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Natural Weight Loss Supplements

Will Natural Weight Loss Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

If you Google “natural weight loss supplements,” prepare to be overwhelmed ― there are currently over four million search results for the term “natural weight loss supplements!”

Not only is that an impossible amount of material to sift through and try to make sense of, it’s also full of bogus information. So prepare to be misled, as well.

The weight loss supplement industry is notorious for unscrupulous characters who prey upon the millions of Americans who are desperate to lose weight. They’re always coming up with new marketing fads designed to grab our attention and fill us with false hope. Lately, it’s “natural weight loss supplements.”

There are literally millions of websites dedicated to convincing you to buy and try natural weight loss supplements in every imaginable category, including:

  • Natural weight loss pills
  • Natural weight loss shakes
  • Natural weight loss herbs
  • Natural weight loss teas
  • Natural weight loss vitamins
  • Natural weight loss fat burners
  • Natural weight loss meal-replacement bars

Some sites promise unbiased reviews or rankings of popular natural weight loss products but are actually just marketing sites made to look like third-party reviews.

This post will help you separate facts about natural supplements from marketing hype, so you can be an informed consumer and make the best choices for you and your weight loss.

Some of the questions we will seek to answer include:

  • What does it mean when a weight loss supplement’s label says it is “natural?”
  • Will natural weight loss supplements help you lose weight?
  • What should you know before you purchase natural weight loss supplements?
  • Most importantly, are natural weight loss supplements safe or “good” for you?

What does it mean when a weight loss supplement’s label says it is “natural?”

The short answer to this question is: not much.

The word “natural” shows up on so many product labels, from weight loss pills, vitamins and dietary supplements to laundry detergent, home cleaning products and packaged foods.

“Natural” may be the most abused food label fib because there are no laws, legal requirements or rules for its use.

On its website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says:

“Although the FDA has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term ‘natural,’ we do have a longstanding policy concerning the use of ‘natural’ in human food labeling. The FDA has considered the term ‘natural’ to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.”

Confused? So are we. According to this loose standard, a weight loss supplement labeled natural may contain, for example, extracts and oils from genetically modified plants, seeds and herbs.

What’s more, the Global Healing Center produced a fascinating report on synthetic vitamins that goes into great detail about how easy it is for dietary supplement and vitamin makers to work around the FDA’s natural labeling guidelines:

“Unfortunately, vitamins can be labeled as natural if they contain as little as 10% of the natural form of the vitamin. This means that your ‘natural’ vitamin could contain 90% of synthetically produced chemicals!

Or, as Consumer Reports puts it:

“[Natural] doesn’t mean ‘organic,’ ‘free of genetically modified organisms,’ or ‘no artificial ingredients,’ or that a product is safe to take. Instead, it can mean whatever a manufacturer wants it to mean — or nothing at all.”

Will natural weight loss supplements help you lose weight?

Natural weight loss supplements can help you lose weight, but there is no guarantee they will help you lose weight.

Natural weight loss supplements vary greatly in effectiveness. Even the best natural weight loss supplements, including supplements that are shown to be effective in clinical trials for the majority of people taking them, don’t work the same or as well for every individual.

Every person’s body responds differently to supplements, and there are many variables that affect an individual’s weight loss results. A supplement that is effective for one person may not be effective for another person.

The two factors that have the greatest influence on a supplement’s effectiveness are its active ingredients and/or mode of action.

Most weight loss supplements contain ingredients such as natural herbs, herbal extracts, fiber or stimulants. These ingredients are referred to as “actives” because they are known (or believed) to act on the body to produce a specific effect that will aid in weight loss or make losing weight easier.

Some supplement ingredients help to suppress appetite, some help to burn fat, while others work to block fat.

You may be familiar with some common weight loss supplement ingredients, such as caffeine (Hydroxycut), garcinia cambogia, glucomannan (konjac root, Lipozene), green tea extract, ketones and the synthetic fat-blocker orlistat (Alli).

In our previous post, Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes & Vitamins, we examine in great detail the weight loss supplement ingredients mentioned above and others, reviewing evidence of each ingredient’s effectiveness based on clinical trials.

As you’ll see in our post, scientific evidence regarding the benefits and effectiveness of most weight loss supplement ingredients ― both natural ingredients and synthetic drugs ― remains open to debate.

Generally speaking, weight-loss pills — whether prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, herbal products or other natural dietary supplements — can help you lose weight … but only when they are taken as one part of a sensible and sustainable weight loss strategy based around smart lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy, balanced diet.

What should you know before you purchase natural weight loss supplements?

The first thing you should look at when considering a natural weight loss supplement is whether the product will really work to help you lose weight.

As mentioned above, our previous post, Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes & Vitamins, examines evidence, based on clinical trials, of the effectiveness of various weight loss supplement ingredients.

The second item to consider is whether the product’s ingredients are, in fact, natural.

Given the broad and somewhat ill-defined standards for natural products, it’s not always easy to know if the supplement you’re taking is actually natural, but one clear signal a product is not natural is when it contains a drug.

For example, the active ingredient in the popular over-the-counter fat blocker Alli is a synthetic drug called orlistat. So, while clinical trials have shown orlistat to be moderately effective in aiding weight loss, it is not a natural ingredient.

What’s more, orlistat is known to cause a number of unwanted side effects, which brings us to our third “must know” item when considering a natural weight loss supplement. We will discuss side effects in greater detail in the next section of this post.

Are natural weight loss supplements safe or “good” for you?

The down side of many weight loss supplement actives, even “natural” ingredients, is that they act on the body un unwanted ways, causing side effects.

Most hunger-control supplements and fat burners, for example, rely on caffeine and other stimulants that have the potential for side effects that range from jitters to sleeplessness and racing heart.

Some fat blocker ingredients such as orlistat (Alli) are notorious for uncomfortable, urgent and embarrassing gastrointestinal side effects because they interfere with the body’s natural digestive processes to expel nutrients through the colon undigested.

If a supplement can cause an effect, chances are it can cause a side effect, and “natural” does not always mean safe.

Poison ivy is natural. So is the flu virus. Some “natural” weight loss supplement ingredients, like products containing high levels of caffeine and other “natural” stimulants, are among the most harmful and should be avoided.

As the National Institutes of Health quotes on its website: “… even minor adverse events shift the delicate risk-benefits balance against [supplement] use.”

