Could a slimming supplement help you lose weight?View article
As the bikini panic starts to set in, many of us may be feeling desperate that the gym sessions and low fat lunches aren't having the desired effect.
We've all heard the warnings about quick-fix diet pills. But a new breed of weight loss tablets - known as slimming supplements - is now emerging to tempt us.
Derived from a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as kelp from seaweed or fatty acids from animal proteins, these supplements have a better image than traditional diet pills because they contain natural ingredients.
But do they work? A small number of studies are starting to show a positive effect for some supplements. However, many of these studies have only been carried out using animals so their effect on humans could be different. Experts are also divided over how safe these supplements are and the effects of taking too many.
If you are considering using slimming supplements read our guide to the eight most common types. We've spoken to the experts to find out the most up-to-date research.
CLA - What is it?
CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid, a type of essential fatty acid found in animal fats. One reason that we may not be eating enough CLA is that we have cut back on these fatty foods to improve our diets. Luckily CLA is also found in milk so you can drink this as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
How does it work?
CLA may have an effect on body composition - reducing the amount of fat in the body and increasing the amount of lean muscle tissue. The theory is it works by reducing fat storage and boosting the breakdown of fat in the body.
Enthusiasts believe CLA works by speeding up the action of an enzyme which helps break down fat in the blood. At the same time it slows down another enzyme responsible for helping the fat cells absorb fat.
Has it been proven?
In one animal trial, piglets fed a diet containing CLA had less body fat and more lean muscle than the piglets kept on a normal diet.
In a Norwegian study on humans, one group of healthy volunteers were given a daily dose of CLA and another group were given a placebo - a pretend pill - and both groups were told not to diet. After 12 weeks there was no significant difference in weight loss between the two groups, but those taking the CLA had lost more body fat.
Professor Mike Pariza from the University of Wisconsin, a pioneer of CLA for weight loss, says that CLA can also reduce the ratio of fat to muscle when you put weight back on after dieting.
A pill to help you lose weightView article
Health Article: Kate Rew, Daily Mail
Years of experience will never make diet pills lose their allure. The prospect of easy weight loss is just too compelling. Logic dictates that excess weight is a simple equation (too much food + too little exercise = lard), but that rarely stops us trying more complex mathematics.
Nutritionists are now taking a more subtle approach. Nutritional 'imbalance' could lead to overeating, they say, so get the balance of nutrients right in your diet and weight loss may follow.
'People who stay slim have appetite-control systems that are very good at helping them to eat just the right amount of food,' says Susan Jebb, obesity expert from the Medical Research Council in Cambridge.
'If your health is in balance, your body won't want to carry extra weight,' says nutritionist Natalie Savona, who believes fluctuating blood-sugar levels and shortage of metabolism-related nutrients can drive over-consumption.
Top nutritionist Laz Bannock, whose clients include TrudiStyler, Sting, Mel C and Boy George, agrees. 'The best way to achieve weight loss is to give the body more nutrition, so it can maintain a healthy metabolism and burn body fat.'
CLA - What is it?
Conjugated linoleic acid, a slightly altered form of the essential fatty acid linoleic acid.
How might it help?
CLA has a reputation for helping burn fat and build lean tissue. It's also linked to improved athletic performance.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity found CLA reduces abdominal fat (by an inch over four weeks), and previous trials have found CLA takers (versus placebo) have an easier time staying on diets and experience fewer hunger pangs. But don't expect miracles.