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There are many different approaches to weight loss that one could take.
Certain pills, medications, and natural supplements, amongst other possibilities, enjoy a higher level of popularity in comparison to others. It is said that using them in conjunction with other weight loss strategies will either help you lose weight or at the very least make it easier for you to do so.
They often exert their effects through one or more of the following mechanisms:
reducing hunger and increasing fullness, resulting in less food consumption and thus fewer calories consumed
lowering one’s ability to absorb nutrients like fat, hence causing one to consume fewer calories overall
Increasing the rate at which fat is burned, resulting in increased calorie expenditure
It is essential to keep in mind that very few of these treatments have any kind of scientific foundation, and some of them can even be harmful to your health. Changes to your diet or supplement regimen should always be discussed with your primary care physician or a qualified dietitian.
The following list of the 12 most popular weight reduction medicines and supplements, as reviewed by science, will help you distinguish the myths from the truth.
Dietary supplements and other weight loss aids
1. Garcinia cambogia extract
After being highlighted on “The Dr. Oz Show” in 2012, Garcinia cambogia quickly rose to the top of the charts across the globe.
It has the appearance of a miniature pumpkin and is green in colour. Garcinia cambogia extract, which is sold as a weight loss supplement, contains hydroxy citric acid, which is found in the peel of the fruit.
The mechanism of action is as follows: research conducted on animals indicates that it can inhibit a fat-producing enzyme in the body and increase serotonin levels, which may assist to lessen the desire to eat.
Effectiveness: In one meta-analysis, researchers investigated the effectiveness of herbal treatments, including garcinia cambogia, by searching four electronic research databases.
The researchers looked at a total of 54 randomised controlled studies with healthy adults who were either overweight or obese. They found that the garcinia cambogia group and the placebo group did not differ from one another in terms of weight or percentage of body fat
A study published in 2020 that analysed the results of eight clinical studies on garcinia Cambogia indicated that the supplement led to a weight loss of approximately 3 pounds (1.34 kg) on average.
Studies conducted during the past few years have pointed to several major adverse effects of garcinia cambogia, despite the fact that it is generally accepted that it is safe to use garcinia cambogia in the levels that are suggested.
A study published in 2018 revealed four cases of women who had abrupt liver failure after taking weight reduction pills containing garcinia Cambogia. These supplements were intended to aid in weight loss.
In addition, hepatotoxicity, also known as liver impairment, as well as occasional episodes of mania have been observed in connection with the consumption of garcinia cambogia. Despite the fact that garcinia Cambogia may have a role in the loss of a small amount of weight, the effects are relatively minimal and may not even be noticed.
Hydroxycut is one of the most well-known and widely used dietary supplements for weight loss all over the world. It has been on the market for more than a decade.
The company manufactures a variety of products, the most popular of which is simply referred to as “Hydroxycut.”
Caffeine and a few plant extracts, such as green coffee extract, which we will discuss more in the next section are two of the substances that are included in this product, and they all claim to aid in the process of weight reduction.
Effectiveness: A review of five clinical studies published in 2011 found that taking a supplement containing C. canephora robusta, also known as green coffee extract, which is one of the primary components of Hydroxycut, resulted in approximately a 5.5-pound (2.47-kg) weight loss when compared to taking a placebo.
Caffeine can cause side effects such as anxiety, jitteriness, tremors, nausea, diarrhoea, and irritability in people who are susceptible to the stimulant’s effects.
Products containing Hydroxycut were taken off the market in 2004 due to the dangers they posed to the cardiovascular system, and again in 2009 due to their toxicity to the liver.
There has also been a link established between taking Hydroxycut supplements and acute liver damage.
There have been very few studies done on a wide scale about this dietary supplement, and there is no information regarding the effectiveness of its use over the long term. Additional research is required to determine both the efficacy and the safety of the treatment.
3. an extract made from green coffee beans
Green coffee beans are just regular coffee beans that haven’t had the roasting process done to them yet.
Caffeine and chlorogenic acid are both found in them, and both of these compounds are thought to aid in weight loss.
Caffeine has been shown to boost the pace at which fat is burned, whereas chlorogenic acid has been shown to inhibit the breakdown of carbs in the gut.
