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Optimizing Thyroid Health to Maximize Weight Loss!

Optimizing Thyroid Health to Maximize Weight Loss!


A big key to weight loss and keeping the weight off is optimizing thyroid function. I recommend women get their thyroid checked yearly and men at least every few years. Hypothyroidism is a very common condition and a major culprit in weight gain and in difficulty losing weight.

Symptoms of hypothyroid include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • trouble tolerating cold
  • joint and muscle pain
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • dry, thinning hair
  • decreased sweating
  • heavy or irregular menstrual periods
  • fertility problems
  • depression
  • slowed heart rate
  • goiter

Reference ranges vary from lab to lab but generally 0.5 to 4.5 is considered a normal range. However subclinical hypothyroid with presentation of many hypothyroid symptoms can occur for many people once TSH is above 2.0 and even more significantly as it reaches above 3.0. Optimal weight loss and body composition correlates with a TSH that is below 2.0.  Making dietary adjustments and stress reduction can be helpful whether you have a long history of hypothyroid and are on medication but still having signs and symptoms of hypothyroid or your TSH is just a little above 2.0 and you want to get that thyroid edge back!


Top 5 essential food related steps to start optimizing thyroid:

  1. No soy. None, zero, zilch! Soy suppresses thyroid function. Soy contains goitrogens which largely block iodine absorption. Iodine is the thyroid’s biggest ally. My at-home alternative to soy sauce is coconut aminos, a great alternative and coconut is neutral to supportive to the thyroid, depending on the form.
  2. The average American is not consuming enough iodine. Iodine is key to thyroid health, as well as breast health. Make sure you are consuming weekly sources of naturally-occurring iodine from seafood, salt water fish, and seaweeds like arame, dulse, hijiki, kelp, nori and wakame. Here are some easy ways to make seaweed happen in your diet…think toasted seaweed snacks, a seaweed salad with sushi, Nori avocado or veggie rolls, condiment forms of dulse and kelp that you can sprinkle on food. You can also take kelp or mixed seaweed supplements. Avoid taking iodine as potassium iodine, this is not a plant source of iodine and for many it can make your symptoms and condition worse, especially if autoimmune thyroid/ Hashimoto’s is present.
  3. Take good care of your liver! Supporting your liver will help to support thyroid by improving overall hormone metabolism and aid in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3 hormone! Support your liver and improve T4 to T3 conversion by eating bitter greens like arugula, endive, dandelion, mustard greens, radicchio and watercress, as well as more common semi bitter and sweet greens like chard, kale, collard and spinach. Lots of leafy greens are also a good source of Tyrosine which also aids in conversion of T4 to T3.  Take alcohol, sugar, fried foods and white flour out of your diet to further support your liver.  The spice turmeric has been shown to aid in liver detoxification and liver tonic supplements like milk thistle, dandelion and guggul can aid in reversing weight gain related to an under active thyroid.
  4. Three minerals your thyroid needs to function optimally are magnesium, zinc and selenium, especially selenium, maybe the most essential nutrient in converting inactive T4 to active fat burning T3! The best sources of selenium are brazil nuts and sunflower seeds, fish, sardines, halibut salmon, pinto beans and navy beans, additionally selenium can be found in all meats and eggs. The best sources of magnesium are leafy greens, especially chard, as well as avocados, nuts and fish like halibut. Zinc can be found abundantly in all meat, as well as in garbanzo beans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, spinach and mushrooms.
  5. Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D. Most people don’t get enough from the sun or from foods like fish, grass fed butter and pastured eggs. Consider supplementing with Vitamin D if your levels are below 30.

Also ask your doctor to run a TPO and TgAb test to rule out autoimmune thyroid/Hashimoto’s. This is different than primary hypothyroidism and needs to be treated differently.  This condition is on the rise and you want to know if you have it so you can be proactive! Paying more attention to immune modulation, gut health, vitamin D, and avoiding gluten are essential for reversing symptoms of Hashimoto’s and losing the weight for good!


