Eating healthy and exercising regularly is the only surefire way to lose weight. But when weight loss efforts are slow going (or stall completely) sometimes it’s tempting to turn to weight loss supplements to give your body a helping hand.
The problem is, the weight loss supplement market is so flooded with products, it’s hard to decide what to try. You don’t want to waste money on a supplement that’s ineffective…or even worse, dangerous.
So how do you sort through the gimmicks, marketing hype and anecdotal evidence to find a product that will actually help you lose weight?
Well, luckily, scientists have done most of the hard work for you. There are three weight loss supplements with strong scientific evidence proving they’re safe and effective. But they’re not the ones you’d necessarily expect…
When you think about weight loss supplements, you don’t usually think about probiotics, but you should! Taking probiotics is a proven way to lose weight and belly fat. In fact, studies show taking probiotics can help you lose weight in as little as three to twelve weeks. But if you want to use probiotics for weight loss, studies show you should take them for at least eight weeks for the best results. You should also take a supplement that contains more than one bacteria strain.
There is one ingredient you’ll find in most weight loss supplements—caffeine. That’s because caffeine is scientifically proven to boost your metabolism and suppress your appetite. It also increases energy levels, which helps you break out of your sedentary slump and move more.
Now, I’m not necessarily recommending you start popping caffeine pills. A few cups of coffee or tea per day could do the trick. Coffee and tea have so many other health benefits, it’s a good idea to drink a few cups per day anyway.
But if you’d rather try a supplement than sip on coffee or tea all day, you can try green coffee bean extract, which is safe and effective. Green coffee bean extract contains caffeine, but it also contains a compound called chlorogenic acid, which has been shown in studies to lower carbohydrate absorption and contribute to weight loss.
You want to fill your gut with healthy bacteria from probiotics to encourage weight loss, but you also want to feed these healthy bacteria…and that’s where fiber comes in. The good bacteria in your gut feeds on fiber.
One study shows that eating more fiber can boost levels of a healthy gut bacteria called Bacteroidetes, which is usually found in the guts of lean people. And studies consistently tie low fiber diets to weight gain.
You don’t necessarily have to turn to a fiber supplement to get more fiber. You can choose to eat more fiber in your diet. But since so many people seem to struggle with getting enough fiber through diet alone, a scoop of fiber powder in your morning smoothie isn’t a bad idea.
Are you surprised that most of the weight loss supplements I mentioned aren’t the ones you’d find in the weight loss aisle? That’s because too many weight loss supplements don’t have enough scientific evidence behind them. But these tried and true supplements that support overall health also support weight loss in a safe and effective way you can count on.
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- Probiotics linked to weight loss in obese, overweight — MedicalXpress. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- Consuming probiotics promotes weight loss and reduces BMI — MedicalXpress. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- Zhang, et al. “Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials.” — International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016.
- Does caffeine help with weight loss? — Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- W. Kim, et al. “Effect of caffeine on the metabolic responses of lipolysis and activated sweat gland density in human during physical activity.” — Food Science and Biotechnology. August 2010, 19(4): 1077–1081.
- K. Han, et al. “Anti-obesity action of oolong tea.” — International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. Jan 1999, 23(1):98-105.
- How green coffee been extract works — Medical News Today. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- Shift in gut bacteria observed in fiber supplement study may offer good news for weight loss — MedicalXpress. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- A PSA from your gut microbes: Enjoy the holidays but don’t forget your fiber — MedicalXpress. Retrieved January 25, 2018.