Always talk to your doctor or health care provider to discuss possible side effects and other safety concerns before beginning a natural weight loss supplement plan.

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Weight Loss Supplements For Men: What Works Best (Science Based)

Weight Loss Supplements For Men: What Works Best (Science Based)

For many years, the weight loss industry geared almost all its products toward women. Men, it was believed, weren’t as concerned about weight loss, so you didn’t see many ads for weight loss supplements for men.

They had it all wrong. Men care just as much about their weight, sometimes they need help losing weight, and they want to know what weight loss supplements work best for men.

This post aims to clear up some of the misconceptions about weight loss supplements for men.

We will cover the benefits, effectiveness and potential health risks and safety concerns around weight loss supplements for men, including evidence from clinical trials.

Before we jump into a conversation about supplements, though, let’s begin with a discussion of some of the ways men are different than women when it comes to weight loss.

Do men really lose weight faster than women?

There’s a widely held belief that men have a physiological edge when it comes to weight loss.

The idea is that men’s bodies have a higher percentage of lean muscle tissue, and lean muscle burns fat, so men have an easier time losing weight thanks to a faster resting metabolism.

And it’s true … to an extent. The key to the accelerated rate of weight loss for men lies in hormones. Men have more testosterone and less estrogen, which makes their bodies leaner, with anywhere from 6 to 11 percent less body fat, on average.

The extra lean muscle tissue in men’s bodies does give them a weight loss advantage.

As WebMD notes, “… when men and women cut the same number of calories, men usually do lose more weight ― but it’s short-term.”

It’s important to mention that weight loss for men and women evens out at one point. A British Journal of Nutrition study showed that when men and women used commercial weight-loss programs such as Atkins, Slim-Fast and Weight Watchers, the men lost twice as much weight and three times as much body fat as the women in the first two months.

But weight loss for men ultimately levels off. By six months into the British study, for example, the total pounds lost for men and women evened out.

This is because as women lose weight, their bodies become leaner, allowing them to burn fat faster and “catch up” with men from a metabolic standpoint.

The takeaway: Men lose weight faster in the early stages of weight loss, which can provide a great psychological boost. But men’s weight loss eventually plateaus, so you have to prepare yourself mentally to push through once your momentum slows down.

One tool that may help men over the hump is weight loss supplements.

What are the benefits of weight loss supplements for men?

The primary benefit of weight loss supplements for men is that they can enhance your weight loss results, possibly helping you shed pounds faster.

For example, some weight loss supplements are designed to help control hunger and cravings, so it’s easier to make healthy food choices and take in fewer calories throughout the day.

Please bear in mind, however, that weight loss supplements are not intended to be a magic bullet. You can’t eat a poor diet and expect to lose weight simply because you’re taking a weight loss supplement.

Rather, weight loss supplements are just one aspect of weight loss, providing men with an added level of support for efforts that include good nutrition and healthy eating ― watching what you eat and how much you eat ― as well as regular exercise.

Is there any difference between weight loss supplements for men and those marketed to women?

Nope. As we’ve addressed in other posts, makers of weight loss supplements will sometimes place the same product in a different package with the words “for men” on the label.

But what’s on the front of the label isn’t nearly as important as what’s on the back: the ingredients.

All that really matters when choosing a weight loss supplement is the active ingredients. And there is currently no evidence from clinical trials on weight loss supplement ingredients to show that particular ingredients are more effective for men.

Rather, clinical trials so far have shown that the effectiveness, as well as the side effects and health risks and dangers, are the same for men and women.

For a detailed review of common weight loss supplement ingredients, check out our post, Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes & Vitamins.

So, what are the best weight loss supplements for men?

The best weight loss supplements for men are those that make it easier to stick with your weight loss plan for the long term ― specifically, a supplement that helps you overcome the obstacles that often cause men to give up before they reach their weight loss goals.

So, let’s look at the greatest challenge most men face when trying to lose weight naturally.

Losing weight requires men to create a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you have to take in fewer calories than you burn or use up during the day. Every time you burn or cut 3,600 calories from your diet, it results in a pound of weight loss.

The best way to understand this number is to break it up into a daily goal. For example, there are seven days in a week, so breaking 3,600 into seven equal parts comes out to just over 500 calories a day. If you can burn or cut a bit more than 500 calories a day from your diet, you will lose one pound of weight every week.

The problem most people ― men and women ― run into is that creating a calorie deficit also creates an energy deficit, and often a nutritional deficit.

When you eat less (cut calories), you may find yourself feeling tired, worn out and hungry. So, the best weight loss supplements for men are the ones that 1) give you energy and 2) control hunger.

Weight loss supplements for men that provide energy

When you want energy to power your weight loss, the best place to start is by boosting your protein intake. Protein supports muscle health and is essential for keeping your body strong when you are running on fewer calories.

In addition to eating healthy, natural sources of lean protein like chicken and fish, you can also consider protein supplements such as protein shakes, protein powders, protein drinks and protein bars.

Similarly, you’ll want to make sure your body is getting adequate vitamins and minerals. The best natural sources of vitamins and minerals are vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli.

But let’s be honest ― we don’t always eat as many vegetables as we should, and that’s where a good multi-vitamin supplement comes in. Look for a vitamin supplement that has a 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of B vitamins for energy metabolism, as well as calcium and vitamin D to support strong bones and muscles.

Weight loss supplements for men that control hunger

Any conversation about hunger control usually starts with a category of weight loss supplements known to suppress appetite. Men should be very careful before delving into these types of supplements as most over-the-counter hunger-control supplements rely on stimulants to artificially reduce hunger.

Stimulants, whether they be caffeine or “natural” herbs and herbal extracts such as yohimbe root, ephedra and hoodia, act on the central nervous system. Yes, they reduce hunger, but they also bring a long list of side effects, health risks and dangers for men, from jitters to high blood pressure and even heart attack.

At Ambra Bio, we believe we’ve found a better way to control hunger. It’s called Gut Sensory Modulation (GSM).

GSM is the mode of action at the heart of our weight loss supplement, Lovidia, and it’s been shown in clinical trials to reduce hunger and aid weight loss without stimulants or side effects.

That’s because GSM uses only FDA-GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food-grade ingredients to activate your body’s natural hunger-control mechanism.

You can learn more about Lovidia here. Then, ask your doctor whether he or she thinks Lovidia is the right weight loss supplement for you.

