People frequently ask me about weight loss products, especially the supposedly “natural” slimming formulas that come in the form of herbal or nutritional supplements. I could not possibly keep up with all the dietary supplements flooding the market. But I can say that no matter how persuasive the ads or how much money you spend, you will never find a magic bullet for healthy weight loss.
Natural Slimming Products and Dietary Supplements
The U.S. government does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates pharmaceuticals. When you buy such a product, you are placing your trust in the manufacturer that it:
- really contains the ingredients listed on the label
- is not only safe, but also effective
- was harvested, extracted and/or produced using high-quality ingredients and manufacturing standards
- is not contaminated
- will not interact dangerously with medications, supplements or foods
Trust? Maybe. Verify? Definitely!
Because of these problems, it would be easy to take a broad stroke and denounce all herbs and other dietary supplements. But there are many of these products that are produced under strict standards and are indeed safe, effective and useful health aids.
How can you tell the good from the bad? For now, you are largely on your own to research quality, safety and efficacy issues. If you find reliable evidence that a particular supplement has medicinal value, do not skip the next step. Check out the manufacturer to make sure you are buying a product that will help you, not harm you. Gradually, more information on these products is becoming part of the mainstream medical literature.
The Real Secret to Weight Loss Is Hard Work
The second issue is weight-loss pills and products. We have mountains of proof that there is no magic weight-loss solution. Yet we spend billions of dollars each year looking for one. Even the government-approved diet drugs warn that they will not work by themselves — you have to make the effort and commitment to lifestyle changes if you want to take off weight permanently.
Many studies show that weight loss that results from pills and crash diets is short-term weight loss, with most people eventually gaining back everything they lost, plus some.
The key to permanent weight loss is exercising and eating a healthy and balanced low-fat diet that avoids extremes. If there is a secret to success, it is to make long-term goals and change your habits slowly, incrementally over a period of months or as long as you need to make the changes stick.