We can all use a bit of help when it comes to dropping weight, right? Maybe we put in all the work in the gym, eat right and skip the unnecessary calories, yet there are still those last remaining pounds latching on for dear life. This is where weight loss pills can come in handy.
Of course, make sure to remember these are supplements and not magic pills. You still need to put in the work. However, with the help of these supplements, you can see heightened improvements.
With so many different weight loss pills out there though, which is right for you?
We’ll dive into available options and how they work with your body.
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What Are Some Safe Weight Loss Pills and How Do They Work?
Weight loss pills usually fall into a few different categories (many of the pills here will cross between different categories as well).
The three categories are reducing your appetite, reducing the absorption of fat and carbs, and increasing your calorie burn.
Reducing your appetite makes you feel fuller. You’ll see these marketed as appetite suppressants. If you’ve walked down the supplement section of your local grocery store recently you’ve probably seen name brands like Slim Fast offering these kinds of pills. When you take the pill you feel fuller, so you don’t eat as many calories.
Reduced absorption pills actually blocks your body from absorbing fat. Because your body doesn’t break down or absorb fat you won’t consume the calories found in fat (there are more calories per gram of fat than calories per gram of carbs or protein). By blocking the body from breaking down fat, you’ll cut out the amount of calories you eat.
The third option is increases your calorie burn. These kinds of weight loss pills work in a few different ways. Some will help energize you through a series of ingredients to give you more energy. This way you move more and, as such, burn more calories.
The supplements will also improve your metabolism, so you burn more calories doing the same activities.
Which is Right For You?
Before getting into the more popular brands of pills, let’s look at which is right for you. You don’t want to just grab the first product you see, or the cheapest, or the name brand you recognize. You need to determine what is the best pill for you and also what fits your lifestyle. This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself.
The appetite suppressant pill works if you listen to yourself and your body.
Do you eat only when you feel hungry, or do you eat regardless?
What kind of self control do you have?
If you’re great at listening to what you’re body is saying by all means go this route.
However, if you don’t have as much self control. If you reach for seconds when you know you’re not really that hungry, this pill won’t do much for you.
The fat blocking pills can work for most people. Ideally you should be on a lower fat diet though. Eating whatever you want on these pills can cause an upset stomach and extremely oily bowel movements.
So if you already are on a lower fat diet but want to block out the rest, this may be something to consider. It does work exceptionally well when used properly and can help rid those few hundred calories from your diet to help get you over the hump.
The calorie burning supplement is good if you workout everyday.
Wouldn’t you like to squeeze out more calories during your workouts?
It’s hard to say exactly how many more calories you’ll burn as it depends on your own body and the weight loss pill you’re taking. However, if you’re already putting in the work, this just maximizes the effort.
The kind of weight loss pills is Hydroxycut. This is a brand that’s been around for a while and really helped start the “weight loss pill” craze years ago. Since the original Hydroxycut came out (you may even remember the infomercials), there are a number of options from the company.
You can go with the original pill. There is a gummy option (we tend to not go with the gummy just because it comes coated in sugar, so we go with the non sugar option), a drink-mix option that works like the flavor packets you can get for bottled water, plus several “extreme” versions with more concentrated products.
Depending on the version you go with, there are different extracts and potency levels found in the pills. There is caffeine in it, so if you’re already drinking a good amount of caffeine during the day you may want to be careful just so you don’t overdo it.
In reality, it just helps you burn more calories, which is great as long as you remain active.
One of the benefits of Hydroxycut being out for longer than other brands is the research. More research is available with this brand than most others out there.
In fact, according to The Open Complementary Medicine Journal (2010), a study indicated those who took the supplement and remained active dropped 21 pounds over the course of three months (more than double the control group).
The Alli brand of products is another one you’ve probably seen advertised before. It also has been around for a while too, so there’s more research on the product. The brand name you’re likely most familiar with is Alli, although other brands may use the more medical term as “Orlistat.”
Originally, this product only came as a prescription medication but now it’s available as over the counter (there is still a more powerful prescription option called Xenical).
This kind of pill falls into the “group 2” category of blocking fat. It prevents your body from breaking down and absorbing fat.