We hope you found this post on weight loss supplements for men helpful. Good luck reaching your weight loss goals!

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Is Obesity a Brain Disease?

Is Obesity a Brain Disease?

You may have never imagined that what we eat can literally change our brains! New research published this week raises questions about whether obesity is a truly metabolic vs. a neurologic phenomenon, or a little bit of both.

Animal research done at Vanderbilt University headed by Dr. Aurelio Galli reveals a mechanism for how a high-fat diet can disrupt brain signals that regulate appetite. The findings reveal a system designed to control the eating of highly rewarding high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Strangely enough, this system can be hijacked by the very foods that it is designed to keep under control. Dr. Galli’s team found a group of specific proteins are responsible for the hijacking, and how they cause brain changes that lead to a vicious cycle of eating increasing amounts of high-fat and high-sugar foods that likely further cement these changes.

This can help explain why the more often we eat pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream sundaes, the more we tend to crave them.

Other published work is now linking obesity to brain disease:

The presence of obesity increases the likelihood of to developing a common brain tumor (meningioma) by 50%
There is a statistically significant risk for earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged obese people. This may be due to cognitive impairment resulting from chronic insulin resistance – which also leads to the development of type II Diabetes.
It’s not yet clear however whether a healthy weight can delay the onset of dementia and/or other neurological problems in patients at risk. But based on all these new findings, certainly this would be worth looking into.

Read more at:

Relating Obesity to Brain Health

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6 Mindful Snacking Tips for Weight Loss

6 Mindful Snacking Tips for Weight Loss

How often do you reach for a snack?

According to research from Mintel, 94% of Americans snack at some point during the day with half of adults snacking two to three times a day.

With so many of us snacking regularly, you have to wonder what impact snacking has on weight loss. While some argue that eating smaller meals throughout the day is the secret to losing weight, others contend that snacking is the reason American waistlines are growing.

Ultimately it’s not about whether or not you do snack, but HOW you snack that’s most important. Mindless snacking is guaranteed to add unnecessary calories to your diet without the nutritional benefits.

On the other hand, mindful snacking ensures that you’re carefully considering your snacks as a part of your overall nutritional intake. Here are five mindful snacking tips to promote weight loss:

1 | Choose snacks that are high in fiber or protein

Many popular snack foods are filled with empty calories, meaning they have little to no nutritional value. By swapping your usual snacks for nutritious options that contain fiber and/or protein, you’ll feel full faster and satisfied for a longer time.

Fiber helps regulate your nutrient intake so that your body processes fat and carbohydrates at the proper rate for lower insulin levels. It also boosts the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1 to naturally control hunger.

Getting enough protein in a low-calorie diet has been shown to maintain muscle mass with increased fat loss. Protein also stimulates production of GLP-1 and PYY, the “fullness” hormones released in your lower intestine.

A lot of snack foods are high in sugar and carbohydrates. They give you a quick jolt of energy, but the feeling doesn’t last. Soon your blood sugar drops and you’re craving more food to boost your energy.

2 | Pay attention to portion size

Healthy snacks can be an asset to your overall nutrition, but this doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Portion size is important.

Diving into an entire bag of Beanitos Sea Salt Chips may boost your protein intake, but also increases your calorie and sodium intake. To avoid unwanted calories from snacks, it’s key that you pay attention to serving sizes.

It can be challenging to measure individual serving sizes correctly. It’s also more taxing for your willpower to stop eating when a full bag is present. Our “Goodbye Hunger” Bundle takes the guesswork out of snacking by providing pre-portioned, healthy snack options.

3 | Read nutrition labels

Along with portion size, it’s essential to read the nutrition label on snack foods. Just because a snack is low in calories or fat, doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that it will sustain your energy.

Many snacks advertised as “100 calorie packs” are full of sugar or sodium and have little to no nutritional value. These items may be pre-portioned, but they won’t fill you up. It won’t be long before you’re fighting the urge to grab another package.

Watch out for misleading facts that make a nutrition label confusing. Research shows that many people have a hard time reading nutrition labels correctly, which can lead to accidentally making poor choices.

4 | Take your Lovidia XR twice daily for hunger control

Lovidia XR stimulates taste sensors in your lower gut that trigger the release of GLP-1 and PYY, the hormones that control hunger and cravings. When you take Lovidia XR consistently, you lower your baseline hunger level so you naturally eat less.

Lovidia XR doesn’t contain any caffeine or stimulants so you get the benefits of hunger control without the unpleasant side effects. Your appetite is smaller, you feel full faster, and you take in fewer calories without the struggle of feeling hungry.

The best time to take Lovidia XR is at breakfast and lunch so you’re appetite is naturally reduced throughout the day. Similar to other healthy habits, consistency is key.

5 | Use Lovidia Bars as a Meal Replacement

Unlike the typical protein or meal replacement bar, Lovidia Bars are made with a specially-formulated blend of all-natural ingredients designed to reduce hunger levels and control cravings. Because of its potent hunger-control effect, this is an excellent choice as a meal replacement to accelerate weight loss.

Many bars on the market are so loaded with calories, sugar, and carbohydrates that you can barely finish one. This small, but mighty bar works with your body’s own hunger control process to help you feel satisfied with fewer calories.

6 | Be aware of your ACTUAL hunger level

We live in a time when food is easily accessible at all times. We no longer have to hunt or grow our own food, and we don’t have to plan ahead for seasons when food is less abundant.

While this obviously makes life a lot easier, the downside is that we often eat when we’re not actually hungry. You might feel like snacking because of stress, boredom, hormones, habits, or emotions.

Learning to recognize true hunger will help you avoid unnecessary calories that can lead to weight gain. Mindful snacking means that you’re eating because your body needs food, not because your emotions are luring you to the pantry.

When you feel like eating, ask yourself a few questions before immediately reaching for a snack. Instead of mindlessly obeying your cravings, listen to your body’s natural hunger cues.

  • Are you feeling stressed or anxious?
  • Do you want food simply because it’s available (for example, if someone left treats in the breakroom at work)?
  • Are you bored or lacking motivation?
  • Does a particular activity make you feel like you should be eating (for example, having a snack while watching tv)?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, try this easy trick to determine if you really need food. Set a timer for 20 minutes and find another activity. Chances are that when the timer goes off, you’ll no longer be focused on food. If you’re still feeling hungry, eat a small, healthy snack.


