Obesity has reached what may be considered epidemic proportions in the United States, not only for adults but for children. Because of the medical implications and health care costs associated with obesity, as well as the negative social and psychological impacts, many individuals turn to nonprescription nutritional weight loss supplements hoping for a quick fix, and the weight loss industry has responded by offering a variety of products that generates billions of dollars each year in sales. Most nutritional weight loss supplements are purported to work by increasing energy expenditure, modulating carbohydrate or fat metabolism, increasing satiety, inducing diuresis, or blocking fat absorption. To review the literally hundreds of nutritional weight loss supplements available on the market today is well beyond the scope of this chapter. Therefore, several of the most commonly used supplements were selected for critical review, and practical recommendations are provided based on the findings of well controlled, randomized clinical trials that examined their efficacy. In most cases, the nutritional supplements reviewed either elicited no meaningful effect or resulted in changes in body weight and composition that are similar to what occurs through a restricted diet and exercise program. Although there is some evidence to suggest that herbal forms of ephedrine, such as ma huang, combined with caffeine or caffeine and aspirin (i.e., ECA stack) is effective for inducing moderate weight loss in overweight adults, because of the recent ban on ephedra manufacturers must now use ephedra-free ingredients, such as bitter orange, which do not appear to be as effective. The dietary fiber, glucomannan, also appears to hold some promise as a possible treatment for weight loss, but other related forms of dietary fiber, including guar gum and psyllium, are ineffective.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)