By doing this, it helps you take in fewer calories without changing your diet. The commercials for the product would show people at cookouts eating hot dogs and hamburgers. All of this is true. You can eat whatever you’d like.
However, for maximum results (and to avoid undesired stomach cramps and bowel movement issues) we’d recommend trying to stick to a low fat diet whenever possible (just our recommendation, as you may find remaining on whatever diet you’re on is worth it).
There is documented proof of the supplement working. According to the Cochrane Database System (2004), test subjects on Alli dropped six pounds without changing their diet or exercise levels. Those on a dummy pill didn’t see a change in weight.
Unlike other pills on this category, there are other medical benefits beyond just weight loss. It can help slightly reduce your blood pressure and even help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, thanks to it blocking the breakdown of different food groups.
If you have tested positive for any kind of deficiency in Vitamin A, D, E or K, this is not recommended as the pill will prevent further absorption of these vitamins.
It is also recommended to consult your doctor if you’re on any other kind of medication to see if it will prevent your body from breaking down and absorbing the medication.
As long as you’re doctor gives you the go ahead (or you’re not on any kind of current medication), test out the product to see how you like it.
Another popular weight loss pill that’s been around for a while, you may know it by CLA, or you might know it by its full name, “Conjugated Linoleic Acid.” This is a supplement that works with healthy trans fats. Basically, the kinds of fats you’ll find in cheese. The supplement itself works to cut down on your appetite while also boosting your metabolic rate.
The chemical compound within the supplement helps your body target fat cells so you burn fat instead of other ingested foods (such as carbs). So it kind of works in a similar way to a keto diet, without forcing you to completely ditch carbs.
As is the case with the other products so far, as this has been around for a while there is enough research backing up its claim of weight loss. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those on the supplement lost on average 0.2 additional pounds per week for up to six months before it lost its effectiveness.
If you’re counting that’s about .8 pounds per month, or 4.8 more pounds per six months over what someone not taking the supplement would experience. So if you’ve been struggling putting off those final five pounds, this may just be the answer.
It is important to note the loss of effectiveness. This will happen with most weight loss supplements.
As your body adapts to the product and learns how to better digest and consume it, the product will no longer work as well.
It’s no different than your lifting workout. If you perform the same lifts every time in the gym for months, your body will adapt and you won’t see the same kind of gains. That’s why it is best to always switch it up.
So take CLA (as an example) for a few months, then swap it for a different weight loss pill. You can even have a few buffer weeks in there so your body can adapt back to life without a weight loss pill before you add it back in (because chances are, different weight loss pills will contain similar ingredients, so giving it the extra buffer time helps increase the impact of the new weight loss pill).
Green Tea Extract
Green tea is one of the best beverages you can include in your daily diet.
If you’re not yet drinking green tea you should start. Green tea is packed with antioxidants while boosting your metabolic rate. This is essentially what green tea extract does, only at a concentrated level.
There are different brands of green tea extract, so the exact concentration levels will vary from one product to the next. If you have a sensitive stomach or have not taken well to other weight loss pills, this is an excellent option to consider. There is some caffeine within the extract, but not to the same level as other supplements.
According to Physiology and Behavior (2010), green tea helps target fat buildups in the belly region of the body. Now, it doesn’t exclusively target this area, as the body still more or less dictates the regions of fat storage used to burn as energy, but it points the body into this area initially.
When using a green tea supplement, it gives you not only the supercharged metabolic boost and the ability to semi-target fat storage in your stomach, but it provides you with the desired health benefits of green tea as well.
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Don’t Combine at Once
It is best not to combine multiple weight loss pills at the same time. Some may counteract with others. Additionally, as some do contain higher amounts of caffeine, doubling up on this can irritate the stomach and cause the heart to race, so stick to one at a time.
When using weight loss pills make sure to follow the recommended dosage. Some of these pills are highly concentrated, so going overboard with the supplements may cause problems (especially in the digestive tract where the pills are broken down, or even with the heart if there is an elevated level of caffeine in the pill).
We also recommend not consistently staying on one pill. You need time off of every supplement you take so your body can even back out.
Plus, if you take the same pill for months on end it will lose its potency. Keep all of that in mind when selecting your next safe weight loss pill to go with your diet and workout regimen.