The Skinny on Weight Loss Supplements

Not all weight loss supplements are created equal.  Many have come and gone, not living up their claims.  However, the following supplements have lasted the test of time and are beneficial when trying to lose weight.  I must emphasize that these supplements will do nothing alone.  They need to be taken in conjunction with a supervised diet and exercise program.   Just this past year, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study stating that over twenty thousand emergency room visits a year are due to dietary supplements; most of which are weight loss related.  In comparison, there are thirty times more visits for prescription medication.  Nonetheless, when taking supplements for any health condition, they need to be prescribed and monitored by a health care professional.

Protein: A Must for Weight Loss

Regardless of your goals, a protein supplement is always at the top of the list. Protein is used by the body for muscle repair and recovery.  As you exercise, muscle is broken down.  Then, your body repairs the damaged tissue making it stronger and less susceptible to injury.  Protein is critical to this process.  

I frequently get asked what type of protein is the best.  The answer is not as straightforward as you would think.  Most experts agree that whey protein is the best, however, whey is extracted from milk and some people can have an allergy to it.  In addition, those that have a dairy restriction need to avoid it as well.  When protein is digested, it is broken down to amino acids, then absorbed in the body.  These amino acids are then reformed to whatever protein the body needs.  In theory, if you get enough amino acids, it does not matter what kind of protein you consume. 

Green Tea

The polyphenols in green tea make it an excellent adjunct to assist with weight loss.  These chemicals, specifically EGCG, have been studied extensively and have been shown to activate the body’s thermogenic fat-burning activity.  They also inhibit an enzyme that degrades fat burning hormones as well.  Green tea also increases metabolism by increasing your resting metabolic rate.  This means that you are burning more fat at rest than you would be otherwise.  It can be taken as a tea or in capsule form, however, studies have shown that taking in capsule form increases results.

Bitter Orange

Bitter orange has been shown to increase basal metabolic rate.  They contain adrenergic amines; acting similar to adrenaline, but without the stimulant effects.  They stimulate the breakdown of fat, and increase the uptake of amino acids in the muscle.  In addition, it may suppress the appetite.

 So now you have the “skinny” of weight loss supplements.  If you are interested in losing weight, make sure you are monitored by a health care professional and please get your supplements from a professional line.  I will make myself available to answer any questions that you may have.  Please feel free to contact me at the office.  Good luck!


Nagao, T., et al. (2005). Am J Clin Nutr 81(1): 122.

Dulloo, A., et al. (1999). Am J Clin Nutr 70(6): 1040.

Berube-Parent, S., et al.Br J Nutr 94(3):432.

Henning, S., et al. (2004). Am J Clin Nutr 80(6):1558.