Fat loss supplements come in a variety of forms – some supplements work by increasing your metabolism, others work by decreasing your appetite. There are others, even, that work by preventing your body from being able to absorb dietary fat, so that you end up taking in fewer calories than you are used to.
This means that you are more likely to end up in a calorie deficit, and therefore you will burn fat slowly over time, approaching your ideal weight.
Are These Supplements Worth Taking?
If you can find fat loss supplements that will do any of the above things, then yes, they could well help you to lose weight. The main issue is that a lot of fat loss supplements are either not very strong at all, or do not actually do any of the things stated above.
Even among the ones that are effective, you might end up in a situation where the supplement does have some effect, but the effect is not as strong as it initially sounds – for example, a thermogenic fat loss supplement will increase your metabolic rate – but the increase may be only a hundred or so calories a day.
If you are eating more calories than you burn on a daily basis, then you will not lose weight, and increasing your metabolic rate won’t have much impact at all.
There is a danger of something called the ‘halo effect’ with fat loss supplements, too – if you think that you are going to lose weight because you are taking supplements, then you might decide that you deserve that extra cookie or a treat after work. You might be more willing to skip the gym too – the supplements will give you a false sense of security, and this will make you more lax about your diet.
This is more dangerous with the appetite suppressing supplements and the ones that work by increasing your metabolic rate, because the effects of those are subtle. With other supplements – ones that work by blocking your body’s ability to absorb fat – there is less danger of this happening.
These supplements can have nasty side-effects though. If you eat fat and your body cannot absorb it properly, then it will come out in your stools – producing oily stools and in some cases even giving you leakage, which can be surprising, unpleasant and potentially embarrassing.
Most people learn quite quickly that they should not eat fatty foods while they are on these supplements, because of the side effects. In a way, this is a good thing, because it forces them to get more creative about what they eat. If you remember what you learn, and then stick to that even when you stop taking the supplements, then you will keep the weight off. However, if you do not remember what you have learned, and you return to your old eating habits, then you could be in danger of regaining all of the weight that you have lost, and potentially more.
An Expensive Route To Weight Loss
This is one of the biggest problems with this kind of supplement. If you really want to lose weight, then you should not look at throwing money at the problem, but instead try to learn a more positive relationship with food.
Look for ways to exercise more, and to eat a less calorie dense diet. Try to drink more water and less soda, and learn to keep a mental tally of the number of calories that you are eating each day.
With these tactics, you will lose weight even if you aren’t taking supplements. People who have a lot of weight to lose tend to find it easier to lose weight in this way – and then the supplements are there for a helping hand when you are very close to your ideal weight and looking to shed just a few extra pounds.
At that point, the difference of 100 calories or so per day – which is what a stimulant might give you – is going to be more noticeable, and the buffer that the supplements give you will start to pay off.
It makes sense to keep supplements as your ‘ace in the hole’ for that last little bit of weight loss, rather than to use them when you are just getting started, and good lifestyle habits and simple behavior changes will have so much more of an effect.
Whatever you decide, if you are making a massive change to your lifestyle, talk to your doctor first to make sure that you will be OK to do so – this is particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition, or if you are taking any form of prescription medication.