Are Weight Loss Products Actually Effective?

23 July, 2020
95% of weight loss products have shown that they are not effective. You need to be informed and know that most of them don't actually work.

Weight loss products are getting more and more popular. Recently, both products and medications to help you lose weight have become very trendy. However, you can’t trust everything they’re trying to sell you.

You can’t get results without a bit of effort. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, consider a good diet plan and exercise moderately every day.

However, it’s true that there are some weight loss products that help achieve this goal, but not by themselves. So, we need to ask ourselves how effective these weight loss products really are, and if it’s worth buying them at all.

First of all, we need to distinguish between two types of weight loss products that are on the market: diet pills and dietary products.

Weight loss products: diet pills

A person keeping track of her weight loss.

Diet pills are used under a doctor’s prescription. Usually, specialists recommend them to people who are overweight. Also, they are used in addition to following a balanced diet and physical exercise.

These medications can have different effects. On one hand, there are pills that make you feel full with just a small amount of food. On the other, some make it more difficult for the body to absorb fats from food.

Next, we’ll see an example of each type of medicine. Remember, these drugs are only useful in addition to following a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity.

Orlistat

This medicine is derived from lipstatin, which acts in the stomach and intestines. Here, it blocks the digestive enzymes that break down fats for absorption. Since you can’t digest them, they are eliminated through feces.

However, the problem with this medicine is that it also prevents absorbing certain vitamins. Your doctor will probably recommend taking a vitamin supplement if they prescribe this drug.

Apart from decreased vitamin absorption, some other possible side effects are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Fatty stool incontinence

In addition, there’s another version of orlistat that doesn’t require a prescription. This over-the-counter drug is known under the brand name Alli®.

Also read: 10 Common Vitamin Deficiencies and What to Do About Them

Sibutramine

A girl doing crunches.

This drug combines the satiating effect with the acceleration of thermogenesis, or the rate of basal metabolism. So, you burn more calories.

It works like an amphetamine, but with milder effects. Also, it usually doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms, but some users said they experienced it.

Many countries actually stopped selling sibutramine because of its side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Others

In short, a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise is proven to work when it comes to losing weight. So, to what extent are these medications worth taking with their side effects?

Weight loss products: dietary substances

A woman smiling drinking tea.

This is another type of weight loss product that’s becoming increasingly popular. However, 95% of them aren’t effective. It’s important to be well informed and know what they’re trying to sell you. There are some products that can help you lose weight in a healthy way, but most don’t.

Among dietary products, the most widely used are diuretics and laxatives, and fat burners.

For example, some of the former are birdseed milk, senna tea, and aloe vera leaves. These are diuretic and laxative products. Therefore, they help eliminate waste products in the body, but you don’t lose weight.

Maybe you’re also interested: Fight Fluid Retention With These 5 Delicious Diuretic Smoothies

As for the weight loss products that claim to burn fat, there are substances that come from algae, L-carnitine, leptin or conjugated linoleic acid.

They help form muscle tissue while fighting fat formation. Like diet pills, you need to also follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Ultimately, the only thing that will help you lose weight is willpower, which happens with a healthy lifestyle. Some of these weight loss products can help you, but you can’t lose weight without putting in a bit of effort.

  • Carbajal, A. (2013). Manual de Nutrición y Dietética. Departamento de Nutrición. Facultad de Farmacia. Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Furman, B. L. (2011). Orlistat. In xPharm: The Comprehensive Pharmacology Reference. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-008055232-3.62333-5
  • National Institutes of Health. (2017). Suplementos dietéticos para adelgazar.