The other day on Dr. Phil there were some young ladies on the show who were suffering from a variety of diet disorders, including addiction to diet pills. That is exactly why I began this series, and if you have seen the program, you would know how dangerous this problem is. Many, if not all, of these pills are extremely dangerous, and it so happens that the ones that this particular young lady was taking contained ephedrine, but there are so many out there on the market that it is difficult to keep track of them!
The following are some more of the choices out there on the market today. Good or bad, they are widely available and generally easy to get.
Fat Blockers (Chitosan)
This supplement, also known as D-Glucosamine, has also been touted “the fat magnet”, but is it really safe and effective? This supplement is made from the skeletons of crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Some studies have shown that it can help lower cholesterol levels slightly, so the idea is that it will help prevent fat digestion by binding to it. This has never been tested or shown, so the jury is still out with this one. While this product isn’t usually very dangerous, there is a lot of doubt out there as to whether or not it lives up to its claim. So, let the buyer beware, unless you like throwing your money out.
This supplement is derived from the “cluster bean”. While guar gum has conventionally been used as a thickening agent in many packaged foods, it is now being marketed as a diet aid. It, like chitosan, is supposed to block the absorption of dietary fats. It is also supposed to help to make you feel fuller (this is from the fact that this is a fiber). While guar gum is considered a fairly safe supplement, in general, it does come with certain side effects, including fluctuations in blood sugar levels (hence not safe for diabetics), bloating, cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, and more. Since this is a bulking agent, we must also remind you of the chance of this supplement causing an obstruction either in the esophagus or another place in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the cases where this has occurred have led to death. In fact it seems that the US has banned the inclusion of this supplement for this very reason. While guar gum is still approved for use in foods (in small amounts), it is considered an unsafe diet supplement. So, guar gum is not a very good choice in your quest for weight loss, even if it is still available in various forms.
This dietary supplement comes in many forms, including GTF Chromium and Chromium picolinate, which are basically minerals found in every day foods. The claims on this supplement are that it can help to increase weight loss, increase muscle mass, increase insulin efficiency, regulates fat production, gives more energy, etc. Several studies have been done on this supplement, and it seems not to live up to any of the claims that have been made for it. There were no beneficial differences found between experimental groups and control groups. On the contrary with some obese patients, it has even been shown to be counter-effective, in fact increasing the body weight. Some studies have even found it to be cell mutating, which is really scary. It has also been noted in some isolated situations that this supplement has caused side effects including disorientation, disruption of motor abilities, and irregular heartbeat. So spending a lot of money on chromium supplements is not your most consumer conscious way to go. All those claims of fat burning and exercise-free dieting seem to be bosh, and people would be better off steering clear.
These are the variety of herbal tea blends that are being marketed all over the world (including Kuwait) as diet teas. These blends contain herbs that act as either a laxative (moving the bowels) or a diuretic (causing increased urine output). When people diet it is not normal, nor is it recommended for them to flush out the food, fat or fluid from their bodies with artificial means like these teas. You need your fluids and your nutrients, and flushing them out quickly is not a good idea. So, the next time you see a diet tea on the shelf read the ingredients. If it contains herbs like senna, cascara, aloe, cassia angustofolia, locust plant or any of the stimulants that we mentioned last week, such as guarana, kola nut, ephedra, etc., leave it there on the shelf. This type of diet aid can be dangerous and addictive. These teas can cause severe cramping, bloating, diarrhea, nervousness, vomiting, nausea, sleeping problems, and even breathing problems and death!
This is a plant substance that is found in many so-called “natural” diet pills. These products are often herbal products, particularly Chinese blends. The herbs themselves are probably safe, but this ingredient can cause renal failure, and has caused many people to need kidney transplants. It is also carcinogenic. Unfortunately, even with all these problems, it is still being used and marketed as a weight loss supplement, so, again, let the buyer beware!
One of the newest products to hit the diet and weight loss market are “carb blockers”, that are supposed to block carbohydrate metabolism. This is supposed to mean that you can eat a high carbohydrate meal without any of the backlash and weight gain. The important ingredient in these products is a constituent of white beans, which is called “phaseolamin”. The idea is that it binds the carbohydrates in order to prevent absorption. There are some studies that seem to show some metabolic inhibition when ingesting carbohydrates, but there are no long term studies in this regard. The problem with this product is the side effects, which can include severe bloating, digestive upset, abdominal pain or cramping, diarrhea, and more. Is discomfort worth the benefit though? In any case, so far the jury is still out with regard to the safety of this supplement, but it looks clear at this point. The good thing is that they are not very expensive, so you won’t be putting your pocketbook out much if you decide to try them.
If you really want to lose weight safely, try these…
Just click on the books to buy from Amazon.
(To be continued)
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