any other supplements will cause you to lose weight all on their own. You may see some health benefits from adding these in their natural form to your diet. However, as always, the safest and most effective way to lose weight is to follow a diet that consists mainly of whole, unprocessed foods and incorporate regular exercise into your life.

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