Herbal diet pills seem to be everywhere. They are all over the internet, and you can find them pretty much everywhere...the supermarket, the gym, even the local deli or candy store probably has a display featuring one of the hot new weight loss supplements.
If you have been thinking about buying a supplement to help you with your weight loss efforts, there are some things you need to know. Our goal is to provide the information that you need to make an informed decision.
In this article you will learn about ingredients that work and those that probably don’t. You'll learn about ingredients to avoid because they may damage your health and you’ll also get a bit of advice about how to get the best results by capitalizing on what the best supplements can do for you.
First, let’s look at the ingredients to avoid...
Caffeine and Ma Huang are two of the ingredients to avoid. Caffeine simply does not work. It was one of the first diet pills on the market and it still ends up in all but the best weight loss supplements.
The latest “green coffee beans” are just another source of natural caffeine. In small amounts, caffeine is not dangerous. But large amounts can cause heart palpitations, headaches, anxiety, insomnia and other unpleasant symptoms. You’re better off drinking a cup of coffee, with a little milk and sugar if you don't like it black. Even better, you might consider having a cup of green tea, an ingredient listed in the good section below.
Ma Huang is the traditional Chinese term for ephedra. Ephedra has been banned in the U.S. for many years, but you can still find Ma Huang for sale on the internet. The risks include heart attack and death. The risks are greatest when the herb is combined with excessive amounts of caffeine. Whether or not ephedra helps with weight loss, it is not worth the risk of taking it.
Yerba Mate, Hoodia and Garcinia Cambogia are among the questionable ingredients, although there are others.
Yerba mate is simply another source of caffeine. There are many plants that contain the stimulant. In the plant world, it works as a natural pesticide. Like other plants, yerba mate is a source of some antioxidants that might be good for your health, but no research has linked high antioxidant intake to appetite suppression, increased fat burning or weight loss.
Hoodia was widely promoted when it was first discovered that tribal hunters of Africa ate the plant to suppress their appetites while hunting without decreasing their energy levels. Scientific studies found that there was a unique component of a specific kind of hoodia that acted as an appetite suppressant without having any stimulant effects.
For several years, it was thought that the compound could be mass produced. But nothing has come of it. The herbal diet pills on today’s market that list hoodia as an ingredient probably do not contain the specific variety that promoted weight loss. If the pill does contain genuine hoodia, it would be present only in very small quantities. The plant is now a protected endangered species and exportation is strictly limited.
Garcinia Cambogia was the subject of an episode of a popular doctor’s television show but there is no scientific evidence to support claims made about the herb. In fact, one research group concluded that the effects were no better than placebo. Depending on the preparation, there could be a risk of liver damage. The natural fresh or dried fruit might provide some benefits but the actual fruit is not widely available.
Green Tea Extracts, bitter orange and kiwifruit extracts are ingredients that could actually help you with your weight loss efforts without damaging your health.
Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine but the benefits are believed to be due to the high concentration of flavonoids, not the caffeine. Green tea may boost your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories and fat) by as much as 4% without increasing your heart rate.
Bitter orange is another metabolism booster. It is also considered a “fat burner” because it stimulates storage cells to release fat into the bloodstream. There are other possible benefits associated with bitter orange and few side effects as long as the recommended dosage is not exceeded.
Adding fiber-rich foods to your diet, in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a proven method for increasing weight loss. Fiber supplements are typically not recommended because the seed husks used in the products can cause blockages.
Kiwifruit extracts are a new fiber-rich supplement that is not associated with any risk of blockage. In fact, the main benefit of the herb is for better digestive health. The difference has to do with the type of fiber and how the supplements are made.
You can get the most help from a supplement if you choose good ingredients, take the product regularly, change your eating habits and exercise regularly. Pills alone are not enough for healthy weight loss.
Try replacing the high calorie foods in your diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. You can eat nearly unlimited quantities of most fruits and vegetables and still lose weight, whether you take an herbal diet pill or not.
If you do decide to take a supplement, choose one that contains green tea extract, bitter orange and/or kiwifruit extracts. Of the choices we have today, those are the best!