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Maximizing Protein for Weight Loss While on a Vegetarian Diet

Maximizing Protein for Weight Loss While on a Vegetarian Diet


Protein is a very long established and well researched part of successful weight loss. Studies show greater weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass after higher-protein calorie-restriction diets than after lower-protein calorie-restriction diets. Reductions in triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference are also reported. In addition, more satiety effect, including greater perceived fullness and elevated satiety hormones is reported after higher-protein meals. The satiety effect of protein is partly mediated by a synergistic effect of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY released from the small intestine. This is most effective with meals that contained at least 25 grams or more of protein at one serving but also had the same results for protein replacement meals, like high quality low processed protein smoothies (see the recipe below).

Getting the weight loss and muscle preserving and building benefits of protein is possible on a vegetarian diet. Here are 5 areas where you can maximize your protein on a vegetarian diet.

  1. High protein white beans. White beans contain almost 18 grams of protein per serving. Other beans can also provide anywhere from 7 grams to 17 grams of protein.
  2. Quinoa, Teff and Amaranth are protein powerhouses averaging 8 to 10 grams of protein per serving with largely a complete protein profile similar to meat. Make sure to soak and cook these naturally gluten free “seed” grains well to unlock their macro and micro nutrient potential and render them easy to digest.
  3. Pumpkin seeds yield around 9 grams of protein per serving and pumpkin seed protein powder yields 19 grams of protein! Pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc and omega 3’s which are also often only found in fish and meat sources.
  4. Lentils have 9 grams of protein per serving, nearly the same as 2 eggs, which weigh in at 10 grams. Many people find lentils easier to digest than beans, especially sprouted lentils.
  5. Hemp seeds have 6 grams of protein per serving and are easy to sprinkle into a smoothie or onto a salad. They are also rich in omega 3’s, which is important if you are not eating fish.

Other tips for maximizing protein through plant based foods include preparing veggie burgers that combine beans, quinoa and eating complete protein sprouted bread. Even a serving of broccoli provides nearly 5 grams of protein which can add up and get you to your minimum of 25 grams per meal. If you are not vegan I recommend high protein Greek yogurt, pasture eggs and grass-fed whey protein, these will provide you with between 10 to 24 grams of protein per serving.  Keep in mind that most plant sources of protein do not individually contain all 20 essential amino acids, but combining these different variety of plant proteins, including legumes, grains, seeds and nuts will naturally complete the proteins. We used to think this had to be done in one meal but we now know that is incorrect. All your incomplete protein intake will match up for the day; it doesn’t have to be done perfectly meal by meal, but the greater variety the better!

My favorite plant based morning protein smoothie recipe:

1 scoop of pumpkin seed protein (19 grams protein)

2 TB of hemp seeds (6 grams protein)

1 TB of almond butter (7 grams of protein)

1 cup berries (1 gram protein)

Filtered water, ice or your favorite seed, nut or oat milk

this yields a whopping 33 grams of protein, lots of healthy “fat burning” fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber while also staying low glycemic.


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What’s Good for the Gut is Good for Weight Loss

What’s Good for the Gut is Good for Weight Loss


With advancements in science and a better understanding of the human microbiome we are learning just how important gut (health) microbiota is in influencing health and weight loss. People that have more diversity in their gut microbiota are leaner than people who have less diversity of gut flora. 
Our gut flora or microbiota contains tens of trillions of micro-organisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes, One third of our gut microbiota is common to most people, while two thirds are specific to each one of us. So, we are influencing our microbiota with every meal and forming the unique environment that can influence optimal weight. Here are 5 top tips to encourage a more diverse microbiota and with that, a leaner body.

