Healthspan November 23, 2017

If you’ve ever googled ‘how to lose weight’ you’re not alone. But can supplements really help you to lose weight quicker?

Looking for a quick way to lose weight, fast? If you’ve been tempted by adverts for various pills, teas and supplements that claim to cause dramatic weight-loss overnight, think again.

While there’s no magic diet pill that will help you to drop 5lbs overnight (here’s looking at you, raspberry ketones!), there are certain nutrients that can help your well-thought-out weight-loss plan…

1. Omega 3

Various studies involving obese participants have shown a connection between omega 3 and weight loss. In one study, the participants who had taken fish oil and exercised showed a decrease in body fat percentage and an average weight loss of 2kg/4.5lb, whereas those who had exercised but not taken fish oil, showed little change.

According to the researchers, omega 3 fatty acids can help to ‘switch on’ enzymes specifically involved in the oxidising or burning of fat — but that they need a driver (in the case of that study: exercise) to increase the metabolic rate in order to lower the body fat.

2. Green tea extracts

Thanks to its high catechin content (30 - 40 per cent of its dry weight compared to just nine per cent in black tea), green tea is thought to promote weight loss. A review of studies reported that the chatechins found in green tea effectively stimulated heat production (which encourages fat burning), resulting in significant weight loss and a reduction in waist circumference among participants. Plus, each cup of green tea contains around 35mg of caffeine which has a stimulating effect on metabolism and may increase weight loss.

3. CLA

While CLA supplements won’t help you to lose weight per say, they can be taken as an aid to reduce the amount of fat stored by the body. By boosting the breakdown of this fat the body is able to increase the amount of lean muscle tissue, leaving you with a more toned and healthy physique. A review of 18 studies revealed that when individuals were given a dose of 3.2 grams per decilitre – an amount based on the size of the person – it produced a modest loss of body fat compared to those who took a placebo.

4. Chromium

The carbohydrates we eat are broken down into sugars and absorbed into the bloodstream. Controlling blood sugar levels is important for helping fat loss and reducing cravings, and reducing and controlling your risk of heart disease or diabetes. Chromium has been associated with reducing blood sugar, curbing cravings, cutting body fat and easing insulin resistance - all of which can contribute to weight gain. A review of evidence into the efficacy of chromium and weight loss found that there was a statistical difference in weight loss when subjects took chromium, compared with those who took placebo.

5. Probiotics

Studies have shown that probiotics can reduce food cravings, helping people to eat less. A recent study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that weight loss among women taking a daily probiotic supplement during a 24-week trial was significantly greater than that among the women taking placebo. The women taking the probiotic supplement lost an average of 4.4kg during the 12-week weight-loss phases of the trial, and continued to lose weight during the second 12-week weight-maintenance phase, with an overall weight loss average of 5.2 kg. The researchers concluded the probiotic strain lactobacillus could have a role to play in weight loss and weight maintenance.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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