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Weight loss products - do any really work?

Weight loss products - do any really work?

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky November 6 2011

Alli weight loss medication

Weight loss products are easy to come by these days, but do any of them actually work, and are they safe?

The answers are never simple. Much depends on individual needs; for people in good health without serious medical conditions to contend with, there are more options available. People who are taking a variety of medications, however, must be cognizant of the dangers of drug interaction, as the wrong combinations can be lethal.

Another factor to be considered is the amount of weight a person needs to lose. Those needing to drop a lot of weight to regain their health need to be under a physician's guidance. Only he or she can determine if weight loss products are advisable. Those wishing to drop just a few quick pounds may find relatively healthy, short-term solutions.

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The rest, who fall somewhere in between those two extremes will probably discover that a healthy diet and exercise regimen is a much safer way to achieve weight goals. In short, weight loss products should never be considered as a long-term solution.

Having said that, let's look at a few weight loss products in more detail


Alli, also sold as Orlistat, is a weight loss drug with a good reputation. Alli is not believed to negatively affect the heart like so many of its competitors, so you shouldn't feel off-kilter, jittery, or experience a racing heartbeat while taking the product. Additionally, for most people there isn't that horrible side effect of insomnia so common with other weight loss products.

Alli works by reducing the amount of fat the body absorbs. It also helps to reduce the amount of exercise required to burn off existing fat. Finally, people report they don't experience a bounce-back problem (ie putting all the weight back on) when they stop taking Alli.

There are, however, some cons. Alli can increase the amount of gas a person experiences, which can be painful or at least uncomfortable. Bowel movements often change unpredictably. Some people report an inability to control their stools, which can be unusually odor offensive. There is also a possibility that Alli can cause liver damage. That claim is under investigation by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. and comparable agencies in other countries.


Chitosan works to block the amount of fat absorption in the human body. It binds carbs, fats and sugars together, allowing them to pass through the digestive system without being stored. It is a natural product that some believe also assists the digestive process.

Unfortunately, Chitosan is derived from shellfish, which makes it dangerous for individuals with allergies of that type. While there isn't sufficient evidence to prove the product is unsafe, neither is there any evidence of its long-term success. Additionally, some believe the use of Chitosan may block essential vitamin and mineral absorption.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) may prove to be another safe weight loss medication. It works to decrease the number of fat cells while increasing muscle mass and boosting metabolism. It also supposedly jumpstarts the breakdown of fat within the body, while also lowering the amount of it that is stored. It does not, however, work alone. It requires the ingestion of a healthy diet and a regular exercise regimen to achieved the best results.

Unfortunately, proof of its effectiveness and safety is still in question.

Green Tea Fat Burner

This is touted by some as a great way of reducing belly fat, due to is component called catechin. While green tea apparently works for some people, it doesn't necessarily work for everyone. At this point the results are inconclusive.

The negative effects of green tea may be worse than the benefits for some people. It can cause anxiety, diarrhea, frequent urination, insomnia, irritability, nausea and upset stomach.


Hoodia has long been touted as a weight loss miracle. It comes from a South African cactus-type plant, and works as an appetite suppressant. It tricks the brain into thinking the body is already full, working both for food and drink. That, in turn, means that a person will eat and drink less than before.

Hoodia gordonii is all-natural, while the formulated Hoodia often used in weight lost medications is not. It can be hard for a consumer to distinguish which version he or she is receiving.

While many people swear by the effectiveness of Hoodia, the medical community is still unconvinced. There is insufficient proof that the synthetic Hoodia is either safe or effective.

These weight loss products touch on only a few of the things available in today's marketplace. As a rule of thumb, it is always best to get a doctor's opinion before taking any type of medication, even that purchased over-the counter.

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