1. Prebiotic foods: are certain high fiber plant foods that help act as a kind of fertilizer to help make more probiotics in the gut, some of these are:

  • Onions
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Artichokes
  • Yams
  • Beans
  • Chicory
  • Oats

2. Probiotic foods are created largely by fermentation and this process helps to produce good bacteria strains that feed our gut microbiota levels and diversity, these include:

  • Yogurts including dairy/coconut/almond
  • Kefir including dairy/non-dairy
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Bacterially fermented cheeses
  • Kimchi
  • Miso

3. Emphasizing omega 3’s and 9’s while decreasing omega 6’s in your diet is a sure-fire way to melt the pounds via the gut. Obesity has been linked to intake of inflammatory omega 6s and not enough anti-inflammatory omega 3s. This imbalance in fatty acids in the gut produce toxins called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that trigger inflammation, insulin resistance or pre-diabetes and therefore, promote weight gain. Avoid corn, canola and soy oil and incorporate more olive oil, avocado oil for cooking and eat your seeds! Chia, flax, sunflower, sesame, hemp and pumpkin seeds as well as almonds and walnuts, snacking on these sources of healthy omega 3’s and 9’s will help you get lean and also support heart health.

4. Take probiotic supplements that contain certain bacteria strains. In a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition women on a weight loss program taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus over a 24-week period had double the weight loss of the placebo group not taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus…DOUBLE! That’s a great stat! Look for probiotics with Lactobacillus rhamnosus as well as lactobacillus Gasseri for extra fat burning support from your daily probiotic.

5. Avoid the things that can alter gut microbiota away from good bacteria and towards producing more “bad” bacteria that can cause GI distress and reduce diversity like excess sugar, red meat, processed meats like lunch deli meats, white flour and alcohol as well as overuse of certain OTC medications and overuse of antibiotics, especially without replacing with a probiotic following an antibiotic course.

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Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes and Vitamins

Weight loss supplements come in many forms, including tabletspillsgummychews and vitamins, as well as meal-replacement barsdrinks and shakes.

They all claim to make it easier to lose weight ― some even promise rapid results ― but it’s important to know that not all weight loss supplements are created equal.

Different products contain different ingredients, with different modes of action and different levels of effectiveness.

For example, some weight loss supplements work to curb hunger, helping you eat fewer calories. Fat blockers block the absorption of some fat, helping you take in fewer calories. And fat burners (also called metabolism boosters) claim to boost metabolism, helping you burn calories faster.

If you’re considering using a supplement to lose weight, you may have some concerns, such as:

  • Are weight loss supplements good or bad for you?
  • Do they really work?
  • Are they safe?
  • Which supplements work best?

These are all excellent questions. This article will look at various types of weight loss supplements, and the pros and cons of each. You’ll also learn what’s known about the safety and effectiveness of many ingredients that are commonly used in supplements.

Click a link in the Table of Contents to skip to a question. Let’s start with the question that probably brought you here:

Do weight loss supplements really work to help you lose weight?

This question is tricky, because the answer can be either yes … no … or sometimes, depending on which supplement you are talking about, as well as your expectations.

There are no miracle pills that will make you magically shed pounds. Supplements are intended to be part of a lifestyle that allows you to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way.

Any product that promises radical weight loss, quick results, or other over-the-top claims should be viewed with skepticism. When weight loss supplements sound too good to be true, they usually are. Losing weight is a process. It begins with eating a healthy, balanced diet and being physically active.

Before you begin a weight loss supplement plan, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to make sure the ingredients won’t interact negatively or interfere with any medication you are taking. This is especially important if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressureHashimoto’s diseaseliver damage or hypothyroidism, or if you are diabetic or  breastfeeding.

Having said that, good news is: Yes, there are weight loss supplements that actually work. There are supplements that are safe, natural and effective. You just have to know what to look for ― and what to look out for. Which brings us to …

What you need to know before you begin a weight loss supplement plan

Weight loss supplements can vary greatly in terms of quality based on a number of factors. We cannot stress enough how important it is to know what you are spending your money on and, even more importantly, what you are putting in your body.

Despite claims to the contrary, dietary supplements are not FDA approved. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, dietary supplement makers do not need to be FDA approved to market their products. Rather, the government relies on the honor system, leaving it to companies to make sure their products are safe and that any claims made about such products are true.

Here are a few simple questions that can help distinguish between a supplement that really works to help you safely lose weight and one that’s a waste of money ― or, even worse, one that’s potentially bad for you.

