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Weight-loss supplements

Do weight-loss dietary supplements really work?

Q: “I’m currently on the Weight Watchers programme and exercising every day. The last few kilos are proving hard to shift. I was recently reading a fitness magazine and there are quite a few adverts for dietary supplements which promise to increase metabolism, boost energy, suppress food cravings and reach weight-loss goals faster (as long as they are used in conjunction with a sensible eating and exercise plan).Do any of these products do what they promise or are they a waste of money?”

Deborah

A: Health and sport dietitian Kristen MacKenzie responds:

“So far you have worked hard towards meeting your weight-loss goals by sticking to the simple reality: to lose fat requires doing more exercise (using more energy) and eating fewer kilojoules (less energy in through foods).

Weight-loss means many things to many people but ‘easy’ is not normally the first word to spring to mind.For that reason, anything promising quick or easy results can seem really tempting. These products are big business; people are willing to pay for them and they often make big claims. Whether these work or not (and in most cases I would argue not) there are things that are going to have a much greater impact on your overall energy levels, weight and well-being. For example, exercise and regular meals will have a much greater effect in boosting metabolism than any pill or potion. Eating filling (or high satiety) foods is going to have a greater effect on suppressing food cravings than a ‘wonder’ product.

As you pointed out, the small print for many of these products always says ‘team with sensible eating and an exercise plan’. I know it’s frustrating reaching a plateau, especially when you have put in the hard work, but congratulations that you are almost there!

If you do have some spare cash you could consider going to a personal trainer to push you more in your daily exercise. If you don’t do it already, weight training may be an option to boost your metabolism and shift some of those kilos towards muscle, but make sure you do it on top of your current exercise. Otherwise, look for any areas where you could cut out extra kilojoules in the short term to give yourself that final push. Good luck!”

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