While on the road to successful weight loss, watch out for hitchhikers that climb aboard only to slow you down. Watch out for hitchhikers who make false promises that get your hopes up, only to rob you, leaving your pockets and emotions empty. Many of you know what I am talking about. Many of you have already been taken by the next great diet fad, into which you sunk your life savings and received nothing in return. Even if you haven't lost your life savings, please remember that an investment of time and money, however small, has no real value if you get nothing in return. Wouldn't you rather buy something that costs $40 and works than buy something that costs $15 and does nothing or does far less than the advertiser promised?
As the old saying goes..."Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Don't be fooled by a weight loss product that promises to help you loose weight, because it does one or two things extremely well. If you don't happen to be the exact person that may be helped by those one or two things, then you will never get the results the advertiser has promised. Weight loss products can help a person loose weight for many different reasons, but very few products attempt to help everyone, regardless of age, weight, metabolism, genetics, sex or biological predisposition.
The most common ways that diet products assist with weight loss are as follows:
Thermogenic affect: This is a product's ability to assist with weight loss by heating up body temperature. As core body temperature increases, metabolism speeds up, increasing a body's ability to burn calories and metabolize fats.
Appetite Suppression: This is a product's ability to curb a person's physical desire to eat or drink.
Feeling of Fullness: This is a product's ability to help make someone physically feel like his or her stomach is full. This is important for dietary supplements taken 30 to 60 minutes before meals, as they reduce a person's ability to eat large amounts of food in one setting, thus increasing the number of times a person eats throughout the day. This is important, because eating several smaller meals throughout the day helps hold the metabolism at a higher rate for long periods of time, thus increasing the amount of calories that a body is able to burn throughout the day.
Diuretic (Fight Fluid Retention): The human body is approximately 60% water. Everyone's fluid level consistently remains near this level as excess fluids are eliminated through the kidneys. That being said, some body types naturally retain more fluids and some people eat certain foods that encourage the body to hold more fluids. Generally speaking, diets that are high in carbohydrates will cause a body to retain fluids. When carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in muscle tissue, extra water is bound to the glycogen. Please note, that in women, fluid retention naturally tends to increase during menstruation. When a body retains excess fluid, a person may notice that his or her weight also increases. Additionally, please recognize that the body sometimes attempts to fill spaces left by lost fat, with fluid. Because of this, it is important for dieters to monitor their fluctuation of weight over time, rather than focusing on independent and daily increases or decreases in weight. Products that help the body remove excess fluids may assist with immediate weight loss, but cannot be relied upon for long-term successful weight loss.
Stimulant (Increased Immediate Energy): This is a product's ability to assist with immediate energy and "get you moving". These are also the products that typically result in the feeling most commonly referred to as "crashing". Natural products that provide immediate energy are typically high in caffeine from either anhydrous caffeine or some botanical ingredient naturally containing caffeine. Natural caffeine may reduce physical and mental fatigue, while increasing alertness, awareness and energy, for short periods of time. Stimulants often work quite well with each other and are often found in dietary supplements in various combinations. Stimulants can assist in reducing caloric intake, as they have a tendency to suppress appetite and may boost metabolism increasing the body's ability to burn calories while converting food to energy. These types of products may help you loose weight as well as help you get more from your workout.
Sustained (Long-Term) Energy or Endurance: This is a product's ability to assist with increased energy and endurance for long periods of time by "keeping you moving". One of the biggest complaints from those over weight is that they get tired quickly and simply do not have the ability to perform long, strenuous, physical tasks and in some cases get too tired to complete a day of normal activities. These types of products may play a critical role in providing the ability to begin achieving normal daily tasks for hours after the product has been consumed.
Curb Carbohydrate Cravings/Assistance with Normal Blood Sugar Levels: This is a product's ability to reduce the physical desire of a person to eat carbohydrates. As mentioned in the Diuretic section above, diets high in carbohydrates may tend to encourage fluid retention. This, however, is not the only concern for those eating high carbohydrate foods, while trying to loose weight. Think for a second about the types of foods that are high in carbohydrates. Also realize that some of these foods are also extremely high in calories. A carbohydrate is any organic substance that serves as a major energy source. Carbohydrates are available in simple forms, such as sugars or complex forms such as starches, cellulose and fiber. Simple carbohydrates are treacherous for those trying to lose weight. If you are truly committed to losing weight, AVOID SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES LIKE THE PLAGUE. Simple carbohydrates are also referred to as "empty calories", as they provide very little nutritional benefit to the body.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are derived from plants and may not necessarily be bad for weight loss. In fact, they may even assist with weight loss. Complex carbohydrates of typically medium calorie foods that fill up your stomach and provide a feeling of fullness. Good complex carbohydrates are foods like beans, milk, 100 percent whole grain breads, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Experts report that a successful diet plan may consist of as many complex carbohydrates as 50 to 60 percent of the total calories consumed. The problem for a dieter eating complex carbohydrates is not entirely derived from the complex carbohydrates themselves, but rather, the problem for dieters often comes from the things eaten with the complex carbohydrates. Be careful when eating complex carbohydrates not to drown them in high fat toppings or sauces.