Mindless eating is bad habit and an easy way to add unwanted calories to your diet. Focus on the quality of the snacks you eat and the portion size to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Pay attention to your hunger level rather than responding to cravings alone.

Lovidia will help you establish a lower baseline hunger level and control your appetite so you can lose weight without the struggle.

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Lose Weight Fast: The “Fast Can’t Last” Weight Loss Myth

Losing Weight Fast: the “Fast Can’t Last” Weight Loss Myth

It’s one of the most deeply entrenched and persistent myths about weight loss. It’s even on the CDC website:
“People who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1-2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off.”

Turns out that it is truly a myth that doesn’t hold up at all to scientific scrutiny, according to a randomized controlled study published in the journal Obesity.
The authors found that the rate of weight loss, fast or slow, has zero effect on whether a person can maintain their loss.

It is true however, that we all lose at different rates – some dramatically quick, others more slowly. Dr. Casazza, in the New England Journal of Medicine, describes the phenomenon perfectly: “Although it is not clear why some … persons have a greater initial weight loss than others do, a recommendation to lose weight more slowly might interfere with the ultimate success of weight-loss efforts.”

Based on what I see in my own weight-loss practice, I have to admit, I’m biased towards efforts to get weight off as quickly as possible. Most of my patients have struggled with their weight for a very long time (sometimes most of their lives). If that’s true for you, you are probably feeling frustrated, or maybe even ready to give up completely! It’s very understandable.

But picture when you see the scale start to move quickly as a result of your hard work. That can be a VERY powerful motivator to continue working on all aspects of lifestyle change.

Read more here.

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Weight Loss Programs for Women

Weight Loss Supplements For Women: What To Look For… And What To Look Out For

Ads promoting weight loss supplements for women are all over the place ― in magazines, on TV, your Facebook page, Instagram and Pinterest.

If you find yourself thinking, “I need to lose weight, but I can’t take another diet,” you’re not alone. For many women, dieting is a dead-end, filled with frustration and disappointment.

The temptation to seek a quick-fix to lose weight is hard to resist, especially when you see so many ads for products promising to “melt away fat,” “drop a dress size in 2 weeks,” and “lose weight without diet or exercise.”

Diet pills are nothing new. As far back as the 1950s, doctors were prescribing amphetamines to their women patients as a “modern” approach to weight management.

Today, “health and nutrition” stores make millions by selling weight loss pills, tablets, chews, bars, drinks and shakes to women who are desperate to shed pounds fast.

But are these products safe and effective? Are women wasting our money on weight loss supplements — or worse, harming our health?

This post will attempt to help you separate fact from fiction by answering common questions women ask us about weight loss supplements, beginning with the most basic question …

Should women take weight loss supplements or diet pills to lose weight?

If you’re watching what you eat, exercising regularly, and still not dropping pounds, a good weight loss supplement may be just what you need to boost your weight loss.

The key is to remember that a supplement by itself won’t make women lose weight ― and it shouldn’t.

There may be products that cause weight reduction on their own, but not in a way that’s safe or sustainable.

Think about what the word supplement means: something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.

Weight loss supplements are designed to support women’s efforts to lose weight when used alongside healthy eating and regular exercise.

What are the benefits of weight loss supplements for women?

The benefits of taking weight loss supplements for women are the same as the benefits for men: a good supplement can make it easier to lose weight.

For example, some weight loss supplements are designed to reduce hunger and cravings, so it’s easier for women to make healthy food choices and take in fewer calories throughout the day.

Is there really a difference between weight loss supplements for women and weight loss supplements for men?

Generally speaking, no. Weight loss supplements are not made differently “for women” or “for men.”

While some weight loss supplements are marketed as being “formulated for women,” a quick check of the active ingredients will usually show it’s not true.

In one famous case, the makers of a “sprinkle” supplement that became wildly popular a few years ago after it was featured on the Dr. Oz Show took the same product, placed it in a black package and slapped the words “for men” on the label.

There was no difference between the ingredients in the weight loss supplement they were selling to women and the “new” version for men, other than the packaging.

When you see the words “weight loss supplement for women,” see it for what it is: marketing, not science.

Do some weight loss supplements work better for women?

Again, generally speaking, the answer is no. Based purely on effectiveness, weight loss supplements are gender neutral. There is no scientific evidence supported by clinical trials showing a weight loss supplement to be more effective for women than for men, or vice versa.

However, there are considerations women must make that men don’t have to make when choosing a supplement. These include:

1 | Will you be breastfeeding while taking a weight loss supplement?

When you are breastfeeding, everything you put into your body has the potential to come out of your body in your breast milk.

Some weight loss supplements, such as fat burners, metabolism boosters, hunger-control supplements and fat blockers, contain ingredients that pose serious dangers for nursing babies. These can include herbs, herbal extracts, laxatives, bitter orange, chitosan, chromium, and stimulants like caffeine, ephedra, green tea extract and hoodia.

Pregnant women should never take weight loss supplements, and nursing women should always consult their doctors or health care providers before taking any medication, including over-the-counter weight loss supplements.

2 | Are you going through menopause or have a medical condition that affects or is related to hormonal changes?

During menopause, women experience a reduction in two key hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Combined with a loss of lean muscle, hormone fluctuations make women prone to gaining weight during menopause. It’s harder for menopausal women to burn calories as our metabolisms tend to decrease, and we store more of what we eat as fat.

Changes in body mass also put women at greater risk of weight-related health issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Many over-the-counter weight loss supplements contain ingredients that also increase these risks, so women who take supplements during menopause are often putting themselves in danger without knowing it.

In addition, many weight loss supplements contain multiple ingredients that can interact with or interfere with other medications women may be taking for hormonal imbalances or other health issues. For this reason, we always recommend women talk with their doctors before beginning a weight loss supplement plan.

What are the best weight loss supplements for women?

Generally speaking, there are a few supplements that are useful for most women in losing weight.

Protein supplements

We bet you weren’t expecting protein to be on the short list of best weight loss supplements for women. But if you’re losing weight the natural way, by practicing good nutrition and sensible eating, you’re going to want lots of protein.

Firstly, protein helps women build and maintain lean muscle ― and lean muscle is responsible for more than 95 percent of the body’s fat burning power!

Secondly, weight loss requires women to create a calorie deficit, meaning that you are taking in few calories than you burn during the day. Protein is essential for keeping your body strong when you are running on fewer calories.

