Looking to lose weight fast in a healthy way? It’s tempting to turn to quick fixes like taking weight loss pills marketed as natural “fat burners.” In fact, surveys show that approximately 15 percent of U.S. adults have now used weight-loss dietary supplements at some point in their lives, with more women (around 20 percent) reporting use compared to men. (1) But before experimenting with these products, consider the fact that most diet pills, drinks and formulas (even those labeled “natural”) are capable of causing a range of unexpected side effects and interactions.
There’s a key difference between how supplements are regulated versus how medications or other drugs are. Dietary supplements are considered safe until proven unsafe, while the opposite is true of prescription drugs: They’re kept out of the public’s hands until clinical trials show they’re generally effective and also unharmful to the majority of patients taking them.
Knowing that dietary supplements — including weight loss pills, herbs, enzymes and teas — are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in ways that other medications are, you may be wondering if they’re safe to consume. (2) Better yet, do weight loss pills or other fat-burning supplements even work, making them worth any potential risks involved? Studies have found that risks of fat-burning supplements can include nausea, headaches, anxiety, indigestion and trouble sleeping. Most adverse effects are caused by factors like interactions with medications, ingesting too much caffeine or consuming “filler” ingredients not even listed on the product’s label. While weight loss products may possibly give you a lift in energy and mood, they likely won’t be enough to sustain any real weight loss without other lifestyle changes.
So what are the best weight loss supplements available on the market that don’t pose these same risks? As you’ll learn below, natural ways to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight include consuming food-based fat burners like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), certain fat-burning foods that are high in protein and fiber, green tea, or using grapefruit essential oil — in addition, of course, to lifestyle habits like eating a healthy diet and staying active.