Gained weight this season? Before you’re lured by January promotions that advertise “fat-melting,” “appetite-suppressing,” “metabolism-boosting” weight-loss aids, get your guard up! Even if they foster short-term results, they’re likely ineffective in the long run.
First, two gimmicks: Electric muscle stimulators don’t really work your muscles, so you don’t burn calories. Rubber belts and nylon clothes that make you sweat promote water loss, not fat loss.
About a few weight-loss supplements: Products with ephedra may suppress appetite and slightly boost metabolism; however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes serious adverse effects (high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, stroke, to name a few), especially when taken with caffeine. Taking guarana to make ephedra more potent makes it potentially more harmful. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) probably won’t promote weight loss, but it probably won’t hurt you either. Chitosan may reduce fat absorption (and fat-soluble vitamins), but its effectiveness and long-term safety isn’t known. And chromium, which helps regulate insulin, probably won’t promote weight loss or improve muscle mass much, if at all; it also can be toxic in high doses.
If a weight-loss product sounds too remarkable, it probably is! The Federal Trade Commission reports that 55 percent of weight-loss ads make misleading or false claims.
Before you buy:
- Check with a registered dietitian. Find a local expert through www.eatright.org.
- Talk to your doctor, especially if you take other medications.