Trying to lose weight is a common problem many of us face. For some people, it is an annual event that turns out to be more of an expense than a benefit. There are numerous diets and supplements available that claim to help you lose weight. But, what does the evidence say, and is the news media justified when it claims these products simply do not work? If a product does not work, then why did Health Canada approve it? Many clinical trials have been performed with different weight loss supplements, and these trials do show the products can help you lose weight. Many companies use these trials to promote their products, but why does it not help me?
The simplest question to answer is how Health Canada approves a product claiming to be effective for weight loss. Basically, a company must submit clinical data that supports its weight loss claim. This means a company has clinical trial data that demonstrated the product could help reduce body weight. In addition, the company must provide evidence the product will be safe under the conditions of use. In other words, it must defend taking the recommended dose of a product will not cause any serious side effects. The risk assessment process is what leads the company and Health Canada to prepare the precaution and warning statements usually found on a product label. It isÂ very important to follow the directions of use and not exceed the recommended daily intake, because at higher doses, the product may not be safe for you. Increasing the dose to try to lose more weight is not something you should consider as it can be very dangerous to your health, and it most likely wonâ€™t help you lose more weight.
A careful look at the clinical research and claims approved by Health Canada suggest why you simply canâ€™t take the product alone to lose weight. For example, weight loss supplements containing chitosan or green coffee bean extract usually have the following claim: â€œCould be a complement to a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a calorie-reduced diet and regular physical activity for individuals involved in a weight management program.â€ This claim conforms perfectly to the clinical evidence. In other words, you cannot just take the supplement to lose weight. You need to reduce the calorie intake and perform exercise. An analysis of the clinical trials suggested a statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction of body weight in people with excess body weight when chitosan was taken while consuming a hypocaloric diet. Other studies showed it was ineffective as a weight-loss supplement when used alone. In other words, without dietary changes or physical exercise, it does not work.
Systematic reviews of the clinical trial data suggest the use of Konjac root (glucomannan) supplements results in weight loss. Although some studies assessed the benefit of Konjac use alone, the majority of the trials were performed where it was used in addition to a hypocaloric diet. It typically helps weight loss by promoting satiety and by reducing carbohydrate absorption. In the case of green coffee bean extract, studies also demonstrated weight loss when used in combination with a low-calorie diet. Weight loss was also demonstrated when Garcinia was taken with a low calorie diet plus walking.
A meta-analysis of the clinical trials performed with chitosan showed the mean difference in terms of weight reduction between chitosan and placebo was 3.28 kg after 28 days of use. In other words, about 3 kg more than the hypocaloric diet alone. In general, clinical trials with supplements showed weight reduction of similar magnitude over a period of one month. It was not as dramatic as our expectations may be!
In the case of diets, according to the clinical trial data, no single diet turns out to be better than any other. Any well-balanced diet (not extreme diets!) reduces the number of calories you eat, which can help you lose weight. The caveat is you will lose weight as long as you stick with it. Physical activityÂ works the same way. You can walk, dance, bicycle, or play different sports. Whatâ€™s important is you increase the number of calories you burn by moving more. Same limitation; you have to keep doing this extra activity. If you go on a diet for a few months or increase your activity for the same period, you might lose weight. But, you will regain the weight if you go back to your old habits. Weight loss and keeping the weight lost OFF, is about changing your habits for good.
Bottom line, weight loss supplements are safe, and they can be effective when used according to the directions of use approved by Health Canada. Weight loss will be observed when the individual reduces their calorie-intake and performs exercise. Use of a supplement may be the factor you need to help you get started to lose weight. If you want success from this endeavor, be sure to make small changes and stick with them. It takes time for nutritional and activity life style changes to become habit.Â So progress slowly while keeping weight loss as a long term and permanent goal.