Where was it made?

Many supplements sold online and in retail stores are made in China and other countries that have low standards for purity and safety. At best, these products are loaded with useless fillers that make them ineffective. At worst, they can contain harmful contaminants such as pesticide residues and heavy metals including mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Your best bet is to choose supplements that are sourced and made entirely within the U.S.

Are there any known side effects?

Weight loss is a multi-billion-dollar business. The lure of big profits attracts unscrupulous companies selling products that contain dodgy ingredients known to cause unpleasant, sometimes dangerous side effects, ranging from liver failure to heart attack. We will review the known side effects of popular weight loss supplements and ingredients in the next section, so you know which to avoid.


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.

Are there clinical studies or other scientific research to prove the product’s effectiveness?

With such an enormous market size for weight loss supplements, combined with scarce government regulation or oversight, it’s no surprise that the market is flooded with smoke-and-mirrors products that offer no evidence or proof of efficacy. Look for reviews that look at all current research into an ingredient’s effectiveness as a weight loss supplement ingredient, compiling statistics.

Does it matter where you buy weight loss supplements?

The short answer here is, no. For the most part, you will find the same supplements at stores such as Whole FoodsGNCCVSVitamin ShoppeCostcoWalmartWalgreens and Target as well as online at Amazon and manufacturer’s websites.

Be careful to review the ingredients (we’ll talk more about weight loss supplement ingredients below) as well as the terms of any online offer. Some online marketers offer “free trials” that are not actually free. Many of these trial offers are designed to capture your credit card information and put you into a monthly billing subscription cycle.

Be especially wary of weight loss supplements that rely on celebrity endorsements. There’s little chance that celebrities use the products they endorse. Most celebrities have fitness trainers and nutritionists to help them lose weight ― and even if they do use the product, it’s certainly no guarantee that a supplement is safe.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive in for a closer look at what’s inside popular slim-down supplements.

A review of common weight loss supplement ingredients and modes of action

As stated above, supplements come in a variety of forms, including pills and tabletsready-to-drink shakes and drinkspowders you can mix to make your own shakes and drinks, as well as meal-replacement bars. The particular form you choose doesn’t matter as much as the active ingredients it contains, so we will focus on ingredients rather than specific forms.

Dietary supplements can contain numerous ingredients — everything from natural herbsherbal extracts and fiber to laxativescaffeine and synthetic chemicals.

Figuring out which weight loss supplement ingredients really help you lose weight safely is complicated, especially since these ingredients are often mixed together without much research into the safety of the combination or studies to provide evidence of their effectiveness.

When choosing a weight loss supplement, you will have to weigh the benefits and dangers. With that in mind, here’s the skinny on some common ingredients:


The claim: Caffeine is frequently included in over-the-counter diet pills like Hydroxycut and weight loss supplement stacks sold both in stores and online. This is, in part, because caffeine is believed to boost metabolism and increase fat burning, as well as for the energy boost caffeine provides feels good.

You may be surprised to see caffeine listed in a review of weight loss supplement ingredients. That’s because many supplement companies downplay the role of caffeine in their products. They don’t want you to know that their “secret ingredient” is a stimulant you can get from an ordinary cup of coffee or a neon-green energy drink.

Does it work? While caffeine can boost metabolic rate and fat burning, the effects are short lived. People very quickly build up a tolerance to caffeine’s fat-burning properties, and it stops working. Since most people consume caffeine on a regular basis, it is unlikely to have any significant or lasting impact on weight loss.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “… there’s no sound evidence that increased caffeine consumption results in significant or permanent weight loss. Some studies looking at caffeine and weight were poor quality or done on animals, making the results questionable or hard to generalize to humans.”

Again, one reason so many weight loss supplements contain caffeine is simply that caffeine provides an energy boost that feels good and encourages users to keep taking the supplements.

Is it safe? Most of us are aware of the pros and cons of caffeine. Caffeine is both good and bad for you. Caffeine consumption has been shown to have some health benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes and treating headaches.

On the other hand, Caffeine is a stimulant. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Too much caffeine might cause jitters, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea and increased blood pressure. What’s more, caffeine is a drug, and like any stimulant, it can become physically addictive to the point where you can suffer withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it.

Garcinia Cambogia

The claim: “Lose weight up to 3 times faster!” Sometimes mistaken for an herb, garcinia cambogia is a fruit native to Indonesia. Marketers claim it can inhibit a fat-producing enzyme in the body and increase levels of serotonin, potentially helping to reduce cravings and suppress appetite. In other words, it is marketed as an appetite suppressant.

You may have seen Dr. Oz promoting Garcinia Cambogia on his show in 2012. Dr. Oz is no stranger to weight loss fads. He’s done show pieces on everything from raspberry ketones to a powder weight loss supplement you sprinkle on food. Despite Dr. Oz’s zeal for the magic powder, the FTC ordered the company behind the product to pay $26.5 million dollars to settle charges that they deceived consumers. So we have to take his enthusiasm for garcinia cambogia with a grain of salt.

Does it work? Based on studies conducted so far on garcinia cambogia, there is no clinical evidence to support its effectiveness as a weight loss supplement ingredient. A 2011 review that looked at 12 studies on garcinia cambogia stated the following conclusion:

“The evidence from RCTs [randomized clinical trials] suggests that Garcinia extracts/HCA generate weight loss on the short term. However, the magnitude of this effect is small, is no longer statistically significant when only rigorous RCTs are considered, and its clinical relevance seems questionable.”

Is it safe? WebMD reports garcinia is “POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for 12 weeks or less,” and adds that when you take garcinia cambogia, “you might get: dizziness, dry mouth, headache,” and “upset stomach or diarrhea.”

Consumer Reports says, “Garcinia cambogia has been linked to mania, a condition marked by euphoria, delusions, and overexcitement.” It goes on to say, ”… other research has linked the herbal remedy to health problems that include jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, liver damage requiring a transplant, and one death from liver failure.”


The claim: Glucomannan is fiber extracted from the Konjac root. It is ground up and sold as a weight loss supplement pill, tablet or capsule, as well as in powder form.

Glucomannan is marketed as a hunger-control supplement. Sometimes sold as “Konjac Root” or simply “Glucomannan,” it also is the active ingredient in various name-brand products, including Lipozene, whose makers say the fiber “has the ability to absorb up to 200x’s its own size when in water … and creates a feeling of fullness that lasts for hours,” helping users to “control calories.”

Does it work? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials involving glucomannan concluded that, “The evidence from available randomized clinical trials does not show that glucomannan intake generates statistically significant weight loss.”

One clinical trial, published in the Journal of Obesity in 2013, concludes, “… glucomannan supplements (3.99 g daily) were well tolerated but did not promote weight loss in overweight and moderately obese individuals consuming self-selected diets and maintaining usual physical activity patterns. Other outcomes such as body composition, hunger/fullness, and lipid and glucose parameters also were not significantly altered.”

Is it safe? Users have reported adverse reactions including abdominal discomfortflatulencediarrhea and constipation. In 2010, Canada’s public health department, Health Canada, issued a public warning, stating that products containing glucomannan, “have a potential for harm if taken without at least 250 ml or 8 ounces of water or other fluid,” also noting, “… these products should not be taken immediately before going to bed.”

Green Tea Extract

The claim: Popular in many weight loss supplements, proponents of green tea extract say its main antioxidant, ECGC, can speed up fat burning, especially belly fat. They say it works by increasing activity of a hormone called norepinephrine that helps you burn fat.

Does it work? Drinking green tea has proven health benefits, so it would make sense that supplements containing green tea extract would have similar benefits.

But does green tea extract actually work to help you lose weight?

One review concluded that research suggests there is some evidence that an EGCG-caffeine mixture has a small positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance, while admitting that there have been inconsistencies in outcomes.

Another review said that no conclusion can be drawn about ECGC’s effectiveness as a weight loss supplement ingredient based on current evidence. The authors also said that while green tea extract has been shown in some studies to increase fat oxidation at rest and during exercise, these results also have not been consistent.

