From diet supplements to shakes and bars, there are lots of weight management programs on the market. If you’re wanting to lose some weight, you may have looked at these types of products and wondered if they’re likely to work for you. We’ve reviewed some of the most popular weight management products so you can decide if they’ll fit into your lifestyle and help you to meet your goals.
Diet pills can take a few different forms and, depending on their ingredients, their aim may include:
- Suppressing your appetite so that you’re not as hungry and won’t want to consume as many calories. These contain ingredients that fool your stomach into thinking that you’re full. A few examples of ingredients that often act as appetite suppressants in diet pills include hydroxycitric acid (which is derived from Garcinia Cambogia), bitter orange, green tea extract, green coffee extract and chitosan (made from the powdered shells of crustaceans). Phentermine is an example of a diet pill that suppresses appetite.
- Lowering your calorie intake by stopping your body from being able to absorb as much of the fat you eat. Alongside this, it’s usually recommended that you eat less fat in your diet and consume fewer calories in general. This is largely because you can suffer digestive problems such as flatulence, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, “oily” faeces and bowel incontinence if you eat more fat than is recommended while you’re taking this type of diet pill. Orlistat is a well known example of a diet pill that affects fat absorption.
- Helping your body to burn fat more efficiently, even when you’re resting. These are known as thermogenic “fat burners”.
Even fat burners aren’t a miracle cure and they’re not intended to act as a substitute for exercise. You’ll still need to watch what you eat and work out while taking weight loss/diet pills. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can work well alongside diet pills as the nature of the exercises helps to burn more fat.
Some diet pills are only recommended for people who are overweight and struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise. There can be some side effects of diet pills and they’re not always suitable for people with kidney problems, diabetes or high blood pressure. If you’re not sure whether diet pills will be safe for you to take, speak to your doctor first to be on the safe side.
Weight loss shakes
Also known as meal replacement shakes, weight loss shakes are designed to be consumed in place of a meal. A lot of people assume that they are essentially protein shakes but they’re often a lot more nutritious than this.
Because they’re designed to replace a whole meal, the better options contain a balance of nutrients. Ideally, you’ll be getting protein, fibre, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. This means that although you’re cutting down on calories, you’re not compromising your nutrition by replacing a meal.
When you’re choosing a weight loss shake, make sure that it ticks these boxes:
- It offers complete nutrition and isn’t loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar and salt
- It tastes good
- It will keep you feeling full and you won’t be tempted to snack because you’ve missed a meal
See our weight loss shake comparison
Weight loss bars
As with weight loss shakes, the ideal meal replacement bar will be filling and nutritious so that it actually replaces a meal and doesn’t just become an extra snack. Ideally, it will be fortified with essential nutrients and low in calories and fat. At the same time, you also want to be getting a decent amount of fibre and protein to help you feel fuller for longer.
Not every weight loss bar fits this description and many contain lots of sugar and are much higher in calories than you might expect from a “weight loss” product. Check the ingredients and make sure that it is definitely going to support weight loss!
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