The effectiveness of green coffee bean extract has been demonstrated in a number of human trials. It has been found to aid in weight loss.
Green coffee bean extract was found to have a substantial impact on reducing body mass index, according to the findings of a meta-analysis that looked at the effects of green coffee bean extract on obesity using all of the most recent randomised control studies.
Green coffee bean extract may also help reduce blood sugar levels and blood pressure, which are also additional health benefits. Additionally, it has a high level of antioxidants.
Caffeine-like adverse effects are a possibility because it contains caffeine. Additionally, chlorogenic acid has the potential to induce diarrhoea, and some individuals may be allergic to green coffee beans.
The consumption of green coffee bean extract may lead to a slight reduction in body weight; nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of the research that has produced this result has been sponsored by the relevant industry.
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Caffeine is the psychoactive chemical that is consumed the most frequently all around the world.
In addition to being added to a wide variety of processed foods and beverages, it can be found in coffee, green tea, and dark chocolate on its own.
Caffeine is frequently included in weight reduction products sold in stores because of the widespread belief that it speeds up the body’s metabolic rate.
How it works: According to the findings of one study, caffeine has the ability to regulate body weight by increasing energy expenditure. This, in essence, means that you burn more calories as a result of increased fat breakdown as well as through a process that produces heat in the body known as thermogenesis.
Efficiency: A number of studies have shown that caffeine can lead to a slight reduction in body fat in individuals.
Caffeine in large quantities can have a variety of negative side effects on the body, including anxiety, sleeplessness, jitteriness, irritability, nausea, and diarrhoea in certain individuals. Additionally, caffeine can impair the quality of your sleep and is highly addictive.
There is no need to take a caffeine-containing supplement or pill as this is not required. The finest sources are high-quality coffee and green tea, both of which are rich in antioxidants and provide a variety of other advantages to health.
In the short term, caffeine may assist in boosting metabolism and enhancing the amount of fat burned. On the other hand, it’s possible to swiftly build up a tolerance to the effects.
5. Orlistat (Alli)
Orlistat is a pharmacological medicine that is marketed and sold under the brand name Alli in the over-the-counter market and Xenical in the prescription market.
This weight reduction tablet functions by preventing the breakdown of fat in your gut, which means that you take in fewer calories that come from fat as a result of taking it.
Effectiveness: A study conducted in 2003 indicated that persons who took orlistat for a period of 12 months in conjunction with modifications to their lifestyles saw a 2.9 percent greater weight reduction than those who received a placebo.
Orlistat has also been proven to have other benefits, including a minor reduction in blood pressure and a potential reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
Side effects: This medication is known to cause a number of digestive side effects, some of which include frequent bowel movements that are difficult to regulate, loose, greasy stools, and flatulence. A shortage in fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K may also be a consequence of this factor.
When taking orlistat, it is commonly recommended, in order to reduce the risk of side effects, to adhere to a diet low in fat. It is interesting to note that a diet low in carbohydrates (without the use of medicine) has been considered to be just as successful as the combination of orlistat and a diet low in fat.
Both diets were equally successful in terms of weight loss, but there was no discernible difference in the levels of blood sugar or blood lipids after following either one. On the other hand, the combination of orlistat with a diet reduced in fat was shown to be more beneficial in reducing blood pressure.
Orlistat, which is also sold under the brand names Alli and Xenical, is a weight loss medication that works by lowering the amount of fat that a person absorbs from the food they eat. It comes with a host of undesirable side effects, some of which are quite severe.
6. Raspberry ketones
Raspberry ketone is a chemical compound that may be discovered in raspberries and is the factor that gives them their distinctive odour.
A weight loss pill that is a synthetic form of raspberry ketones is currently on the market.
The breakdown of fat and the levels of a hormone called adiponectin, which is thought to be connected to weight reduction, are both increased as a result of the use of raspberry ketones in mouse fat cells that have been separated from the mice.
Effectiveness: Although there is relatively little research on raspberry ketones in people, one study conducted in 2013 looked at raspberry ketones together with several other substances and discovered a potential 2 percent increase in weight reduction over the course of 8 weeks when compared with a placebo.
