A friend of mine lost the wife he loved dearly and was left to raise 2 young kids alone after a trainer at her gym encouraged his wife to use an ephedra-based supplement to lose weight after her second pregnancy. She dropped dead at the gym. I'm so glad to see Sparkpeople urging caution on these types of products!
Fairly good article, although there are a lot more tests done than what you say and some of these products have been in use for hundreds of years. There are a lot of products out there and the best way is to read everything you can get on the different products you might want to try. I personally use Herbs, Etc. Hoodia for controlling appetite and found it to be very effective. It is standarized and is pure Hoodia extract. Many of the things you reported on are pretty ineffective and any product with Ephedra, MaHuang, etc., can cause problems with your heart.
1/11/2010 1:25:35 PM
thanks for this article, although i have never bought any of these products, i now know i won't try to but them either.
1/11/2010 10:13:36 AM
I was given a sample of an appetite suppressant (long time ago and can't remember specifically what it was) from my doctor. I felt like I was stoned. It did suppress my appetite - so completely that I forgot to eat. I didn't take it for long. I decided that it isn't so much my eating that is the problem - it's what I eat and my exercise (or lack thereof). I know I'm on a much better path this time.
I think it interesting that the FDA is ready to jump on any or all of these, and yet prescribe drugs for so many other things that are weight related that have much worse side effects. Such as for weight induced diabetes, or high cholesterol, high blood pressure. Those they say are necessary and worth the risks.
I am not advocating taking any supplements, designed for weight loss, as I so agree with the response that says, lose it the way we gained it, one day at a time, changing our lifestyles, however, I also disagree with the medical community being so critical of various supplements. They are not all...all bad!!! And I would encourage anyone who is even thinking of trying any of these things to really research them for yourself!
I have to admit that I've tried some myself. In 2001(ish) I started taking Ephedra. I LOVED it!! I took it as recommended & I ended up losing just under 50lbs. It jump started my weight loss & gave me the boost I needed to make some much needed changes in my diet & life. I started exercising & eating better...all the while taking the Ephedra. I weaned myself off of it after about 1 1/2yrs, and 9 years later....I still haven't gained any of that weight back! I lead a very healthy lifestyle...between diet & exercise, and can't imagine living any other way. I have to credit the turn-around in my habits to ephedra. I know it's risks, but it totally worked for me! ( I also had tried Hydroxycut, but it made me nauseous & my skin broke out terribly.)
I'm not sure of its scientific legitimacy, but I've recently started taking BeHot supplements for women by GNC, and I'm very pleased. I like that it gives me a surge of energy, I like that there's a fatty acid pill included, but I like the most that it plays a game with me mentally, making me think that when I take it, I can accomplish more, push a little harder, see a workout through to the end.
Once exercise is a part of my daily life as a habit, I will no longer need it, but for now? I'll stick with my supplements!
Some of these substances might have interesting effects that could be helpful on their own, but when you find the products in a supplement store, they are nearly always packed into the same capsule with some kind of caffeine - gotu kola, guarana, etc. - all of which increase respiration and heart rate in exactly the same way, no matter what form of caffeine you take. I almost always drink decaf because caffeine is very over-stimulating for me, so I haven't tried any of these, except for Hoodia - back when I was first starting to try to lose weight and had a hard time sticking to 1200-1500 calories a day. Hoodia worked as an appetite suppressant for me, the problem was that it caused breathing difficulties/asthma, and I was able to isolate the problem to the Hoodia even though supposedly that is not one of its side effects. (Perhaps I got one of those fake-Hoodia products, and was really taking ragweed or something!)
I started to look into using some of these products but was wary of the side effects. I am healthy and I wouldnt' want to start anything that could harm my blood pressure or heart. I have learned there is no fast way to lose weight. It took time to put it on and it will take time to take it off.
I think it is very interesting that everyone jumps on the band wagon to agree with the author when I totally disagree. I own a health food store and although we tell people that diet and exercise is the best antidote to being over weight, some people need a jump start so that they will feel good enough to get off of the couch. I have seen people lose weight with a lot of the supplements that "there are no studies". Well, what it should have said is "there are no studies in the United States that have fallen through the sky and landed on my lap". Many of the products mentioned have been used for years and years without any side effects and there are studies from Europe that are stricter than the U.S. The pharmaceutical companies in the U.S do not want to spend money on researching something that can not be patented. If you believe their best interest is our health care, just keep believing that there is a tooth fairy.
I use a fat blocker that does work and doesn't have the side effects of Alli because this one works in the stomach. You take it after you eat a high fat meal. Be happy to refer any one to it if they want to know more about it.
No matter what addtional weapons we use to fight the battle of the bulge, eating healthier and exercising have always got to be part of the equation for lasting results. It's about being overall healthier not just a number on the scale.
Thought provoking article in that it is a great reminder of how most natural supplement companies don't have the money that pharmaceutical companies do for having the big studies done. I'm sure that the phen/fen drugs were studied before being put on the market and I have some heart damage from using them.
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