Powerful Weapons That Can Help You Win the War on Fat
Sam Rose, CN MS
Over one half of the United States adult population is overweight. One third qualify as obese. Given these statistics and the mounting evidence
linking excess weight to a host of health problems, it’s not surprising that
many of us have declared war on our fat and are engaged in a fierce battle
with our extra pounds. And thanks to America’s irrepressible entrepreneurial
spirit, several companies have jumped into the fray with new products designed
to melt our unwanted fat into oblivion. The good news is a lot of these fat-burning
supplements actually work. But before you start using one of them, there are
a few things you need to know.
First, don’t expect miracles. No matter what the
advertisements say, no supplement will burn fat while you sleep. In fact,
taking most of them at bedtime will just keep you up all night. And put out of
your head any thought that a pill will single-handedly return you to your once
sleek self. Fat burners can help you lose weight, but you still have to do the
work. Be reasonable. Even if it were possible to slenderize without making any
changes in your lifestyle or eating habits, how long do you think the weight
will stay off once you stop taking the pills? And that brings us to your second
reality check – you can’t take most of these supplements indefinitely. The
ingredients in some of them can be unhealthy if used for too long a time.
Know Your Enemy
Weight gain can occur for a variety of reasons. So, before
taking a fat-burning supplement there are a number of things you’ll want to do.
Have your thyroid function tested. An under-active thyroid gland can make it
impossible for you to lose weight. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Recent evidence suggests that inadequate sleep can put your body into insulin
resistance. In plain English that means you’ll have a tendency to gain weight
and a hard time taking it off. Eat regular meals. Skipping breakfast or lunch
is a sure-fire way to put the brakes on your metabolism and slow your body’s
fat burning potential to a crawl. Limit your intake of starchy carbohydrates
and simple sugars. If you continue to consume these easily accessed sources of
energy, your body will never get around to burning its stores of energy – the
fat you want to lose. Lastly, get enough exercise. According to the experts,
the absolute minimum amount required for weight loss is 3 – 50 minute sessions
of cardiovascular exercise a week. Don’t bother doing 30 minutes. It’s the last
20 that produce the results. If, after making these adjustments, you are still
unable to lose weight, a fat-burner may be just what you need
Many over-weight folks have a sluggish metabolism. Their
bodies have a tendency to store food as fat before it can be burned for fuel.
Thermogenic (heat generating) agents rev up the body’s metabolic rate and boost
its energy expenditure. The result is a greater need for stored energy, which
can translate into significant weight loss. But be advised, they’re not for
everybody. For a variety of reasons too numerous to mention here, people with
diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, prostate hypertrophy,
thyroid disease, glaucoma and those taking anti-depressant medications should
not use them.
The Ephedrine –
Caffeine – Aspirin Stack
This is the heart and soul of most, but not all
thermogenic products. Ephedrine is a beta-receptor stimulator on the brown
adipose tissue (BAT), which is a fancy way of saying it burns fat. The combination
of caffeine and ephedrine produces twice the thermogenic effect as ephedrine
alone. In one study, overweight women taking ephedrine and caffeine had 100%
more fat loss and 72% less muscle loss than those taking a placebo. In another
study in which patients were not put on a diet, the combination of ephedrine
and caffeine plus aspirin caused three times more weight loss than the placebo.
Caffeine and aspirin both appear to modulate activities in the body that would
otherwise inhibit ephedrine’s thermogenic activity. This combination produces
one more benefit – appetite suppression. For the first week or two there is a
significant reduction in appetite. By the time this effect wears off, the
thermogenic activity has kicked in and one should be able to eat a reasonable
amount of food and continue to lose weight.
I tell my clients to start with small doses and increase
them gradually over a few weeks. In addition, I suggest limiting their use to 5
days a week, with weekends off, and discontinuing them for 3 weeks every 3
months. This gives the central nervous and endocrine systems an opportunity to
re-establish homeostasis on a regular basis, reducing the chance of becoming
dependant on the stimulating agents. If you notice any nervousness, irritability,
sleeplessness or nausea reduce or stop using them.
In my opinion, ephedrine should be limited to a maximum of
25 mg per dose, caffeine to 100 mg and aspirin to 82 mg, taken with breakfast
and lunch. Read labels carefully. Ephedrine may be listed as ephedra or ma
huang. Caffeine can appear as kola nut, mate or guarana. Aspirin may occur in
its natural form, white willow bark.
The combination of ephedrine and caffeine can make some
people jittery. Fortunately, a few manufacturers of fat-burners have come up
with effective formulas that avoid the use of stimulants. The best will contain
one or more of the following ingredients:
Pyruvate – 2-5 grams daily can significantly increase fat loss. Pyruvate
also improves exercise endurance and athletic performance. It appears safe even at high doses.
hromiuCm Picolinate – Involved in glucose metabolism, 200-400 mcg helps to regulate blood sugar and convert fat into muscle.
Carnitine – Transports fat into the mitochondria, the cells’ metabolic
furnace, where it can be burned for fuel. Optimum doses range from 1,000 to 4,000 mg a day. The tartrate form is preferable. A diet low in carbohydrates
and high in omega-3 fatty acids improves carnitine’s performance.
Garcinia Cambogia – Also know as Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), has been
shown in laboratory studies to reduce the conversion of dietary carbohydrates into fat by inhibiting certain enzyme processes. It may also suppress appetite.
500-2,000 mg of the extract will produce maximum benefits.
Sam Rose, CN MS is a licensed and certified nutritionist
and owner of Rose Nutrition Center in West Los Angeles. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-473-8835.