Health & Food

Diet Products Reviewed

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Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have fun plans for the weekend, even if that means relaxing and not doing anything. I have to work all weekend, but I can’t complain because I had Monday and Thursday off. During my time off I helped Nick celebrate his 32nd birthday, and did some more work on my granola. As you may or may not know from my last post, I plan to sell my granola sometime this year or next. I really appreciated your honest opinions about the $6 price. I think I may be able to sell it for $5.50 instead, but we’ll see. It’s definitely a work in progress!

Today’s post focuses on some of the recent weight loss products that you may have seen advertised at your local grocery store. In the past few months I have been asked the following question by several customers;

“Which of these diet products would you recommend?”

We have an entire shelf full of the same diet pills that you will find at most grocery stores, which of course is tough for someone like me to handle. Obviously as a dietitian I am more focused on helping people lose weight with a healthy diet and exercise, not by taking a pill or a drink. But at the same time I am supposed to help sell products, so…I have to try to be unbiased! I usually start by suggesting to the customer that we meet for a one-on-one consult, which would allow me to create for them a sensible food plan. Most often this option isn’t good enough. Because of this I have started to do more research on some of the products we sell.

I was happy to see that Nutrition Action wrote a short summary of four of the most popular diet products. Here is a short review of their findings, as well as my own comments;

Slim ShotsHave you seen these yet? They contain a manufactured ingredient called Fabuless, which is “an emulsion of palm oil, oat oil, and water” (Nutrition Action). This ingredient is said to reach the lower regions of the small intestine and trigger certain brain signals that make you feel full. The Fabuless is packaged into little “creamers” that are supposed to be added to coffee or other beverages.

Evidence? A couple studies did show that people consumed 30 percent fewer calories during the days they consumed this product, but these studies were only one-day long (HA!). Another study showed potential, but then another study showed no effect.

Bottom Line: More studies are needed, but product this may be worth a try simply because the ingredients are well known and safe. But really, wouldn’t you rather just eat the fiber? Fiber does taste good these days (fruits, veggies, oatmeal, etc.)! But at least you know what you are consuming when you take this product.

Acai BerryMany products containing Acai (pronounced ah-SIGH-ee) claim that they can help you eat less, metabolize food faster, and lose weight. This is simply not true. I mean come on, if it were true wouldn’t we all be skinny?! And, wouldn’t this “breakthrough” berry be all over the World News and newspapers?! Sometimes you just have to stop and think before you fall for these types of claims. Thousands of people have paid loads of money for these products, only to find out that they had been completely mislead and basically robbed. Don’t let that happen to you!

Bottom Line: Acai berries are just like any berry. They will provide fiber (if you actually eat the berry!) and loads of antioxidants, but they will not give you massive energy and help you lose weight. Sorry.

Sensa

Sensa is basically a blend of starch crystals that are flavorless and scented. The company who makes this claims that you can lose 30 pounds without dieting, guaranteed (read more at www.TrySense.com). The company claims that these crystals enhance the smell of your food, thus triggering an “I feel full” signal in the brain.

Evidence? The only studies that have been done on this product were done by the company itself (never a good thing, you want to look for third party studies!). The large study didn’t even compare the Sensa to a placebo, so in my opinion it was pointless (how do they know if any scented crystals could have had the same effect??).

Bottom Line: Let’s face it, the reason many people are overweight has little to do with the fact that they don’t feel full. Most people continue eating even once they do feel full! Right? And even if some people do have a physiological problem with becoming full (I know some people do), I would wait for more and better studies to be preformed with this product before spending the $60/month.

AlliFinally, a weight loss product that is FDA approved! Alli was created as an over-the-counter version of the prescription drug Orlistat. Alli is half the dose of Orlistat, which is why it can be sold over-the-counter. Basically what it does is block the absorption of half the fat you consume. While it works quite well, you must remember to follow a low fat diet. Because of this I believe it’s not just the pill itself that helps you lose weight, it’s also the fact that you are forced to eat less fat. If you don’t eat a low fat diet (ie: less than 15 grams of fat per meal) you will have powerful consequences (diarrhea, gas, etc). But if you can stick to less than 15 grams of fat per meal, and continue taking Alli while keeping up with your exercise, this product can truly work well!

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a sensible and safe way to lose weight, try Alli. You can read more about it on their website, MyAlli.com. You won’t see miracles, but if you do it right you can potentially lose about 1-2 pounds per week.

Question: Have you tried any of the above products? Do you have anything to add to this post? Personally I have never tried any of these, for obvious reasons, but if I’m ever in need of taking off a few pounds, I’ll try Alli!

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