Weight Loss Supplements: The Good, The Bad and the Banned
You may think that to lose weight fast you need to use a pharmaceutical drug. The truth is, you can probably do it yourself, without drugs, using only what nature provides you in the form of proper nutrition and supplementation where necessary. In this post I will discuss natural options that deliver the benefit without the downside. The track record of the pharmaceutical industry is not that great. Take a look at the side effects of previously approved drugs that had to be banned because of the damage they caused. Maybe you still remember their names from the advertising messages: Meridia, Aminorex, Metabolife, TrimSpa, Adipex, Acomplia. Feel free to read the details in the article 5 Banned Diet Pills by Matt Hickman.
What about natural weight loss supplements? Well, not all natural supplements are good for you either. The popular (and now banned) Ephedra has great thermogenic effects, but in larger doses it can really make you quite jittery, and even contribute to significant complications. You may remember the commotion and debates between 2003 and 2005 when the ban was overturned, and then reinstated. Ephedrin is great at clearing your nasal passages in a small dose it is used in Sudafed or Claritin to give you that clear mind feeling. In a bigger dose it will make you feel quite over-stimulated.
I bring up this point often, but perhaps not often enough: all of your bodys systems are connected. To find the cause of weight gain we need to look not at the fat deposits, instead we need to look at the metabolic process. We must consider its source, not its results.
Lets consider weight gain at the cellular level, where the regulatory systems decide how much fat to burn, and how much fat to store for future use. One of the most overlooked causes of weight gain is the function of your thyroid. When it is not working right, it will produce a number of predictable symptoms: weight gain, difficulty losing weight, lackluster hair, dark circles under the eyes, cold hands and feet, and in younger women uncomfortable menstruation, PMS, and fibrocystic or enlarged and painful breasts.
There is a very simple and easy-to-find remedy for this particular scourge: iodine from natural sources. There are many edible species of sea weed, including kelp, dulse, wakame, arame, kombu, nori, hijiki, Irish moss and certain varieties of algae. You can add them to your meals, or even easier, they are available in capsules or tinctures too.
The nice thing about getting your iodine from natural sea weed is that it is modulating. If your thyroid hormone levels are low, they will rise, and if they are too high, they will fall to restore balance, in response to improved iodine uptake and utilization.
As we discuss in this Research Article Iodine Research on Life Enthusiast website:
Symptoms of iodine deficiency include sluggishness (hypothyroidism), weight gain and, in extreme cases, an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). Fatigue, Cold intolerance, Muscle aches & pains, Heavy or more frequent periods, Low sex drive, Brittle nails, Weight gain, Hair loss, Muscle cramps, Depression, Constipation, Elevated blood cholesterol, Puffy face, Dry skin and hair, Inability to concentrate, Poor memory, and Goiter.
During pregnancy, iodine deficiency can cause miscarriage or severe mental retardation (cretinism) in children. Many foods and food additives are known as goitrogens because they interfere with the thyroids metabolism (nitrates, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts).
How do you decide what path to follow to make weight loss comfortable and permanent supplementation or nutritional changes?
If you are having a difficult time with weight loss, you may want to stay away from deli meats, and eat your broccoli or cabbage cooked, not raw. Once they are cooked, the cruciferous vegetables lose their thyroid inhibiting power. Here are two recipes we are fond of: Seaweed Wrap: Raw Food Recipe and Beef and purple sprouting broccoli stir-fry recipe.
To make the change permanent you may also need to consider the type of fuel you use to to feed your body, the mix of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In my next post I will let you in on a secret: your genetic heritage determines if you get fat from bread or butter. It is not both. About the photo at top: This woman was kind enough to share her encouraging weightloss experience with her audience on Flickr. Here are some details she shares that lead to her success (much of it should look familiar from this post):
- Avoided carbs (including starches) and sugars entirely where possible
- Mostly ate raw fruit (not blended, no juice), cooked meat, nuts and eggs
- Mostly avoided cheese
- Most frequent foods: bananas, raw almonds, raw pistachios, bacon
- Reduced calories to 800-1000 per day
- To ward off sugar cravings, drank diet soda and chewed gum
- Diet deviation mostly happened in the form of occasional beer or glass of wine
- Exercise was light to moderate: walking, hang gliding, some weight-lifting
- Generally followed advice on www.marksdailyapple.com/