One investigation with mice using extremely high doses found that there was a slight delay in weight increase.
However, when taken in large amounts, raspberry ketones were connected with higher blood sugar levels as well as higher levels of ALT, which is an enzyme produced in the liver and is an indicator of liver damage.
It is not known whether or not these consequences would occur in human beings. Additional research is required to discover whether there are any potential benefits or hazards.
As a side effect, they could make your farts smell like raspberries after you’ve used them.
In people, there is no evidence that raspberry ketones stimulate weight loss and the trials in rats that show they may work employed extremely high doses. There is a need for additional investigation.
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There is a form of fibre known as glucomannan that can be found in the roots of the elephant yam, which is also known as konjac.
Glucomannan is capable of turning into a gel-like substance after it has absorbed water. It “sits” in your gut and gives you the sensation of being full, which in turn helps you consume fewer calories.
Effectiveness: One research trial demonstrated that participants with overweight conditions who took glucomannan supplements over a period of sixty days were able to achieve lower body weight, but only if they took the supplement on a regular basis.
Glucomannan is a fibre that can feed the beneficial bacteria that are found in the colon, which is an additional advantage. Additionally, it can bring down blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels, and it is a good treatment for constipation.
As a side effect, it may induce bloating, gas, and soft stools. Additionally, if taken at the same time as certain oral drugs, it may cause those prescriptions to no longer work properly.
It is essential to consume glucomannan around half an hour before each meal, accompanied by a glass of water.
Studies have shown that the fibre glucomannan, when paired with an active lifestyle and a nutritious diet, can assist individuals in achieving their weight loss goals. In addition to this, it causes improvements in a variety of different health indices.
Meratrim is a product that has only recently been introduced to the market for diet pills.
It is possible that the metabolism of fat cells can be altered by combining the extracts of two different plants: Sphaeranthus indicus and Garcinia mangostana.
The way it works is that it is supposed to make it more difficult for fat cells to multiply, reduce the quantity of fat that fat cells take in from the bloodstream, and assist fat cells in burning the fat that they have stored.
Meratrim has been the subject of very few scientific investigations regarding its efficacy. In one trial, sixty obese participants were given either Meratrim or placebo in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet of 2,000 calories and increased levels of physical activity.
After eight weeks, those in the Meratrim group had shed a total of 11 pounds (5.2 kilogrammes) and 4.7 inches (11.9 centimetres) from their waistlines.
According to the findings of another study, Meratrim was able to suppress hunger for an extended period of time.
In terms of adverse consequences, there have been no reports of any.
According to the findings of one study, Meratrim led to a reduction in overall body weight in addition to a variety of other positive health effects. However, the research was funded by the industry, and there is a need for additional investigation.
9. an extract made from green tea
Extract from green tea is a common component used in dietary supplements intended to aid with weight loss. This is due to the fact that a significant number of studies have demonstrated that the primary antioxidant that it contains, EGCG, may assist in the burning of fat.
It is believed that the extract of green tea can inhibit enzymes such as pancreatic lipase, which, when combined with a reduction in the amount of fat that is absorbed by the body, can be an effective method of treating obesity.
Effectiveness: Numerous studies involving humans have demonstrated that green tea extract, when combined with physical activity, can speed up the body’s natural fat-burning processes and lead to reduced body fat, particularly in the abdominal region.
In terms of potential adverse effects, extracts made from green tea are often well tolerated. It does include some caffeine, which means that caffeine-sensitive individuals may have side effects from consuming it.
In addition, the same potential health advantages that come from drinking green tea may also be reaped by consuming green tea extract.
Green tea and green tea extract may help you lose abdominal fat and may also slightly improve the amount of fat that your body burns.
10. Linoleic acid that has been conjugated (CLA)
CLA has been touted as an effective fat reduction vitamin for many years.
It is one of the “healthier” trans fats and can be found naturally in some foods derived from animals like cheese and butter. It is considered to be one of the “healthier” trans fats.
CLA may suppress hunger, rev up metabolism, and increase the breakdown of body fat, all of which contribute to weight loss (45Trusted Source, 46Trusted Source).
