The diet industry is a super-expensive one. But are you really getting your money’s worth, or should you just stick with good, old-fashioned working out and eating right? Check out what Health.com has to say below.
MYTH: The African herb hoodia is an effective appetite suppressant
FACT: It’s still unclear whether hoodia makes it easier to skip dinner and save a few hundred calories, although there is some anecdotal evidence of the herb’s powers. “Hoodia is reported to arrest hunger for those making long journeys in the desert,” explains Roberta Anding, RD, a clinical dietitian and the director of sports nutrition at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
The active ingredient in hoodia is believed to be a compound called P57. Research suggests that animals who have had P57 injected into their brains eat less, but this effect is unlikely to be replicated in humans taking hoodia capsules, Anding says.
Hoodia hasn’t been studied in humans, and until it is the plant’s safety and ability to stop hunger are anyone’s guess.
MYTH: I don’t need to diet or exercise if I’m taking a weight-loss supplement
FACT: Practically every supplement’s label-not to mention every weight-loss expert and dietitian-will tell you that if you want to shed pounds you’ll also need to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Even the over-the-counter drug Alli, a half-strength version of the prescription weight-loss medication orlistat, should be thought of as a boost to dieting and exercise, not a replacement for either. If you take Alli, you’ll need to stick to a low-fat diet (no more than about 15 grams of fat per meal) or you could experience some pretty unpleasant side effects. “Alli keeps your gut from absorbing some of the fat you eat,” explains Saul Shiffman, PhD, a senior scientific advisor to Pinney Associates in Pittsburgh. “So if people eat too much fat at a meal it’s flushed through, and they can feel bloated and even stain themselves.” The bottom line? Taking Alli may require a change in diet.
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