The controversy about whether supplements for weight loss are healthy or not has been going on for years. You will find negative and positive reasons for using weight loss supplements. Detractors point out that when you quit taking them you will gain everything back that you easily lost to start with.  But this isn’t always the case.

Dietary supplements claim that they will help you burn body fat and slim down naturally, without the need to diet.  Can such claims be true?  I’ve always heard that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. 

What is a Dietary Supplement?

Just what is a dietary supplement anyway?  According the the USDA, a dietary supplement is

“a product intended for ingestion that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet. A “dietary ingredient” may be one, or any combination, of the following substances:

  • a vitamin
  • a mineral
  • an herb or other botanical
  • an amino acid
  • a dietary substance for use by people to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake
  • a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or extract”

Hmmm.  An herb.  A mineral.  Those don’t sound too dangerous to me.  In fact, they sound exactly like what our ancestors used to treat all kinds of maladies, and sounds like the basis of lots of our medicines today!

Are Dietary Supplements Safe?

Many people think that supplements are not regulated by the FDA.  In fact, they are.  They are regulated as a food, instead of as a drug.   Since they are classified as a food instead ofa drug, the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is responsible for the agency’s oversight of them.  So there isn’t some ‘wild-west’ attitude toward supplements, allowing anything to be sold.  The FDA will not, however, speak to the efficiency of supplements.

Which would you rather take for your health, a FOOD or a DRUG?

Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?

Drugs have effects.  They often product a chemical change in the human body.  If they’re the intended effect of the drug, they’re called ‘effects’.  If they’re unintended, they’re called ‘side-effects’.  Pretty straightforward and easy to test (if not a little scary!).  The FDA instead relies on the weight-loss supplement manufacturer’s claims that products will actually help you lose weight.  Vitamins, as well as diet and excercise, affect people differently and at different speeds.  While you can give a drug to just about anyone and record the effects, with food and vitamins this isn’t always the case.  Case studies are a good way to determine the effectiveness of any product.  I have personally used weight-loss supplements to lose over 30 pounds!  Of course, anyone suffering from a serious medical condition should always consult a doctor before trying to self-diagnose with supplements.  There is a time for medicine too!

Where do I find these supplements?

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In Conclusion

Weight-loss supplements are regulated by the FDA as food.  As with anything in life, it’s up to the consumer to decide what is appropriate for themselves.  I truly believe that finding a product that is natural, plant-based, and proven can be a valuable tool to help anyone quickly lose weight.