The struggle to lose weight is one familiar to many of us. Whether we want to reduce our body mass for health reasons, or we are looking for ways to trim down to look better in a bikini, the weight loss industry is one of the biggest in the world. This obsession with weight loss is nothing new. For as long as recorded history, men and women have worked to modify their body to meet social standards, and that has often meant shedding excess pounds. The entire history of the twentieth century has been studded with advertisements, diets, plans and pills designed to encourage and maintain weight loss.
Weight loss supplements have a long and visible history. Advertisements can be found in magazines and newspapers preserved from the turn of the last century which promised women the svelte figures they so admired. Many of these methods have proven ineffective. Many others may be effective, but proven dangerous, particularly anecdotally – many of us have heard about scam weight loss supplements where the secret ingredient turned out to be tapeworms or something else equally disgusting. The reality, though, is normally much less dramatic. Weight loss supplements and pills normally work by doing things like suppressing appetite, blocking fat absorption, or by reducing the stomach volume. Others promise to boost metabolism, aid in building more fat-burning muscle.
Some weight loss supplements are, in fact, legitimately dangerous. Ephedra, for example, decreases appetite and therefore may be an effective weight loss supplement, but it is also associated with a number of dangers. Ephedra can cause high blood pressure and heart irregularities and increases the risk of strokes, seizures and even death. As a result, the weight loss supplement ephedra is not legal in most markets. Other weight loss supplements, like bitter orange, have been marketed as ephedra substitutes, but may share some of the same health concerns.
Other weight loss substitutes, like green tea, may be effective and present significantly milder side effects. Weight loss substitutes including green tea may be high in caffeine, and have been known to cause some stomach problems in some people. However, of greater concern to people interested in weight loss, their usefulness as a weight loss supplement may be disputed; there is only limited evidence to support that green tea actually increases the amount of calories and fat metabolized. Guar gum is a weight loss substitute which is purported to prevent fat absorption and promote a feeling of fullness. It is, in fact, safe for most people, but like green tea, how effective it is debatable.
Along with natural and herbal weight loss supplements, there are a variety of medical diet pills available, some of them over the counter. Some of these may be effective – they may be held to higher standards than the so called natural weight loss supplements, because they are more accountable for meeting some standards. Other common supplements touted for their weight loss value include fiber supplements, which can promote healthy digestion and create a feeling of fullness while being relatively low in calories. Other people swear by the effectiveness of including vinegar supplements in their daily routine as a weight loss supplement.
While it is tempting to turn to weight loss supplements as a short cut to a healthier or more attractive weight, they should not be considered a long term solution. The best weight to maintain a long term healthy weight is through healthy diet and exercise. However, a healthy diet may well include some dietary supplements, and weight loss supplements might well be one road to increased fitness and wellbeing. The important thing is to find out what is effective way for you to maintain your own healthy weight.