Commentary by Chintan Amin, MD, IU Health Physicians Internal Medicine
If you resolve to shed some extra pounds in 2014, it’s important to know the steps you should take – and those to avoid – to help improve your chances of not only losing weight, but maintaining a more ideal weight over time.
Fundamentally, the most effective way to lose weight – and keep it off – involves modifying your lifestyle to include regular physical activity and healthier dietary choices. In an attempt to jump-start weight loss, some people turn to weight loss supplements, which are advertised prominently at this time of year. Product manufacturers usually claim these supplements increase metabolism, burn fat or block absorption of nutrients. If you’re thinking about taking a weight loss supplement, talk to your doctor first and consider the following:
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements. They are not required to undergo the rigorous tests for safety and effectiveness that are customary for regulated drugs.
- Most weight loss supplements have not been studied extensively, and only a very few are known to be minimally effective. When a supplement does work, it’s usually because the user has followed the manufacturer’s recommendations to exercise and eat a healthier diet while taking the supplement.
- The ingredients in some weight loss supplements – even those that claim to be “all natural” – can interact with prescription medications you take. That’s why it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before using any kind of dietary supplement.
- Besides a very low-calorie diet, which is usually medically supervised, and weight loss surgery, no product, pill or diet has been proven to promote “fast” weight loss.
In efforts to lose weight and keep it off, those who are most successful are the people who lose 1 to 2 pounds per week by combining a healthy, reduced-calorie diet with regular exercise. Crash diets and the empty promises associated with many of the weight loss supplements on the market today rarely help people achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight loss plan that’s right for you.
Chintan Amin, MD, specializes in internal medicine. He is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians Internal Medicine, IU Health North Hospital, 11725 Illinois St., Ste. 325, in Carmel. He can be reached at 317.688.5800.