When eating carbohydrates, a dieter should also be aware of their impact on blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates and processed foods are typically high glycemic foods, whereas complex carbohydrates are low to moderate glycemic foods. The "glycemic index" is a numerical (number based) index given to carbohydrate foods. The purpose of the glycemic index is to report the average increase of blood glucose (blood sugar) levels induced by specific foods. It was created to help relate the impact of food (or more specifically carbohydrates) on blood sugar levels. On the glycemic index, foods are given a rating from 0 to 100. Foods with a high glycemic index increase blood sugar levels rapidly. Foods with a low glycemic index increase blood sugar levels slowly. Please note, the glycemic index will not apply to all people evenly, all the time, as different people will have different reactions to the food they eat. In addition to this, the impact of a specific foods on blood sugar levels, may be greatly affected by the amount of fat and protein eaten with the carbohydrates, how refined the carbohydrate is and how the carbohydrate is prepared (cooked, boiled or fried, for example). Because of this, many experts discourage the use of the glycemic index, while other health experts encourage the use of the glycemic index as a meal planning guide for those trying to loose weight.
Eating a balanced diet requires the eating of carbohydrates. Eating foods with a low glycemic index may assist with weight loss, by helping to provide a feeling of fullness and assisting with long-term energy, thus encouraging a person to eat less food overall. A product that decreases carbohydrate cravings, can be a nice tool, because it may allow a dieter to choose better foods in a more controlled manner, helping a person to more consistently eat foods with a low glycemic index.
Low Glycemic Index Foods (0 to 55): apples, apple juice, apricots, barley, baked beans, dried beans, butter beans, chick peas, soy beans, lentils, breakfast cereals (oats, muesli, bran), 100 percent whole grain bread, nutty bread, cherries, custard, grapefruit, grapes, milk, yogurt, oranges, pasta, peaches, peanuts, pears, peas, pineapple juice (unsweetened), plums, corn, salad vegetables, tomato soup, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes.
Medium Glycemic Index Foods (56 to 69): bananas, basmati rice, some bread (white and brown), couscous, ice cream, orange juice, pineapple, mango, melon, pita bread, pizza, popcorn, potato chips, raisins, rye bread, spaghetti, oatmeal, muffins, split pea soup and yam.
High Glycemic Index Foods (70 to 100): rice, potatoes, pumpkin, waffles, sports drinks, soda, water melon, crackers, carrots, parsnips, nachos, honey, broad beans, pretzels, french fries, Grapenuts, some white bread, white bagels, stuffing, graham crackers, shredded wheat and cream of wheat.
It is important to seriously question irresponsible diet plans and diet products. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are. Avoid products that promise to help you loose weight while you continue to eat whatever you would like, while never exercising. Also avoid the diet plans that insist on the complete, or nearly complete, elimination of carbohydrates or fats. These plans are without balance and things that are not in balance are generally not healthy. Starving your body of essential nutrients like carbohydrates or fats teaches the body that when these things periodically make it into the body, they must be stored for later use.
As an additional warning, overeating carbohydrates, while under eating fats, may prevent fats from being burned as fuel in the body. This can lead to an overall decrease in long term or endurance energy. Eating fats will not make you fat. Similarly, eating carbohydrates will also not make you fat. Your body's response to excess fats or excess carbohydrates may make you fat. Remember that your body has a limited ability to store excess carbohydrates and the carbohydrates that it does not burn are quite easily converted into fats for storage purposes. Out of balance low calorie, high carbohydrate, low fat diets have a tendency to initiate certain biological signals in the body, making it harder and harder for your body to recognize and convert stored body fat into energy. Do you see the problem here? This mechanism is one of the primary contributing factors for those people who begin losing weight and then hit a weight loss plateau. So once again, it must be said...Eat a balanced diet! A good standard for the balanced diet suggests that a person eat 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat.
The only thing you will get is false hope from diet products or diet plans that focus on one aspect of weight loss or push a diet that deprives the body of certain nutrients like carbohydrates or fats. Do NOT count on these types of diets to have long-term success. Do count on these types of diets to eventually take an emotional and physical toll as they have the tendency to leave you feeling tired and hungry. Furthermore, when you stop these plans, expect the lost weight to come right back. To assist with long-term, healthy weight loss, a well balanced dietary supplement, becomes just as important as a well balanced meal.