Protein shakes, protein powders, protein drinks and protein bars are all good sources of protein. But be careful to check the sugar content of protein weight loss supplements as these can be unexpected calorie bombs.

Vitamins, especially calcium and vitamin D

If you are eating less to create a calorie deficit, you will want to make sure your body is still getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs for energy production and healthy body function.

This is especially true of calcium and vitamin D. According to the Women’s Health Initiative, “Some research suggests that calcium and vitamin D may play a role in weight management. These nutrients may stimulate the breakdown of fat cells and suppress the development of new ones.”

These findings were based on evidence in a seven-year clinical trial of more than 36,000 women who took either a placebo or calcium and vitamin D supplements.

As the makers of Lovidia, we also encourage you to speak with your doctor about our product. Ask her to review our website so you can begin a conversation about how Lovidia works to control hunger and helps you lose weight without caffeine, stimulants or fat blockers.

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Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?

Do Weight Loss Supplements Work? That’s The $8 Billion Question

Consumers around the world spend nearly $8 billion a year on weight loss supplements, hoping to find a safe and effective way to lose weight. People hoping to lose weight quickly are especially drawn to claims of fast results.

A review of clinical trials into whether there are over-the-counter weight loss supplements that work shows the results are mixed. As the review abstract states:

“… not all supplements that are touted for weight loss have published clinical support for efficacy …. Although several dozen different dietary supplements are sold, only 14 published studies were identified. Four individual ingredients and three blends of ingredients were considered to be effective.”

A closer look at the studies cited in the review shows that some were conducted by weight loss supplement makers who have a vested interest in positive results and often use questionable methods in their clinical trials.

They also pump up sometimes scant evidence that a particular ingredient or blend had a positive effect on weight loss while ignoring health risks and side effects.

This post aims to provide information and guidance to help you understand how the effectiveness of weight loss supplements is determined and whether a weight loss supplement might work for you.

Start with realistic expectations … and be patient

Effectiveness of weight loss supplements that work are generally defined as promoting one to two pounds of weight loss each week when studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Here, it will be helpful to look at some terminology related to testing of weight loss supplements.

Placebo controlled means that some trial participants are given the weight loss supplement that is being tested while others are given a placebo ― a pill that looks exactly like the supplement being tested but has no functional ingredients.

Double blind means neither the participants nor the researchers know which participants are taking the weight loss supplement and which are taking the placebo, until after the trial is complete.

Anything less than one pound of weight loss per week would be considered statistically insignificant as evidence of weight loss supplements that work.

While one to two pounds of weight loss per week may sound “small” to someone who wants to lose a lot of weight fast, you have to keep in mind that weight loss is a long-term process. Chances are, you didn’t gain the extra weight you want to lose in just a few weeks or months, so you aren’t likely to lose it that fast, either.

What’s more, losing weight too fast can lead to serious health risks, and is often difficult to maintain. So, even weight loss supplements that work to help you lose weight fast may not be a safe or effective long-term solution.

Think of it this way: If you find weight loss supplements that work to help you lose one to two pounds per week, you will lose 50 to 100 pounds in a year! For most people, that is life-changing weight loss.

Understand how weight loss supplements work

Over-the-counter weight loss supplements come in a variety of forms ― usually pills, capsules or tablets ― and contain ingredients like herbs, herbal extracts or chemicals formulated to assist in helping users lose weight.

The three primary types of weight loss supplements that work are fat blockers, metabolism boosters and hunger-control supplements.

  • Fat blockers prevent your body from absorbing some of the fat in food you eat so that it passes out of your body undigested, helping you take in fewer calories.
  • Fat burners or metabolism boosters help you burn calories more efficiently.
  • Hunger-control supplements help suppress appetite and reduce cravings, again so that you can take in fewer calories and lose weight.

Each of these “modes of actions” for weight loss supplements comes with its own benefits as well as side effects.

So, what are the weight loss supplements that work?

One thing must be clear from the beginning: There are NO weight loss supplements that work when they aren’t used in conjunction with balanced, healthy eating and regular exercise.

You can’t depend on weight loss supplements and expect to drop pounds without taking responsibility for what and how much you eat, as well as committing to physical activity.

Having said that, here are some ingredients and weight loss supplements that work, e.g. have shown evidence of effectiveness in clinical trials when paired with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise:

  • Green tea extract/ECGC ― While study outcomes are inconsistent, there is some evidence that an EGCG-caffeine mixture has a small positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance. Green tea extract has been shown in some studies to increase fat oxidation at rest and during exercise. Green tea extract is generally considered safe when used in moderation, but at higher levels can produce typical caffeine/stimulant-related side effects such as jitters, restlessness and racing heart.
  • Lovidia ― Lovidia is made by Ambra Bio, the author of this post. It uses a mode of action called Gut Sensory Modulation (GSM) to reduce hunger so that users eat fewer calories, making it easier to lose weight. GSM has been tested and shown in multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trials on human subjects to enhance weight loss. GSM uses only FDA-GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) food-grade ingredients, and no negative side effects have been observed in clinical trials.
  • Orlistat ― The active ingredient in over-the-counter Alli, Orlistat is an FDA-approved drug. Orlistat works by blocking the enzyme that breaks down fats in your diet, so they pass out of your body undigested, helping you absorb fewer calories. Orlistat is proven effective at aiding weight loss in clinical; albeit with very modest results. It also comes with significant side effects, which span from potential nutritional deficiency to uncontrollable diarrhea.

As you can see, the list of weight loss supplements that work is rather limited. For a detailed look at what studies on popular weight loss supplement ingredients say about both their effectiveness and safety, please refer to our previous post, Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes & Vitamins.

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Weight Loss Programs that Work… and Don’t Work

Weight Loss Programs that Work… and Don’t Work

Around the same time every year, the magazine racks at the grocery store become advertisements for “Weight Loss Programs That Work!”

We see splashy before-and-after photos of people who “lost half their size” by following this weight loss program or that weight loss program.

What you likely won’t read in any of the articles is that the examples shown are rare outliers, and for person who loses half his or her weight, there are likely dozens who don’t lose any weight at all.

And it’s not because the weight loss programs don’t work ― it’s because most people choose weight loss programs that aren’t right for them, and therefore won’t work for them.

