The advancement of technology and enhancement of electronic resources can be a double edged sword when looking at health and wellness information. While it is easy to find the answers to various questions about exercise and nutrition, there are also an abundance of sources that are giving out information. Some of these sources are credible and some are not. There are many products being marketed on both the Internet and in stores. It is important to avoid making unhealthy decisions just because someone has given a product their false stamp of approval. Some common examples of “Quick Fix”follow. Use these examples to educate yourself on some of the self proclaimed health and fitness products on the market.
Ephedra – Ephedra is a natural grown herb that is used for many different purposes. An ingredient in Ephedra is ephedrine, which has been associated with both short term weight loss and long term health detriments. Even though ephedrine products were effectively banned in 2004 throughout the United States, it is still in use by various athletes and people trying to lose weight. A series of studies conducted throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s demonstrated great risk from supplementing with ephedrine. Side effects include high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heat stroke, seizures and sometimes even death. The benefit of using ephedrine is that it may increase performance levels and calorie expenditure by speeding up the body’s regulatory system. The benefits that come from using it are greatly outweighed by the consequences. If you know someone that may be using ephedrine, advise them to stop.
Appetite Suppressants- There are various appetite suppressants on the market. One drug, known as Sibutramine, has been shown to decrease feelings of hunger by adjusting hormone levels in certain areas of the brain. Side effects have been reported such as insomnia, blood pressure increases and constipation. There are also other appetite drugs on the market but this area of weight loss remedy is one that is still fairly new. Much research is being conducted with suppression drugs, especially in long term use. There has been much evidence of these drugs influencing blood pressure and possible heart disease risk. An issue that an appetite suppressant won’t help is binge eating disorder. Something to also keep in mind is that when using appetite suppressants, it may be possible for the body to build up a tolerance to them after long term use causing the drug to be ineffective.
Fat Blockers – The term “fat blocker” usually refers to products such as Alli or Xenica with the principal ingredient being Orlistat. These have been developed to block both the digestion and absorption of fat. Calories from fat are then passed through bowels instead. While patients taking it have successfully lost weight in short term periods, there are also long term health detriments involved. Some of the side effects include increased flatulence, incontinence and regular abdominal pain. If dietary modifications are not made there has also been an increased risk of vitamin deficiencies shown. Many people that have lost weight on the drug have done so because they removed fat from their diet. Fat removal was done to get rid of the stomach issues that take place when fat calories are consumed. The bottom line is that whether you are taking a fat blocker or not, you will still have to modify your diet, so why mess with it?
Quackery Pills – There is no specific ingredient in these pills but they are all over the place. They used to always be featured in late night infomercials, but luckily, society has wised up to the commercials. Now you may see “Weight Loss Pills” gracing the pages of magazines and mostly dominating the internet in the form of pop up windows and ad banners. These pills basically have no active ingredient for effective weight loss and they are falsely advertised to suggest otherwise. Common phrases you’ll see in advertisements for quackery pills include the following: “Lose 30 lbs in 30 days without exercise!”, “Finally get rid of the fat in your stomach!”, and “You’ll be toned in a matter of a week!”. As I always say, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Fat Burners - These are pills that utilize ingredients containing some of the following items: Caffeine, yohimbe extract, green tea extract, black tea extract, taurine or vitamin B. Most fat burners combine natural ingredients such as the ones I listed with numerous processed ingredients. While things like caffeine and taurine are okay in moderation, it is better to get them from other sources. Drinking something like a glass of green tea or a cup of coffee in the morning is better than subscribing to fat burners. Even when caffeine from natural sources is used, it must be used in moderation because it speeds up the body and it is also addictive. When it’s all said and done the best way to burn fat is to move around more.
Anything that uses the phrase “negative calories” - According to various diet companies, a negative calorie food is one that causes more calories to be burned in the digestive process than those that come from the food itself. It is true that all foods cost energy to go through the digestive process. After all, the organs like your stomach and small intestine use energy just like everything else. The truth is, though, no food will give you a net loss of calories. At its highest, the energy cost of food digestion may reach levels close to 30 percent of the calories in. So even if a diet company is telling you that asparagus will make you lose weight, that is a myth. It can help you lose weight by taking the place of a higher calorie food, but you will not magically shed pounds just by consuming it.
There are more and more weight loss advances coming to light every day. With every piece of new information discovered, false information also makes its way into the limelight. Unfortunately, new pills also pop up every day. Some get banned from the market and some slip under the radar of federal regulation. Just because something is on the shelves or legal does not make it safe. Before popping any kind of pill into your mouth, make sure you do your research and that you are familiar with all of the ingredients. The nice thing about the Internet is that you can find anything. So, if you are really curious about a product, type in each of the ingredients on a search engine and learn about what they do. Educating yourself is the best way to avoid getting scammed by a false weight loss supplement. Instead of a “quick fix,” eat healthy and exercise regularly. This is the philosophy followed by Shane Diet Resorts weight loss camp for adults!