How do I Choose the Best Weight Loss Supplement?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
A digital bathroom scale may be used to track weight loss.
A digital bathroom scale may be used to track weight loss.

The idea that one can choose the best weight loss supplement is controversial. Standard medical wisdom suggests that very few of these medications perform as promised, though supplement companies have excellent sales techniques that keep customers demanding them. In addition, most weight loss supplements are not subject to the same types of testing of standard prescribed drugs, and this makes verifying their usefulness very difficult. Even when scientific testing is claimed on some weight loss drugs, it isn’t necessarily verified, and the fine print on research may suggest limited studies or other reasons for weight loss.

Prior to taking a weight loss supplement, it is important to speak with your doctor, as not all supplements are effective or safe for all patients.
Prior to taking a weight loss supplement, it is important to speak with your doctor, as not all supplements are effective or safe for all patients.

Given this information, it becomes much more difficult to choose the best weight loss supplement, and new ingredients are constantly entering the field as contenders. One drug shown to have some benefits is Alli®, which is a lower strength version of a prescription medication. There is evidence that Alli® does work to a limited degree, but it comes with side effects that people aren’t always pleased with, including bouts of watery diarrhea or loss of bowel control if too much fat is consumed. Alli® proves quite clearly that a person should choose the best weight loss supplement with some understanding of how it may work or effect the body.

A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.
A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.

Another supplement sold in some countries is ephedra. This was shown to be effective for weight loss, but it had the unfortunate side effect of damaging the heart function of some of its users. Many countries no longer sell ephedra due to its potential danger, and though it is available in some markets, it is not recommended, no matter how well it might work

These two examples suggest some rules that can be derived when a person wants to choose the best weight loss supplement. First it’s important to understand safety issues and/or side effects associated with a particular substance. Second, to find something that may work, it is a good idea to look for independent research, preferably conducted by a drug agency or food safety agency, which suggests a drug may be of value. It’s also recommended people realize that even the most potentially beneficial supplements may be limited without serious changes to diet and exercise habits.

One other way that a person can choose the best weight loss supplement is by choosing a multi-vitamin. If people are cutting food in the diet to lose weight, they might find themselves short a few vitamins. For instance, a vegan diet can be very low in vitamin B12. When people make huge changes in diet, they may want to speak to their physicians about needed vitamin or mineral supplementation.

It bears repeating that no magic bullet weight loss supplement exists. In most supplement ads, buried in the text or talking, there will be a claim that the supplement doesn’t work without diet or exercise changes. The question for many people is whether weight loss would have occurred due to these changes alone, and without supplement use.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • A digital bathroom scale may be used to track weight loss.
      A digital bathroom scale may be used to track weight loss.
    • Prior to taking a weight loss supplement, it is important to speak with your doctor, as not all supplements are effective or safe for all patients.
      Prior to taking a weight loss supplement, it is important to speak with your doctor, as not all supplements are effective or safe for all patients.
    • A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.
      A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.