The fact is, most weight loss programs work. More specifically, most weight loss programs are based on nutritional principles that theoretically will work, from a physiological standpoint, to help a person lose weight. But the real question is: What do you have to do for the program to work, and will you be happy doing it?

Did the sitcom Friends “work” for you?

Saying a weight loss program “works” is like saying the show Friends is the greatest sitcom ever. Friends was mega successful, with critical praise for its acting and writing, along with 20 to 30 million viewers at its peak.

But there are over 350 million people in America, so the reality is that only about one out of every 12 to 18 people watched it.

So, you could say Friends “worked” for about 6-8 percent of people who watched it (“tried” it) but failed for 92-94 percent of the people who didn’t watch it.

A lot of people thought Friends was funny, and worth a half hour of their time each week, but a lot more people didn’t care for it enough to tune in. They maybe watched an episode or two … and decided it wasn’t for them.

Weight loss programs work the same way. You might read about a program that’s getting lots of positive press or hear friends talking about a program that’s working wonders for them, then give it a try yourself only to find you can’t stand the food you have to eat or deal with the restrictions on food you can’t eat.

Just as comedy depends as much on the viewer as it does on the writing and acting, weight loss programs depend as much on the person who is trying to lose weight as they do on their underlying science.

Put simply, if you don’t like the food you have to eat (or can’t eat) on a particular weight loss program, it’s not going to work for you, period, because you are going to quit.

If you lose weight, then gain it back, is that a weight loss program that works?

Have you ever lost weight on a weight loss program and then regained the weight soon after?

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Regaining weight after losing it on a weight loss program is fairly typical, and it happens with almost every weight loss program.

But would you say those are weight loss programs that work because you lost weight, or weight loss programs that don’t work because you gained back the weight?

Both, really. Because, again, the tactics of the program may work to produce weight loss, but the program eventually fails because its not a lifestyle you can maintain beyond the initial success.

One person might not have a problem sticking with a particular program that another person finds intolerable. And it has nothing at all to do with “willpower.” Rather, it’s all about personal preferences.

Losing weight and keeping it off is a lifetime commitment, so you have to use great care and consideration when choosing a weight loss program.

How to find weight loss programs that work for you in 3 steps

1 | Be honest with yourself

If you eat nothing but raw food, there’s an excellent chance you’ll lose weight. If you follow the “paleo” diet or cut out all carbs, there’s likewise a pretty good chance you’ll lose weight. And if you cut your calories in half, you’ll definitely lose weight.

But … can you really live like that? Is it worth your sanity and your health?

There are diets and weight loss programs that work for some people ― but only for some people. Specifically, for people who truly don’t mind eating a certain way … eating that way every day … and eating that way forever.

For everyone else, those are weight loss programs that don’t work. So, you have to choose a program that has food options you like, and doesn’t force you to eat things you don’t enjoy. That’s a program that will work for you.

Again, don’t fool yourself into thinking if you just try hard enough, you can stick with any weight loss program, no matter how unpleasant it is or how miserable it makes you feel.

Losing weight is living, and living should be full of joy. Don’t choose a weight loss program that feels like self-abuse.

You may find that the program that works best for you is one that requires only slight tweaks in the way you eat. By avoiding drastic changes, it may take you longer to lose the weight you want, but you’re more likely to see it through and stick with it.

2 | Have realistic expectations

Despite inspiring magazine stories about people who lost half their weight, if you set out thinking, “I’m going to lose half my weight!” you’re bound for disappointment. It’s just too big an undertaking.

You can’t control outcomes, but you can control your choices, so that’s what you should focus on. Your only real expectations should be those you place on yourself to make smart choices that move you closer to your goal.

Your ultimate goal may be to lose half your weight, but you have to break it down and take it one day at a time, one healthy choice at a time.

When it comes to weight loss programs that work, slow and steady almost always wins the race. That’s because weight loss is not a sprint but a marathon.

When you first start a weight loss program, set mini goals. Focus on losing 2 pounds at a time. That’s your goal – 2 pounds. When you achieve that, it’s on to the next 2 pounds, and so forth. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to stay positive when you see yourself reaching goal after goal!

3 | Don’t relive bad experiences

The weight loss industry is filled with “same product, different packaging” weight loss programs.

For example, there are countless programs that offer packaged food as their primary feature. If one “packaged food” program didn’t work for you because you didn’t like the food, it’s highly unlikely another packaged food program will produce different results. You’re just going to run into the same issues.

We’ve all heard the adage that insanity is doing to same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Nowhere is that more true than in the world of diets and weight loss programs.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when looking for weight loss programs that work is jumping from one program to another ― and one disappointment to another. But they don’t really stop to think: Is this really just the same program I tried once before that didn’t work for me?

Be careful to avoid the same old ideas and approaches that have failed for you in the past. If one approach didn’t work, try something different.

When we created our weight loss program, The LOVIDIA Way, we set out to make sure it was unlike any other program, with a completely unique approach ― including an eating plan that’s designed to avoid the plateaus people typically experience due to metabolic reset ― and tools that aren’t available anywhere else, such as our patented Hunger-Control products.

If you’re ready to try a fresh approach to weight loss, you can learn more about The LOVIDIA Way here.

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Online Weight Loss Programs: Which is Best for You?

Online Weight Loss Programs: Which is Best for You?

Like most aspects of modern life, the Internet has revolutionized the way we lose weight.

These days, you can access several libraries worth of articles and videos on diet, nutrition and exercise online ― from pretty much anywhere, on any device.

So, with all this information at our fingertips, why aren’t we all at our ideal weight?

Information overload.

We’re presented with so much information about weight loss ― including a flood of conflicting, contradictory and plain old inaccurate information ― that we don’t know what to do with it.

Information is great, but what we really need is direction ― simple, clear, step-by-step direction.

That’s where online weight loss programs can make a difference.

Online weight loss programs turn information into action. They tell you what to do, meal by meal, day by day, to reach your goals.

This post will help you understand the benefits of online weight loss programs, how online weight loss programs work, as well as differences in the features and tools used by various online weight loss programs.

Benefits of online weight loss programs

“How much should I eat?”

“How often should I eat?”

“Should I eat this … or that?”

“What type of exercise will help me burn the most calories?

“Why isn’t the scale budging?”

“What do I do now?”

When you’re trying to lose weight, you have questions, and you need answers ― not just blanket information on diet and nutrition, but highly personalized,specific recommendations tailored specifically to you.

