Why you shouldn’t use weight loss supplements

Few of us can resist the allure of easy, effortless, weight loss so it comes as no surprise that the weight-loss-supplement industry responds with great enthusiasm. However, before you spend your hard-earned cash on the latest ‘miracle pill’, let’s take a look at some of the science behind popular weight-loss supplements and their marketing claims.

Myth 1: ‘Fat Burners’ Melt Away the Pounds:

Many supplements advertise fat-burning effects from ingredients such as green tea extract, caffeine, or L-carnitine. In reality, these effects are minimal and short-lived. While they may slightly increase metabolism, any initial benefits quickly disappear and don’t lead to sustained weight loss.

Myth 2: Appetite Suppressants Make You Lose Weight Effortlessly:

There are many appetite suppressants on the market, some relying on stimulants such as yohimbine or guarana, both of which cause jitters, anxiety and, in some cases, more serious side effects. Healthy eating and smart portion control are the only ways to actually suppress your appetite.

Myth 3: Carb Blockers Stop Carbohydrate Absorption:

Carb blockers are relatively benign supplements. Their idea is sound, but they don’t live up to their promises. They can slow some carbohydrate absorption, but it is negligible, and you are likely to experience GI symptoms. You do, after all, need to eat carbs.

Myth 4: Natural = Safe:

‘Natural’ doesn’t mean safe. Plenty of ‘natural’ supplements can interact with your medications, have unknown side effects or be tainted. You should always discuss any supplement with your doctor, even if it is ‘natural’.

Be Wary of Promises That Sound Too Good to Be True:

If you see a promise from a weight-loss supplement of ‘rapid weight loss without effort’, you can be pretty sure it’s bogus. Testimonials and celebrity endorsements aren't scientific evidence. Beware of products marketed online with aggressive tactics like limited-time offers or unrealistic guarantees.

Do Your Own Research and Talk to Your Doctor:

  • Research the science behind any supplement before buying it.
  • Check for reputable sources, such as scientific journals and government websites.
  • Discuss any supplements with your doctor, especially if you have other health problems or are on other medications.
Remember: a real foundation of wellbeing comes from making sustainable lifestyle changes, not from pills. Look critically upon so-called supplements and act according to the rules of evidence if you want to live well – and stay well.