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The Truth About Weight Loss Pills

Written by: Karen Duncan



The Many Ingredients Used in Weight Loss Pills
The allure of taking a pill and miraculously losing weight holds a rather strong appeal for many. However, what's really in all of those hundreds of products that each claim to cause weight loss, and what are the other common uses for these ingredients?

Hoodia Gordonii
Hoodia gordonii's claim to fame is that it decreases appetite. Although there hasn't yet been any conclusive evidence of this spiny plant that's considered an endangered species actually causing weight loss or a decrease in appetite.

Green Tea
Green tea extract has been used in weight loss pills as it supposed to increase metabolism while decreasing appetite. Green tea is also used for preventing and treating a wide variety of ailments and diseases, with claims of reducing certain types of cancers, improving brain and heart function, and treating indigestion, among others. Many claims were shown to be unfounded, and weight loss pills containing green tea may also contain high amounts of caffeine or cause intestinal problems in some people.

Guar Gum
Guar Gum: Although a relatively safe substance, guar gum, which is also called guaran that comes from ground guar beans, may cause gastrointestinal problems in some people, and isn't likely to promote weight loss. Once used frequently in weight loss pills, guar gum is no longer approved by the FDA in over-the-counter products claiming to cause weight reduction.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
This substance is primarily found in the meat and dairy products of animals who digest their food in a two step process known as rumination, such as cows, sheep, camels, deer, and bison. CLA is a trans fat that has shown antioxidant properties in studies on mice, and has also been shown to reduce body fat in humans. However, it's possible that conjugated linoleic acid may cause insulin resistance, a condition that increases the risk of diabetes, as well as other side effects such as diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues.

Bitter Orange
The long-term effects of weight loss pills containing bitter orange extract aren't yet known, although the extract has been used for years in traditional Chinese medicine along with various herbs. The fruit of the bitter orange tree contains synephrine, which is a stimulant similar to ephedrine and may cause heart problems or high blood pressure in some.

Chitosan
This substance is derived from the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp and is often found in weight loss pills, although its main uses are enhancing plant growth, and aiding the process of water filtration. For dieting, chitosan is supposed to have the ability to draw fats from the digestive system, allowing one to still lose weight without eating fewer calories. This hasn't yet been scientifically proven despite claims that chitosan is capable of absorbing as much as six times its weight in oils and fats.

Chromium Picolinate
This chemical compound is sold as a nutritional supplement for dieting, although studies haven't proven the claims that it promotes muscle growth and facilitates fat loss. More clinical trials are necessary to conclusively determine the benefits, or risks, of taking chromium picolinate for losing weight.

 

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