Do drugs and fat burners work?
There are a lot of weight-loss drugs available, both prescription and over-the-counter. There used to be more, but they were banned because of the serious health problems they caused.
Amphetamines and caffeine (far in excess of the dose in your morning cup of coffee) have also been used and discarded as unsafe. Not only do their appetite-suppressing effects eventually wear off over time, but they are harmful to the body. Years ago there was even a diet pill that contained live tapeworm segments that latched onto the gut and helped themselves to the nutrients before the body could absorb them. Yuck!
As per https://www.stopfcc.com/, nonprescription diet pills sold as “dietary supplements” are not subject to FDA approval as long as they do not claim to treat a disease. Their safety and effectiveness have not been tested. The chance is great that some terrible side effect will surface in the future. Over the years enough “miracle pills” have turned out to be nightmares that it hardly seems worth the risk.
The latest example is a Chinese herb called Aristolochia fangchi, which was given to patients at a Belgian weight-loss clinic. Within three years, more than 100 patients had kidney damage. Many of them needed dialysis or kidney transplants. Now, nearly 10 years after taking the herb, these patients are developing urinary tract cancers. The lesson to be learned from this horrifying story is that it often takes a long time for these kinds of problems to surface when a medicinal product is not subject to clinical trial before it is approved for use. And that is exactly the case with nonprescription dietary supplements.
There are too many such products to list, let alone discuss in detail. My advice is to simply avoid them all.
Are there fat-burning foods?
No. You may be able to burn fat in a frying pan if you leave it too long on high heat, but the only way to “burn” fat in your body is to expend more energy than is available as glucose in your blood.
Carbohydrates are converted to glucose, and that is what is used to provide energy. Excess is stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen, which can be converted back to glucose when needed. When the glycogen storage cells are full, the rest is stored as fatty acid in fat cells. Fat is also stored as fatty acid in fat cells and so is any excess from the protein you eat that is not needed for cell building.
Your body uses the easiest and most available source of energy first. That’s glucose. Next it draws on the glycogen and fat storehouses. It uses these two at the same time and in about equal proportions as a way of ensuring that glycogen is not fully depleted.
Any physical activity that requires energy in excess of available glucose will burn fat. The longer and the more intensely you exercise, the more fat you will burn. The scientific principle at work here is nothing more nor less than “calories in, calories out.” There are no specific foods, or exercises for that matter, that burn fat more effectively or efficiently than others.
One diet claims to “burn” extra calories because of some magic “catalytic” property found in grapefruit. Now, grapefruit is a wonderful food. It has lots of vitamin C, a decent amount of fiber, and half of a medium fruit has only 50 calories. It is refreshing and delicious and makes a good low-cal snack, dessert, or appetizer, especially if you don’t sprinkle it with sugar. But it has no magic properties.
The U.S. Postal Service has targeted mail order sales of “grapefruit diet pills prime example of mail fraud. These pills actually contain one or more questionable ingredients that have nothing to do with grapefruit: a diuretic cause remove water from your body; glucomannan, a food thickener that can intestinal obstruction; and an appetite suppressant that can cause jitteriness and an irregular heartbeat.
Just say “no” to grapefruit diet pills; the do more harm than good.
Can you spot-reduce?
Years ago gyms and health clubs were equipped with “exercise” machines that consisted of a motor and a wide canvas strap that you put around your buttocks, stomach, hips, or wherever you felt chubby. The idea was that the vibrating strap was “burning” fat off those specific areas. Guess what? It didn’t work.
Neither do exercises that concentrate on a specific area of the body. That’s simply not the way fat cell usage works.
Lifting weights with your arms will strengthen the specific arm muscles you are using, but they will not reduce pockets of fat around or near those muscles.
Where a person loses fat is highly individual. When I lose a few pounds, for example, it first begins to show on my face. Unfortunately, I already have a thin face to offset my ample thighs. But that’s the way it is.
There is no question that the trimmer, tighter look you get from strength training an other exercise comes from increased muscle tone. A flabby stomach will look flatter when abdominal muscles are strengthened, for example. A tight gluteus maximus will lift even the flabbiest buttocks. But If you are heavy in the hips and you lose 10 pounds, there is no promise that all or even most of the fat will come off your hips.
These are extreme treatments for life-threatening obesity for which nothing else has worked. People who are morbidly obese who have tried medically supervised diet and exercise, and even prescription diet drugs, but are still unable to lose enough weight may be candidates for gastric surgery.
There are surgical procedures that reduce the size of the stomach. Called gastric restriction or gastric bypass, these either dose off all but a small pocket of the stomach or provide a direct passage for food from the esophagus to the intestines, bypassing the stomach.
Surgical procedures are not without risks or expense. Sometimes people develop hernias or gallstones. Anemia and other problems related to nutritional deficiencies are also common. And sometimes the surgical “staples” come out of place. Even when everything works, the procedure requires hospitalization, general anesthesia, and a lengthy period of recovery. Furthermore, people who have had this surgery must still watch their caloric intake and should add exercise to their daily routine. They also require lifelong medical monitoring.
So if you’re looking for an easy surgical solution to your munchies problem, this isn’t it.