A Look At The Supplements That Can Help You With Your Diets and Weight Loss and Those That Can’t
The internet is filled with all sorts of weight loss supplements claiming one miracle or another. If you are like most people, you have probably tried most of these supplements in the past. Earlier this year, National Institutes of Health (NIH) warned everyone that started 2018 with a diet and exercise plan that involves herbs, vitamins, pills, or shakes to do their research. Not all fitness supplement work, some will even give you a reverse effect.
To make it easier for dieters, the organization has taken a step further to create two easy-to-use factsheets which is available on the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) website. On this factsheets, you can see at a glance the effectiveness and safety of most the supplements in circulation, you will also see the ingredients within them.
According to Paul Thomas, nutrition Scientist for the ODS and the writer of the factsheets, “people have already made New Year resolutions concerning their overall health, weight, and fitness, thus, ODS thought it proper to give them this factsheet in case they are considering using supplements to achieve their goals”.
One of these supplements which come with the title “Dietary Supplements For Exercise and Athletic Performance” talks about over twenty ingredients in supplements that are believed to improve endurance and strength, increase exercise efficiency and help in achieving fitness goals quicker. In most cases, the products with these ingredients are known as “ergogenic acids“. You can find most of them in drugstores as well as in organic food stores and fitness clubs.
According to studies, some of these ingredients can be helpful in some cases. For instance, Creatine has the ability to help an individual with short bursts of high-intensity activity such as weightlifting. However, it doesn’t do the same for endurance efforts such as distance running. On the other hand, you might improve your aerobic exercise performance by drinking beetroot juice but it is not known whether supplements with this ingredient will give you the same result.
Another ingredient in these factsheets to get a cautious thumb up is Caffeine. Most sports experts are of the opinion that caffeine can help an individual to exercise at the same intensity level for longer and reduce feelings of fatigue. Taking about 400 to 500mg of caffeine per day is safe for an adult. However, experts recommend that you only take 2 to 6 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, at least 15 to 60 minutes before you start your exercise.
The research found no evidence to back up the fitness-related claims of other ingredients. For instance, antioxidants are known to be good for the overall health. However, there is no study to show the role they play in athletic performance. In the same way, ingredients such as Tribulus Terrestris and deer antler velvet which are mostly marketed for male virility and muscle building have no studies to show that are effective and safe.
It may shock you to learn that most of the makers of these supplements don’t actually carry out any studies in people to know whether the supplement is effective and safe. Even the ones that have studies usually use a few number of healthy participants who are mostly men and the studies usually last few days or few weeks at best.
According to the factsheet, other ingredients such as amino acids, tart cherry juice, iron, ginseng, and protein are what you are already getting from your normal daily foods. What this means is that only a few of these ingredients have been shown to really improve exercise and athletic performance. Moreover, those ingredients should only be used by athletes who are committed to eating a good diet and proper training.
One of the factsheets includes supplements which are marketed for weight loss. This is a market where Americans spend an estimated $2 billion yearly. In most cases, people that sell these supplements will make an outrageous claim that their supplement will help you lose weight by blocking the absorption of fat or carbohydrates thereby leading to a reduced appetite or speeding up your metabolism. However, there is little or no evidence to show that they actually work. Moreover, these supplements can be very expensive and can even counteract with other drugs leading to a harmful effect.
Some ingredients in the factsheet such as CLA Safflower Oil can help you lose a significant amount of weight maintain it. Drinking green tea is also effective and safe for most people and can help you lose a small amount of weight. However, green-tea extra pills have been linked to liver damage. This is because a new study found they interact with statin medications.
Other ingredients such as raspberry ketone, bitter orange, and hoodia are backed up with studies that showed they are safe. Alternatively, ingredients such as beta-glucans and garcinia seem to be safe only when you take them as directed but they have not been shown to have any direct effect on weight loss. Without a doubt, most of these ingredients can also lead to unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea and flatulence, headache, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting.
The NIH isn’t saying that people should stop taking supplements entirely. However, they are advocating that you ensure that the supplement you want to take has safe ingredients. There are too many uncertainties in the weight loss industry and everyone should be aware of that, according to Thomas from NIH.
According to the factsheet, you need to talk to your doctor before you start taking any performance or weight-loss supplement. In fact, it is crucial that you talk to your doctor before embarking on such endeavor especially if you are a teenager, pregnant mother, have any medical conditions, or currently taking any other medications or supplements.