That’s probably the biggest benefit of the most effective online weight loss programs ― rather than leaving you on your own to figure everything out, they cut through the clutter and give structure to information, showing you the specific steps you need to take to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Another benefit of online weight loss programs is that they are interactive. They keep customers engaged through interactive tools and features. So, rather than just thinking about weight loss, you are actively doing something about it and constantly moving toward your goal.

The best online weight loss programs have interactive tools that provide in-depth feedback, usually in the form of personal coaching or one-on-one counseling, that you can use to make adjustments and maximize your results.

Online weight loss programs versus traditional weight loss programs

Online weight loss programs often offer significant benefits compared to traditional weight loss programs.

There are two types of traditional weight loss programs: paper programs and in-person programs.

Paper programs are usually based on books. They give you a bunch of information and then leave it up to you to makes sense of it all. And if you have a question, run into a roadblock, hit a plateau, have a setback, get frustrated or need motivation? Good luck.

In-person programs include commercial weight loss programs that require you to attend meetings or physicians weight loss programs that require you to make regular visits to a medical weight loss clinic.

In-person weight loss programs can be great in terms of providing the type of one-on-one counseling and responsiveness that is crucial to weight loss success, but they also place tremendous demands on your time and can be very inconvenient.

Online weight loss programs blend the best of both worlds. They are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so customers can go online any time and get the answers and support they need and follow a program at their own pace, on the schedule that works best for their life.

How online weight loss programs work

Online weight loss programs use a combination of information, action-steps, apps, trackers and other interactive tools and features to guide you through the process of losing weight.

The best online weight loss programs also include a maintenance component with tools and strategies to keep weight off.

Customers typically subscribe to an online weight loss program on a monthly basis and sign in as often as they like to access the tools available through a program.

Where online weight loss programs differ is in the specific direction they provide, how they deliver it, the interactive tools they use and the technology behind the tools. All of these things add up to the unique features of a program.

Features and tools of online weight loss programs

The number one reason online weight loss programs work so well is the features and tools available to customers that provide structure, direction and motivation for reaching their goals.

In general, the more opportunities you have to interact with an online weight loss program, the more likely you are to stick with the program and feel confident in both your day-to-day choices and your progress.

Some people prefer a streamlined approach or simply don’t have the time to use all the interactive tools and features some programs offer, while others enjoy having the option to engage in a number of ways with their online weight loss program.

The real key is that the tools offered by your weight loss program should be easy to use. If you find the tools or technology offered by a weight loss program confusing or difficult to follow, it’s definitely not the best program for you.

Look for a program that offers a comprehensive and effective set of tools that are also practical to fit into your day.

With that in mind, here are some features and tools you might find helpful in an online weight loss program:

  • Articles and advice on every aspect of health, weight loss, nutrition, fitness, motivation and mindset.
  • Exercise plans and fitness videos including step-by-step video instruction to help you exercise with a specific focus on weight loss.
  • Weight Loss Coaching that removes all the guesswork from losing weight with personalized guidance on every aspect of getting lean, from your eating patterns to your exercise habits. An online weight loss coach can give you personalized advice on diet, nutrition and exercise that’s tailored to your challenges, likes and dislikes.

We believe that weight loss coaching is the single most important tool or feature of any online weight loss program, and has the greatest impact on results, which is why we include it as a standard feature of our program, The LOVIDIA Way.

The most significant benefit of one-on-one counseling is specific guidance that optimizes your metabolism and maximizes fat and calorie burning. Since it’s all spelled out for you in plain English, there’s no worry about whether you’re doing the program correctly, and you can be sure you’re getting the best, safest and fastest results possible.

  • Tracking apps that help you see your progress, which is critical to staying motivated and on track. This should include the small victories and positive changes taking place in your life that don’t always show up on the scale!
  • Easy-to-read charts and graphs to let you see at a glance how your eating and exercise habits impact your progress.
  • Customizable meal and snack planning tools that help you to account for health concerns like low-cholesterol or low sodium eating as well as dietary preferences such as vegan or vegetarians.
  • A recipe archive with healthy, easy-to-make meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack time.
  • A grocery-shopping planner to make sure your fridge and pantry are packed with the foods that will help you lose weight.
  • A food substitution guide to help you make smart, healthy choices.
  • Portion- and calorie-control tools. This should include tools that help you identify the different impact fats, sugar, carbs and protein can have on your metabolism and your body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.
  • Dining-out guides to help you follow the program and eat for weight loss when dining out at restaurants.
  • Food/eating Journals to help you pinpoint which food and lifestyle choices are having a positive effect on your weight loss, so you can see a clear path to achieving your goals.
  • Community support that provides a sense of kinship with other customers who can offer advice, keep you accountable, and cheer your success.
  • Strong social media presence where you can reach out to the company or other users to get suggestions and share tips.

For more on the benefits of online weight loss programs and personal weight loss coaching, visit The LOVIDIA Way webpage.

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Are Weight Loss Supplements Safe? These are the Facts!

Are Weight Loss Supplements Safe? These Are The Facts

Your online search of “safe weight loss supplements” can return misleading reviews. This post will help you sort through the facts regarding weight loss supplement safety.

As the makers of the weight loss supplement Lovidia, we wish we could say that all weight loss pills and supplements are safe.

But rather than acting as a cheerleader for the weight loss supplement industry, we want to provide you with information you can use to make an educated decision about safety concerns regarding over-the-counter weight loss supplements and pills.

Several factors you should consider in your search for safe weight loss supplements are side effects associated with specific supplement ingredients as well as health risks and dangers due to interactions with medications.

Known Side Effects & Health Risks of Common Weight Loss Supplement Ingredients

The following summary of safety concerns associated with common over-the-counter weight loss supplement ingredients is compiled from published reviews of clinical trials.

Because this post focuses on supplement safety, we do not address questions of effectiveness here, except where an ingredient has been shown in clinical trials to be truly useless. We want you to be safe, as well as warn you about weight loss supplement ingredients that are a potentially dangerous waste of money.

For more information about specific ingredients, including benefits and evidence of effectiveness and products they are used in, please refer to our post, Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes & Vitamins.