Effectiveness: Researchers observed that taking CLA led to a weight loss of approximately 1.1 pounds (0.52 kilogrammes) compared to taking a placebo for the same number of studies. This number rose to 2.3 kilogrammes (1.05 pounds) in those who were 44 years old or older.
According to the findings of another study that was conducted in 2012, taking CLA may cause you to lose approximately 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) more than taking a placebo. In their conclusion, the authors cast doubt on the therapeutic applicability of the relatively minor impact that CLA has on body weight.
Side effects: CLA can cause various digestive side effects and may have harmful effects over the long term, potentially contributing to fatty liver, insulin resistance, and increased inflammation. CLA can also cause a variety of side effects in the short term, including diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
CLA has the potential to be an efficient supplement for weight loss, but there is concern that it may have adverse effects over the long term. The potential for only a modest amount of weight loss does not justify the associated health risks.
It is believed that the weight loss supplement forskolin, which is derived from a plant belonging to the mint family, is beneficial.
How it works: It may enhance amounts of a molecule called cAMP inside the cells, which can stimulate the body’s natural ability to burn fat.
Forskolin was shown to be effective in a study that involved 30 overweight or obese males. The supplement was shown to reduce body fat and improve muscle mass, but it had no effect on the participants’ body weight. Another study involving 23 obese women revealed no significant consequences of their weight.
There is very little information available regarding the safety of this product or the potential for adverse side effects.
The findings from the two limited investigations on forskolin were contradictory to one another. It is in your best interest to steer clear of taking this dietary supplement until an additional study has been conducted.
12. Bitter orange/synephrine
The chemical synephrine can be found in bitter oranges, which are a specific variety of orange.
Synephrine is a related substance to ephedrine, which is utilised to be a well-liked component in a variety of different formulations of weight loss pills.
Ephedrine, on the other hand, has been removed from the market as a weight loss ingredient by the FDA due to the severe adverse effects it causes.
Synephrine and ephedrine operate by similarly functioning processes; however, synephrine is less powerful than ephedrine. It might be helpful in suppressing hunger and enhancing fat burning.
Effectiveness: Although very few studies have been conducted on synephrine, a considerable number of studies have shown that ephedrine can promote significant weight loss in a short period of time.
Synephrine, much like ephedrine, has the potential to cause major adverse consequences that are connected to the cardiovascular system. Additionally, it could be addicting.
Synephrine is a rather powerful stimulant that, when used for weight loss in the short term, has the potential to be beneficial. However, the potential for adverse effects to be severe necessitates that it be taken with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a medical professional at all times.
Weight loss drugs available only by prescription
In addition, there have been some weight loss medicines available by prescription that have shown some degree of success.
Phentermine and Contrave are the two that are most widely used.
Even weight loss drugs that require a doctor’s prescription may not be as effective as you may expect, according to a study published in 2014. In comparison to taking a placebo, they may cause you to lose between 3 and 9 percent of your body weight on average (56Trusted Source).
Remember that this is only true when these pills are used in conjunction with a nutritious diet designed to aid in weight loss. They are unsuccessful when used alone and are not likely to be beneficial in the fight against obesity over the long term. They also have a wide variety of potential adverse effects.
There were 12 different weight loss tablets discussed, but the ones that are supported by the most evidence are as follows:
Glucomannan, CLA, and orlistat are three weight loss supplements (Alli)
caffeine and green tea extract have been shown to boost fat burning.
On the other hand, many experts in the field of medicine advise against using orlistat because of the unpleasant side effects, and they advise against using CLA due to the detrimental effects it has on metabolic health.
The remaining options are glucomannan, caffeine, and an extract of green tea. Although these supplements may be of some use, the impacts they have are, at best, minimal. You don’t even need to take a supplement because all three can be found in their natural forms in a variety of meals and beverages.
In the end, there is no supplement or tablet that is particularly effective for promoting weight loss. It’s possible that they will rev up your metabolism a little bit and assist you in shedding a few pounds, but that’s probably the extent of their benefits.
The most effective strategies to lose weight include still determining a weight that is healthy for you, focusing on mindful eating, using safe calorie deficits, and increasing the amount of physical activity you do, and these methods work better than all of the diet pills together.