Weight loss herbs are widely available everywhere, but do they work any better than their pharmaceutical counterparts? More importantly, are they any safer?
Weight Loss Herbs & the FDA
There have been many recalls of diet pills by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These recalls have left the impression that diet pill makers are playing fast and loose with regulations and that the consumer is wasting time and money as well as risking his or her health taking diet pills.
The problem is that most diet pills on the market are not required to seek approval by the FDA due to the wording of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which basically treats weight-loss supplements as food.
Furthermore, most of the herbal diet pills contain ephedra or ma huang, which are taken by a great number of Americans for the purpose of losing weight and body building. Numerous studies have shown that these ingredients can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, seizures and tremors, and even death.
Manufacturers of herbal products may push the idea that herbs are safer because they are natural, but we know this is not necessarily true. Recent history tells us that while ma huang and ephedra are natural, they can have negative results.
Best Weight Loss Herbs
When you’re looking for herbal diet supplements, stay away from anything that is a stimulant. While these may work for some people, they often aggravate certain health conditions like hypertension. Likewise, if you are just caffeine sensitive, you may find yourself suffering side effects.
So how can you avoid risky concoctions and find herbs that can actually help you on your weight loss journey? Rest assured that there are relatively safe herbs with little to no side effects.
Brown seaweed shows promise in reducing belly fat. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that rats lost 10 – 15 percent of body weight mostly in their belly fat on a diet of brown seaweed. Scientists believe the pigment fucoxanthin causes abdominal fat to oxidize.
Although green tea is a stimulant that acts like coffee, it has the benefit of vitamin c flavonoids (antioxidants). You can control how strong the stimulating effect is by the how long you steep the tea. The tea can be purchased in a capsule as well as in tea bags or loose. It’s believed to be assimilated best in the liquid form.
If hot spices don’t bother you, consider adding cayenne to your food. Cayenne contains capsicum. It raises the liver enzymes responsible for fat metabolism. In general, it accelerates your metabolism without raising your blood pressure.
Even beneficial herbs can be mixed with less desirable supplements, so do your research. Your goal should be good health and not necessarily just weight loss.