Bitter Orange

Mode of Action

Contains the stimulant synephrine believed to suppress appetite

Known Side Effects and Health Risks

Chest pain, anxiety, headache, musculoskeletal pain, increased blood pressure and heart rate

Caffeine (including from herbs such as guarana, kola nut and yerba mate)

Stimulant that affects the central nervous system to suppress appetite

Jitters, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, depression, racing heart, high blood pressure, impaired adrenal function, potential for addiction

Capsaicin (cayenne pepper)

Some evidence suggests spicy foods have thermogenic properties to increase fat burning and energy (calorie) metabolism

Allergic reaction, skin rash; kidney and liver damage; Stomach irritation and heartburn, especially in people with irritable bowel syndrome or stomach or intestinal ulcers

Garcinia Cambogia

Seen in testing on rats to inhibit production of an enzyme related to fat synthesis; results not replicated in any human trials

Dizziness, dry mouth, headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, liver damage, liver failure

Glucomannan/ Konjac Root

Provides fiber to create a feeling of fullness and suppress appetite

Abdominal discomfort, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation

Green Tea Extract

Contains the antioxidant ECGC that increases a hormone associated with fat burning and metabolism

Generally safe, but in high concentrations, may produce herbal hepatotoxicity leading to liver damage/liver failure

Gut Sensory Modulation

Uses food-grade nutrients to activate satiety sensors in the gut and control hunger and suppress appetite

No safety flags noted in clinical trials


Marketers claim it stimulates release of a chemical compound similar to glucose; no impact on weight loss seen in clinical trials

Increased heart rate and blood pressure, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting


Marketed as a fat burner/metabolism booster despite no credible clinical evidence

Chemically related to the stimulant synephrine; might cause jitters, increased blood pressure and rapid heartbeat


FDA-approved drug that blocks an enzyme that breaks down fats, leaving them undigested

Gastrointestinal issues: loose stools, oily spotting, gas w/ discharge, urgent bowel movements, poor bowel control; Possible nutritional deficiency due to interference with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K

Is this Supplement Safe? What the FDA Says

Weight loss supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as food, not as drugs. This is an important distinction because it means the FDA essentially relies on the makers of weight loss supplements to be honest both about the ingredients they contain and that those ingredients are safe.

Similarly, since the FDA does not approve individual food labels, including the “active ingredients,” “supplement facts” and “other ingredients” on weight loss supplements. Rather, “FDA regulations require nutrition information to appear on most foods, including dietary supplements. Also, any claims on food products must be truthful and not misleading, and must comply with any regulatory requirements for the type of claim.”

Again, this puts the onus on weight loss supplement makers to be clear and truthful in their labeling. As you will see later, this is not always the case.

Does the FDA Require Safety Testing for Weight Loss Supplements?

No. The FDA doesn’t test or approve weight loss supplements, stating, “Unlike new drugs, dietary supplements are not reviewed and approved by FDA based on their safety and effectiveness. Unless an exception applies, dietary supplements that contain a new dietary ingredient (a dietary ingredient not marketed in the United States before Oct. 15, 1994) require a notification to FDA at least 75 days before marketing.”

The notification must include the information, such as evidence from clinical trials, that provides the manufacturer’s or distributor’s basis for concluding that a weight loss supplement will “reasonably be expected to be safe.”

Hidden Ingredients Complicate the Question of Supplement Safety

In a warning to consumers, the FDA says it has seen “an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful.

This is very important when considering whether a weight loss supplement is safe because you cannot always trust the label to show all the ingredients a supplement contains.

In its warning, the FDA continues, “Consumers may unknowingly take products laced with varying quantities of approved prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for weight loss.

“Remember, FDA cannot test all products on the market that contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market.”

In a separate warning on health risks and dangers associated with weight loss supplement ingredients, the FDA notes that “… many dietary supplements contain ingredients that have strong biological effects which may conflict with a medicine you are taking or a medical condition you may have. Products containing hidden drugs are also sometimes falsely marketed as dietary supplements, putting consumers at even greater risk.”

What Happens When a Product is Found to Be Dangerous?

When public health concerns arise about a weight loss supplement after the product is on the market, the FDA will research and evaluate the product’s safety and monitor adverse events.

In rare cases, the agency may even remove a product from the market if there is overwhelming evidence it is not safe.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, a number of weight loss supplement companies were using a Chinese herb called ma huang as an ingredient in their products.

Ma huang had been used for centuries in traditional Chinese holistic medicine. Also known as ephedra, it was a natural botanical with an exotic backstory, which made it an attractive herbal weight loss supplement ingredient from a marketing standpoint.

And it was an effective ingredient, at least in one regard. Ephedra contained an amphetamine-like stimulant called ephedrine that had properties that suppress appetite.

Consumers assumed that since ephedra was from an herb, it produced safe weight loss supplements.

Then, 23-year-old Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died while using ephedra, helping to prompt the FDA to undertake extensive research involving more than 16,000 reports of health risks associated with products containing ephedra.

Reviews of clinical trials revealed hundreds of safety risks associated with ephedra, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, seizure and sudden death. Other side effects of the herb included insomnia, nausea and vomiting.

Finally, in December of 2003, after more than 150 deaths were linked to ephedra-based products, the FDA determined ephedra was not safe for use in weight loss supplements and banned its sale. It was the first time the FDA had banned an herbal weight loss supplement ingredient for safety reasons.

Other Safety Concerns

As we’ve noted in other posts, many supplements sold online and in retail stores are made in China and other countries that have low standards for purity and safety. These products may contain harmful contaminants such as pesticide residues and heavy metals. To be safe, choose supplements that are sourced and made entirely within the U.S.

Also, while the FDA does not approve weight loss supplements to affirm their safety and effectiveness, it does offer one type of supplement ingredient regulatory classification: “generally recognized as safe,” commonly referred to as GRAS. An FDA-GRAS designation means an ingredient is generally recognized by qualified experts in the scientific community as safe to consume.

Summary: Better safe than sorry

Weight loss supplements are never an easy answer to weight loss. Losing weight and keeping it off require a commitment to eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

If you choose to take a weight loss supplement, you’ll want to take precautions to be safe.

  • Don’t exceed the recommended dosage
  • Check with your doctor or health provider to make sure the ingredients won’t interact or interfere with any medications you’re taking
  • Look for products that only contain FDA-GRAS ingredients
  • Research the product as well as the manufacturer to see where the product is made and if there are any safety complaints

We urge you to speak with your doctor to evaluate the potential benefits and risks of any weight loss supplement. Working together, you and your doctor can find a safe weight loss supplement for you.