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Taking Supplements for Weight Loss

Weight-Loss Supplements

So many advertisements promise instant weight loss. So many bottles of possibilities and promises line the shelves of health-food stores, grocery stores, and drugstores. The Internet and infomercials offer you endless opportunities to lose weight once and for all. The market is flooded with weight-loss supplements. But are any of them worth your time, hope, and money?

Some are; some aren't. So here's what you need to know about how the products work so you can make an informed decision.

Shakes. Diet shakes come in a can as a liquid or as a powder for you to mix with water or milk. The shakes are intended as meal replacements. They contain soy or whey protein and sugar or sweeteners with artificial flavorings for taste. Some contain added vitamins and minerals. You won't lose weight simply by drinking them. But you could consume fewer calories. Research shows, however, that drinking one's food can fool the body into consuming more calories than if a person ate a regular meal. Chewing food is a better weight-loss strategy. Soy is also indicated as suppressing thyroid production, which can slow your metabolism.

Bitter orange. Also known as citrus aurantium, bitter orange has replaced ephedra in some weight-loss supplements since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned ephedra. It appears to be safer with fewer dramatic side effects than ephedra. Bitter orange stimulates the adrenal glands to rev up a person's metabolic rate and burn off body fat. Recently the FDA has placed bitter orange on its watch list because users are reporting undesirable side effects, such as increased blood pressure and heart palpitations.

CortiSlim. This is a brand-name product designed to reduce stress-induced cortisol levels while helping a person lose weight through a combination of bitter orange and caffeine. In effect, the product relaxes the body while hyping it up. You can find cortisol-lowering products that don't include bitter orange.

Bedtime potions. The labels claim you can shed extra pounds while you sleep. You're supposed to avoid eating anything for three hours before bed and take a spoonful or two of the potion right before you go to sleep. If these work at all, most likely it's because you won't be eating after dinner. Instead of purchasing the potion, don't eat three hours before bedtime. Product brand names include Calorad and Body Solutions.

Forslean. An award-winning extract of the coleus forskolii plant—an ayurvedic medicine herb. Forslean normalizes thyroid function, which helps you lose weight. The thyroid is the endocrine gland that regulates metabolism. Research indicates that forslean helps reduce blood pressure, reduces eczema and psoriasis, and reduces allergic reactions and asthma. Research from double-blind studies indicates the product is safe and effective for weight loss. The best delivery system for forslean is a transdermal patch. Forslean is not a magic bullet, so you'll still need to eat balanced meals, eat 0-5, and get regular exercise along with wearing the patch.

If you find other weight-loss supplements, be sure to do your research before you buy. You can expect the website to praise the product along with published testimonials, so dig deeper. Check out the Internet for any negative comments about the product. Check out the scientific research and any FDA comments or warnings. Then decide whether you want to give the product a try.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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