Green Tea, CLA, HCA, Chromium: The Fab Four of Weight Loss

The weight loss supplement industry is worth billions, and it’s not difficult to see why; who wouldn’t want a magic pill that negates the need for calorie counting and hardcore exercise? Still, even with all that popularity, this is an industry based on a flimsy foundation of little regulation and a lack of long-term human research. In fact, amongst wellness experts the actual effectiveness of supplements is still open to debate. Nonetheless, Harry Preuss, MD, a professor of medicine at Georgetown University and author of The Natural Fat Loss Pharmacy, asserts, ‘some [weight loss supplements] can be very useful aids to a good diet-and-exercise programme,’ so let’s take a look at the pills that may pose promise for your wellbeing after all.


1. Green tea: The key to these supplements is ECGC, which is a green tea-based antioxidant that amps up your metabolism so that your body burns more calories. There have been a few studies on ECGC which indicate it can help you burn an extra 180 calories a day. It might not sound like much, but when you add it all together you lose an additional 18 pounds a year than you normally would from your weight loss diet and exercise programme. It’s recommended that you take 325 milligrams per day along with 100 mg of caffeine, which seems to improve the effects, in three installments before meals. However, don’t overdo it on the caffeine supplements as this can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia – none of which are good for your waistline or your wellness.


2. Linoleic Acid (CLA): This natural component of meat and milk prevents fat from being deposited in your fat cells, and rat-based studies have found that CLA specifically targets and attacks abdominal fat which, let’s be honest, is the fat you most want to see the back of. Another study, this time on 180 overweight – but otherwise healthy – people, found that those who took CLA supplements lost an average of four pounds and 9% body fat over the course of a year. You shouldn’t go overboard on your CLA, as too much can raise your levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, which could up your risk of heart disease. However, three grams a day with meals (which usually equates to three pills) is advised.


3. Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA): This enzyme, which is found in a number of tropical plants, blocks an enzyme in your body that turns carbs into fat. Moreover, it may also increase your levels of serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone that reduces your urge to overeat. One study, which lasted eight weeks, found that participants lost eight pounds and 5% of their body fat when they took this supplement alongside a regime that involved 2,000 daily calories and five-days of walking. Experts say that your body absorbs the HCA more easily when you also consume calcium and potassium, so a supplement that contains all three of these ingredients is ideal. You should split your daily 2.8g into three doses, and take them right before meals when your stomach is empty. There are no serious side effects to this supplement, but high doses of HCA may upset your stomach.


4. Chromium: Your body needs this essential mineral for insulin regulation. Insulin is a hormone in your body that’s responsible for transporting sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. While chromium may not help you lose weight in terms of the number on a scale, it may help your clothes to fit better. Research shows this is because chromium helps people lose fat, not muscle, which is what you should be going for anyway!  Divide a 600-microgram daily dose into three parts, and take it between meals.

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