Losing weight can dramatically improve your emotional and physical health, but it can be a slow process. So it’s no wonder that 15% of American adults use diet supplements to boost weight loss, opting for a range of products that claim to decrease appetite, block fat absorption, or increase metabolism.
However, there are some proven weight loss supplements available. Which weight loss supplements may be safe and helpful during a diet? Here’s a rundown on six products you can buy at most health food or drugstores that have some weight loss evidence behind them:
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
- Green tea extract
- Meal replacements
- Weight loss drug
Weight Loss Supplements: Calcium
Bone health may be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word calcium, but this mineral may also help you lose fat while preserving muscle.
Research is mixed. Some studies have not found a relationship between calcium intake and weight loss.
Weight Loss Supplements: Fiber
When it comes to dropping pounds, weight loss supplements that help keep you full can make it easier to cut back on the amount of food you eat. And when it comes to feeling full, fiber is your friend.
The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends that men under age 50 consume 38 grams of fiber a day, and 30 grams a day after age 50. Women under age 50 should consume 25 grams of fiber per day, and 21 grams per day after age 50. Most people only get about half of this amount.
Weight Loss Supplements: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Using a type of fat as a weight loss supplement might sound counterintuitive. But it might work, too. Conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid that occurs naturally in small amounts in dairy products and red meat, is a diet supplement that may work, but can also have some concerning side effects.
Weight Loss Supplements: Green Tea Extract
You may have already heard that green tea is loaded with healthy antioxidants, but did you know it might help you lose weight, too?
There is some thought that regular consumption may promote weight loss by adjusting resting energy usage and increasing the use of energy. The components in green tea extract that have shown some effect on lowering body weight are catechins, caffeine and theanine.
Weight Loss Supplements: Meal Replacements
Experts agree: The most proven weight loss supplements are meal replacements, including bars and shakes.
But, they only work when used as directed. In many plans, this means substituting a calorie-controlled meal replacement for breakfast and lunch, perhaps with the addition of fresh fruit. Then enjoy a portion-controlled dinner of around 500 calories.
General Suggestions for Using Weight Loss Supplements
If you do use weight loss supplements, be aware that the vast majority of products sold as diet supplements are not regulated by the FDA. To make sure that the product you are purchasing has undergone quality control testing,
Be sure to ask your doctor about taking weight loss supplements before you use them. Avoid products with excessive levels of caffeine, which can cause side effects, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure