Do fat loss products really work?

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Unfortunately, there are many products out in the market that just don’t live up to their claims. Often, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Whether a pill, potion or workout product – there is no magic to fat loss, only hard work, dedication and healthy choices. Fat loss comes from burning more calories than you consume. If you burn 3500 more calories than you eat each week, you can lose one pound of fat. So the greater the deficit between the calories you eat and the calories you burn, the more fat you can lose. Many products are developed to either help you burn more calories through enhanced exercise or eat fewer calories through appetite control or calorie wasting. These methods may work initially at supporting your fat loss goals, but may have side effects that are often deemed undesirable like jitters from caffeine. While some products may be considered valuable support mechanisms, they can’t change your body composition if you are not staying within your body’s daily calorie budget for fat loss. Either way, the best fat loss product is one that you can’t necessarily buy – it is making sure that your body is in a calorie deficit each day until you hit your fat loss goal. 
Fat loss supplements, like their drug counterparts, seek to help with weight loss by increasing energy expenditure (calories burned through thermogenesis or heat production) by wasting energy rather than storing it as fat or making one more apt to move; altering appetite so that the user feels fuller sooner or for longer and reduces cravings; and decreasing absorption of a portion of calories eaten. Essentially the supplement is supposed to make it easier for the user to stick to the lifestyle necessary to achieve their goal. Typically, the user would stop taking the product once the goal is met. As part of a comprehensive program, there may be a few substances that can help while new habits are being formed. However, if one takes fat-loss products in the hope that the product alone will allow them to look and feel amazing, then they will be disappointed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.