There is so much written and claimed about supplements and weight loss that all this appears to have achieved is abject confusion. It doesn’t help that most people who write on these topics are either grossly underqualified to comment or have a vested interest (they’re trying to sell the product to you). If that is the case then what is the truth?
Fat Burners and weight loss
Claims made for fat burners are normally so far wide of the truth that it is hard to understand why people can’t see what is staring them in the face. If one of these fat burners worked then every GP would be prescribing them to patients and we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. Clearly we have got an obesity epidemic so therefore these pills and potions don’t work. If you are not willing to accept that then consider the science as there is no published research showing these things are effective. A lot of supplements claiming to burn fat that are available in health food shops and gymnasiums (is that ethically acceptable?) contain carnitine. Carnitine is used biochemically to move fatty acids into the mitochondria (the body’s energy producer). This in turn allows the fatty acids to be broken down by beta-oxidation. That is the science bit out of the way now for some more interesting facts. When you first read this it sounds like carnitine would be useful for fat metabolism; however the research evidence is very different. Although supplementing with carnitine can increase plasma concentrations there is no evidence that an increased plasma concentration increases fat metabolism. This is not really a surprise as a lot of supplements claim to enhance metabolic pathways when the reality is that increasing concentrations in the body has no effect. The body is very well regulated and we call this ability to maintain internal stability – homeostasis. It is quite difficult to upset this mechanism for obvious reasons as stability in a chemical environment (such as the body) relates to good health. Any upset in the homeostatic controls is usually related to a disease state.
Other supplements can’t even make claims for their fat burning ability based on a metabolic pathway. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) claims to aid fat burning and yet there is no recognised biochemical pathway as to how this could even be brought about. The two studies that showed an ability to reduce body fat were undertaken in rats that have a very different physiology to those of humans. The human trials that have been undertaken were very poorly designed and showed no significant reduction in body fat.
The other category of weight loss aid which is popular is supplements that bind fat and stop it being absorbed in the body. Although some of these work to some degree or another, you have to consider overall health. Fat is not the bad guy in the obesity epidemic and getting paranoid about fat intake won’t necessarily help with weight loss. We need fat in our diet and one of the healthiest diets we know (the Mediterranean diet) has forty percent fat. Admittedly these are predominately monounsaturated fats but it highlights that the issue is not fat intake alone. Fat soluble vitamins are important for health and anything that stops fat being absorbed also reduces the uptake of these important micronutrients. What is more some of these type of diet aids have slightly unpleasant side effects, one of which is “Anal leakage”; I don’t think that requires further description somehow.
Weight loss needs to be about lifestyle change not pills and potions. Stop wasting good money on supplements that don’t work and start fixing your lifestyle. If you want more nutrition and weight loss tips complete the simple form below to receive seven FREE videos.