All of us know how cumbersome a task losing weight is. Sometimes, we put ourselves through strict diets, rigorous workouts and more than enough self-restraint, yet the desired perfect body seems far away. The key to losing weight is not starving yourself, but eating the right combination of food-food that will shift your body from ‘fat storage’ mode to ‘fat melting’ mode. There are certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrient concentrations that when taken along with a healthy diet and workout regimen have the ability to reverse your metabolism and help your body process macro-nutrients more efficiently.
The weight loss supplements work via the mechanism of reducing appetite, reducing absorption of fat-like nutrients and increasing fat burning. However, always talk to your doctor if you’re unsure whether a supplement is right for you. So if you’re looking to lose fat, stock up on these 10 supplements.
Protein suppresses your appetite and thus helps keep hunger in check. It maintains body composition i.e. the amount of fat relative to muscle by replacing the fat to muscle, which in turn has higher metabolic rate. A study from University of Illinois observes that people who consumed protein twice daily lost 3.9 per cent more weight than those who consumed less of it on a diet. Also, a protein rich diet makes you stronger. No wonder it is every gym junkie’s best friend!
Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Several studies show that caffeine helps promote fat oxidation or your body’s ability to break down large fat molecules to use as energy. Apart from providing the antioxidants, it stimulates the central nervous system to release molecules and nutrients in your body to be burned for energy and calcium to help muscle contraction. In a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, it is shown that caffeine helps you in working out harder. People who ingested caffeine before a workout burned more calories and actually enjoyed their gym time more as compared to the times when they did not ingest caffeine. However, its daily intake should be limited to approximately 400 mg as excess of it may lead to increase in anxiety and risk of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Vitamin D
Studies have shown that apart from dealing with depression, this vitamin also acts as commander of the body receptors, including the ones that tell your systems to store or burn fat and whether you’re hungry. It is found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher risk of obesity. Vitamin D helps ensure that body cells respond to insulin. The more sensitive your cells are to insulin, the more glucose is burned for energy. The less sensitive they are to insulin, the more calories end up in the fat cells.
Calcium works in coordination with vitamin D to help shed fat. Research shows that the more calcium is stored in fat cells, the more that fat cell is likely to be released to be burned. It also promotes weight loss by binding to fat in your GI tract and preventing some of it from getting absorbed in your bloodstream. Apart from this, we all know how crucial it is for strengthening the bones and healthy bones imply a healthy body that is fit for workouts!
5. Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements. The polyphenol in green tea, EGCG, increases the activity of norephrine, a hormone that helps you burn fat. It is highly effective for people who wish to lose their belly fat. The body heats up after drinking the tea and calories are emitted out as heat. For this reason, green tea is a great winter elixir and provides warm and soothing effect that can be felt right after consuming it.
6. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA has been a popular fat loss supplement for years. It is a trans-fat found along with calcium and vitamin D in dairy products such as cheese and butter. CLA, when consumed, stimulates the breakdown of body fat by helping glucose enter body cells so that it can be used for energy and not be stored as fat. In this way, it reduces appetite and improves metabolism of the body. What you need to be cautious about is that if consumed for over a long time, it can cause digestive side effects and may contribute to liver fat.
7. Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
This is obtained from the fruit garcinia cambogia found in South East Asia and is marketed as diet pills. HCA helps suppress your appetite and inhibits fat producing enzymes in the body by increasing the levels of serotonin, a hormone known to curb cravings, in the body. However, it is effective only when the garcinia extract contains at least 50 per cent of HCA. This compound is capable of reducing weight without causing any side effects.
8. Bitter Orange
Found in Africa and tropical Asia, this fruit contains synephrine that is considered as an alternative for ephedrine that has been banned. It works by increasing the number of calories burned. It should be avoided by people suffering from heart conditions as it has supposedly been seen to increase heart rate.
Glucomannan is a type of fiber found in the roots of a plant called kojac. Its main function is to prevent body from absorbing fat from your food. It absorbs water, becomes gel-like and stays in your gut making you feel full. It is also seen to lower blood sugar and cholesterol level and is very effective against constipation. It is important that it is taken about half an hour before meals along with a glass of water. Its downside is that it may make it harder for your body to absorb medications and therefore the medicines, if any, should be taken either one hour before or four hours after taking glucomannan.
Chromium is a mineral required by our body to be able to metabolise macronutrients properly. It helps insulin metabolise fat and convert sugar into energy. It also reduces appetite by lowering sugar cravings. Chromium is also an important element used for storing carbohydrates and proteins. Hence, when your body loses necessary elements after vigorous exercises, it replenishes the body’s nutrients bank. Specifically for the purpose of weight loss, capsules of chromium picolinate are available in the market.
Out of the above ten supplements, green tea extract and glucomannan are considered to be the best. There are many more compounds such as glutamine, meratrim and chitosan that are seen beneficial in reducing weight. It must be kept in mind that they are ineffective on their own and work only when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.