The review concludes, “Overall, there are more studies that demonstrate positive effects on resting fat metabolism when green tea extract is ingested.”

Is it safe? Green tea is generally harmless. It’s packed with catechins, an antioxidant compound that, in proper doses, delivers health benefits that include lower cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. But when consumed in high concentrations, such as those found in some weight loss supplements, over extended periods, it can have a disastrous side effect known as herbal hepatotoxicity ― chemically induced liver damage.

These findings prompted the American College of Gastroenterology to release recommendations in 2014 about green tea extract intake, saying it can be toxic and cause liver failure at high doses.

Gut Sensory Modulation

The claim: Technically, Gut Sensory Modulation (GSM) is not an ingredient but a patented mode of action used in a weight loss supplement called Lovidia. The claim is that GSM uses the science of nutrient sensing to reduce hunger so that users eat fewer calories, making it easier to lose weight.

GSM leverages the role of food sensors in controlling calorie intake. Specifically, specialized cells called enteroendocrine cells located in the lining of the gut release several hormones into the circulation. These hormones include peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which signal satiety to the brain ― meaning they tell your brain when you’ve eaten enough.

Taken with meals, GSM uses natural, FDA-GRAS food-grade nutrients to activate the sensors in your gut to release more PPY and GLP-1 than would be released by eating food alone.

Does it work? Unlike many weight loss supplement ingredients, GSM has been tested in multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical studies on human subjects, and the scientific evidence so far is promising. For example, in one study with 220 subjects, the number of subjects reporting reduced hunger in the GSM group was statistically significant compared with the placebo group.

In another multi-site clinical trial, 52 subjects used GSM and periodic calorie restriction. Participants were instructed to take the GSM daily and to restrict their daily calorie intake to 500 calories for three non-consecutive days each week, with no calorie intake constraints for the other 4 days of the week. Subjects reported an average weight loss of 4 pounds after their first week and 9.4 pounds after 5 weeks. Significant improvements in indicators of metabolic and cardiovascular health were also observed in most of the subjects.

Is it Safe? Again, in regard to safety, GSM has significant advantages over most other weight loss supplement ingredients. That’s because the only ingredients in the formulation are natural, FDA-GRAS food-grade nutrients. There’s nothing artificial, no caffeine or stimulants, and no dangerous fat blockers. No safety flags were notedin clinical trials. The only side effects were positive, as GSM was shown to help reduce blood pressure as well as improve glucose control and blood lipids.


The claim: Raspberry ketones were all the rage in weight loss supplements after Dr. Oz did a segment on his show called “Raspberry ketone: Miracle fat-burner in a bottle,” in 2012. The primary claim is that ketones help to break down fat cells, so you burn fat faster. In other words, it is marketed as a fat burner/metabolism booster.

Does it work? Some research in trials on rodents and in test tubes showed that raspberry ketone might increase some measures of metabolism as well as affect a hormone in the body called adiponectin that affects the rate at which the body burns fat.

But there is not a single study on the effect of ketones on weight loss in humans and NO reliable scientific evidence that proves raspberry ketones improve weight loss when taken by people. The concentrations used in test tube testing cannot be scaled for testing in the human body, particularly through oral supplementation. Similarly, dosages used in rodent testing have been referred to as “insanely high,” with no chance of replication on human subjects.

Is it safe? Regarding possible side effects and dangers, Web MD states, “There isn’t enough reliable information available to know if taking raspberry ketone alone is safe. There are some concerns about the safety of raspberry ketone because it is chemically related to a stimulant called synephrine. Therefore, it is possible that raspberry ketone might cause jitters, increase blood pressure, or rapid heartbeat. In one report, someone who took raspberry ketone described feelings of being shaky and a pounding heart beat (palpitations).”


The claim: Orlistat occupies a unique place among weight loss supplement ingredients. Unlike ingredients such as herbs and herbal extracts that are not subject to being FDA approved, Orlistat is an approved drug for the treatment of obesity. At a lower dose, Orlistat is marketed as a weight loss pill, under the brand name Alli and is available  over-the-counter in the United States.

Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor. Orlistat works by blocking the enzyme that breaks down fats in your diet, leaving them undigested. This undigested fat passes out of your body (more about this later), helping you absorb fewer calories.

Does it work? In short, yes. Data from clinical trials shows that people given Orlistat in conjunction with lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and exercise, lose an extra 4.5 to 6.5 pounds over the course of a year than those not taking the drug. So, Orlistat is proven effective in aiding weight loss; albeit with very modest results. But it does not block the absorption of calories from sugar and other non-fat foods, so it works best on people who eat a high-fat diet.

Is it safe? This is the big question with Orlistat: Is the moderate weight loss boost worth all the adverse side effects that come with taking the drug? For one, Orlistat can interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, E, K, so users run the risk of nutritional deficiency. But this is the least of users’ concerns when taking Orlistat.

Much more worrisome is Orlistat’s pronounced and well-documented gastrointestinal side effects. Web MD states, “Fatty/oily stool, oily spotting, intestinal gas with discharge, a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement right away, increased number of bowel movements, or poor bowel control may occur.” These side effects have put Orlistat’s suitability as an OTC weight loss supplement in question. The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has repeatedly challenged Orlistat’s over-the-counter approval on grounds that it is not safe.


The claim: A number of vitamins and minerals are often used in weight loss supplements, including vitamin B-12vitamin D and calcium. You may see claims that supplementing vitamin B-12, for example, will help boost your metabolism and burn fat away, or that calcium increases the breakdown of fat in your cells.

Does it work? While there are many health benefits of taking a multivitamin, there is not enough conclusive evidence so far, based on clinical trials, that specific vitamins or minerals are effective to promote weight loss.

Is it safe? Taken as specified, vitamins are generally considered safe and beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. After all, your body needs vitamin B-12 to support the function of your nerves and blood cells, calcium to support strong bones and muscles, and vitamin D to absorb calcium and keep your bones strong. We just need more clinical trials before we can establish the effectiveness of these vitamins as weight loss supplements.

Summary and conclusion

Dietary and nutritional supplements do have value as one aspect of a sensible weight loss plan with healthy eating, diet and exercise at its core.

However, scientific research involving clinical trials shows that many common weight loss supplement ingredients, including those in popular, brand-name products, lack evidence to prove their efficacy. What’s more, many of these ingredients have been shown to cause side effects, including some that can pose serious dangers to health.

The bottom line? Have realistic expectations. Avoid quick fixes and drastic diets. Look at losing and maintaining a healthy weight as a lifestyle, not a short-term goal. And, above all else, be safe. Before taking a weight loss supplement, be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor or health care provider.

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Quick Weight Loss Programs: Is Fast Really Best?

Quick Weight Loss Programs: Is Fast Really Best?


When you set out to lose weight, you want fast results. It’s only natural, for a number of reasons.

One reason we seek quick weight loss programs is that losing weight requires effort, and it often takes us out of our comfort zone.

As humans, we are predisposed to maximize pleasure. We desire leisure and comfort. So, we are naturally inclined to want anything that takes “work,” like weight loss programs, to be finished as quickly as possible.

Another reason we want weight loss programs to produce quick results is that we live in a world of instant gratification, where everything is sped up ― including our expectations.

We have become accustomed to enjoying instant access to answers on the Internet, instantaneous communication via email and cellphones, instant meals thanks to drive-thru windows and microwaves, etc.

Our attention spans are shorter than ever, and we’re not used to waiting for things. We expect to get whatever we want, fast.

But the truly bad news is that the urge to lose weight quickly actually works against us, making long-term weight loss success harder to accomplish.

Quick weight loss programs don’t work. Here’s why.

There’s really only one way to achieve quick weight loss results ― by radically changing the way you live and dramatically reducing how much you eat.

The drive to lose weight fast often steers us in the wrong direction. We make rash decisions that are unhealthy, such as starving ourselves, and set us on a path that’s unsustainable, such as cutting out entire food groups from our diets.

We make ourselves miserable in the pursuit of quick weight loss programs and end up in an unwinnable battle against our own bodies.

No matter how much willpower you try to summon up, there is no way you are going to overcome your overwhelming psychological need for pleasure and variety, not to mention the uncontrollable hunger your body will inflict on you as a defense mechanism to prevent starvation!

As a result, quick weight loss programs are a waste of time and money that typically end in emotional disaster.

You might be able to keep it up for a month or two, maybe three, and you may even lose a lot of weight … initially. But, in the end, physical needs exhaust willpower, and nature always wins.

Weight loss requires patience ― and persistence.

You may not want to hear this, but the only way to succeed at losing weight and keeping it off is by taking the time to do it in a healthy way that you can live with for the long term. There is no magic bullet, and no quick fix when it comes to weight loss.

Let’s say you want to lose weight. You consult with your doctor who helps you assess your body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of the percent of your body weight that is composed of fat, and, together, you decide that you could stand to lose about 30 pounds.

That’s your ultimate goal: 30 pounds. You want to lose the weight as quickly as possible, so you think, “I can lose 10 pounds a month and reach my goal weight in three months!” It sounds so neat and easy, right?

Breaking this down even further, to lose 10 pounds a month, you’ll have to lose about 2.5 pounds per week. Again, this seems fairly reasonable and doable, on the surface. So, you start looking into a quick weight loss program that promises the fast results you’re hoping for.

But let’s take a closer look at the nitty-gritty details of what it takes to lose 2.5 pounds a week.

You’re probably familiar with the old formula that says a pound of body weight is equal to roughly 3,500 calories and, therefore, if you cut 500 calories a day, times 7 days a week, from your diet, you should lose a pound per week. Likewise, if you cut 1,000 calories per day, you should lose two pounds per week.

That’s a steep number of calories to cut, for sure ― too much for most people to do ― but … it’s within the realm of possibility, if you have a very high threshold for discomfort.

Unfortunately, recent research from the National Institutes of Health shows that our bodies adapt to changes in diet and exercise by slowing down metabolism. As a result, a person has to cut or burn closer to 7,000 calories to produce a pound of weight loss.

So, now you’re talking about having to cut over 2,000 calories a day from your diet to get the quick weight loss results you want!

Hopefully, you can instantly recognize that such a radical reduction in calories would be unhealthy, unpleasant in the extreme, and ultimately unsustainable.

And even if you were to succeed taking such extreme measures, which is highly unlikely, how could you possibly maintain your weight loss once you stop starving yourself? Even a slight increase to your calorie consumption after a prolonged period of deprivation would result in significant weight gain.

Think about how long it took to gain those extra 30 pounds in the first place; it probably happened over the course of a year, or more. Doesn’t it make sense that it will take at least as long to lose the weight?

Forget about quick weight loss programs. What really works is a healthy lifestyle.

Looking once again at the example above, with a goal of losing 30 pounds, let’s approach the challenge with a longer-term view. Let’s see what happens when you stretch that goal out over the course of a year.

Using the NIH’s updated formula that 7,000 calories equals a pound of weight loss, it would take 210,000 calories to lose 30 pounds, or about 4,000 calories per week. That’s about 575 calories a day.

Now, you are in a much more comfortable place. The idea of cutting less than 600 calories per day is less intimidating and far more tolerable than cutting 1,000-2,000 calories per day.

What’s more, doing so won’t subject you body to the shock of a quick weight loss program and will make it easier for you to ease into a healthy and satisfying eating pattern that allows you to keep the weight off after you reach your goal.

It may be a cliché, but the lessons of the old parable of the tortoise and the hare definitely apply when it comes to weight loss. If you try going too fast, you are bound to collapse before you reach the finish line.

When we created our weight loss program, The LOVIDIA Way, we focused on creating a structure that will get you across the finish line with your enthusiasm and sanity intact and the energy to keep going!

If you’re ready to discover a healthy way to lose weight comfortably, and keep it off, you can learn more about The LOVIDIA Way here.