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Herbal Weight Loss-What You Should Know

Sep 12th 2010 at 1:35 PM

The use of herbals and other plant based products for weight loss is becoming increasingly popular.   In fact, many food supplement manufacturers are now working double time to meet the ever growing demands for  over-the-counter weight loss pills and other forms of weight loss regimens.  In the internet alone, if you search for a herbal weight loss strategy, search engines will present to you thousands or even  millions of  options to choose from.  And so, here is the question:  Are they all safe and effective as they claim to be?

Acai berry

Acai berry is a very popular grape-like fruit from the a type of palm tree in South America.  It’s true that  acai berry is a  good source of  many antioxidants, fibers and healthy fats. It’s also true that most of the acai herbal weight loss pills are safe.  However, according to a statement released by MayClinic.com, the claims of manufacturers of acai berry food supplements as being effective to a number of health problems such as arthritis, high cholesterol and obesity is still unfounded.  More medical investigative studies are warranted to prove their claims.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a a vegetable oil from the dried fruit a tropical palm tree.  Many people claim its health benefits for burning fat and improving thyroid function despite its  117 calories per tablespoon content.  Furthermore, according to MayoClinic.com,  the fat from coconut oil is more saturated than butter and lard, which may cause high blood cholesterol  and more weight gain with long term use.  Thus, if you plan to use coconut oil to decrease the weight you have, listen to this advice:  Better not do it.  You will only succeed in gaining more weight that you already have.

Bitter orange

Bitter orange is a component of many weight loss food supplements in the market today.  It’s true that it can  moderately decrease your weight. However, in a statement released by MayoClinic.com,   bitter orange can actually cause a number of side effects such as palpitations, migraines and increased blood pressure which can lead to stroke or heart attack.  Thus if you plan to adapt bitter orange into your weight loss regimen, better not do it!  It’s really not worth the risk.

Hot chilli

Hot chilli is known to be a good source of Capsaicin, a chemical that suppresses appetite by activating neurons in the brain that controls satiety.  In fact in a study presented in 1999 by the Medical Journal of  Australia, it can reduce food intake by as much as 200kcal. It may also trigger the release of epinephrine, a body chemical that causes increase metabolism of fats.  However, there is no  study that supports a solid evidence that can make it  very good weight loss food supplement.  However, since there is no harmful effects with the use of this herbal, why not give it a try?

Ginko Biloba

Ginko biloba can be effective for stress-related over-eating and obesity, according to the aforementioned study released by the Medical Journal of Australia in 1999.  However, there is no supporting evidence that can further prove its effectivity up to this time.  Moreover, this herbal is contraindicated in patients who use anti-depressant medications.   So if you are taking other medications such as antidepressants, this herbal supplement will not do you any good.

Apples and Pears

In a study released by the International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences in March 2003, it has been noted that the humble apple  and  pear are some of the safest and most effective method of reducing your over stored, underused fat.  In fact, most women who underwent this clinical trial reported  losing more than a kilo of their weight in just one month of eating three apples or three pears in a day.

Don’t get easily be convinced by many promoters’ sugar coated advertisements.  Choosing the right herbal for losing weight should be done only after proper investigation is initiated because  some  of the over-the-counter herbal supplements may not be as effective and safe as the manufacturers claim them to be.

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