Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Your Key to Natural Weight Loss

While some people will always believe that all-natural weight loss supplements are the key to a natural weight loss, you will find that most doctors would not agree. Though technically it is true to say that the herbs and agents typically found in natural diet supplements are indeed natural, natural is not necessarily synonymous with harmless.

Do you remember when your mom told you not to eat the berries off the trees unless you could definitely identify them as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries? That was because some things in nature, although they are still very obviously natural, are still capable of causing harm and damage to a person and to their body.

How to Recognize the Signs
Your reaction to the statement that natural weight loss supplements might not be naturally good for us, might be that if it has some adverse effect then you would obviously stop taking it. However, it is actually not all that simple. After all, not all adverse effects can be noticed or properly identified.

Our bodies could be under a fair amount of stress and may not register anything on the outside. This can be quite dangerous in a world where hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup are becoming staple ingredients, even in the products that should be healthy.

So what is the correct way to lose weight naturally if all-natural weight loss supplements can not be trusted? Well, the only way to lose weight naturally and healthily is the good old-fashioned way, which includes that of a good diet and frequent exercise. This means no crash diets, no all-natural weight loss supplements, no pharmacological weight loss supplements – just plain old calorie control and attention to ingredients, paired with frequent exercise and a non-sedentary lifestyle.

This old-fashioned recipe for natural weight loss may seem unduly boring in today's fast-paced world. Perhaps it may even seem like a waste of technology and pharmacological research to ignore these recent advancements in diet and weight control. However, for the time being, doctors agree that the only route to 100% safe and natural weight loss is to simply lose weight through proper diet and exercise.

It should be noted that by using the word diet, it is not implied that a "diet" of drastic calorie cutting should be followed. What is meant by diet in this context is that of a healthy eating regime consisting of an adequate daily caloric intake, dependant on a person's age, gender, and activity level.

This diet can be identified as one which is varied in nature and which includes the majority of the food coming from complex carbohydrates (whole grains) and vegetables, with smaller portions of dairy, protein, fruits and some fats (preferably mono and polyunsaturated fats, but no trans fats whatsoever).

For answers to many of your weight loss concerns, please submit your health queries at Health Question and Answer Forum.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Herbs Used For Weight Loss

Herbs have been used for centuries to facilitate weight loss. The issue is that some herbs used for weight loss are better for you than others.

Some herbs trick your body into thinking your body is full (like hoodia which is technically a plant but is commonly found in the herbal section of your health food store). Herbal weight loss supplements are highly beneficial in reducing body fat from stubborn areas.

Other herbs are classified as being thermogenic meaning that they accelerate body functions such as digestion, heart rate and breathing.

These herbs usually contain a great deal of natural caffeine and include green tea, nettle and dandelion.

The herbs that are least effective in the long run are those that are classified as diuretics. Green tea and dandelion are also part of this group along with buchu, birchbark and uva ursi. These herbs can address the problem of water retention but as soon as you stop taking them you gain the weight back when your body rehydrates itself.

There are some herbs that you should avoid taking because they can cause serious side effects and even death. They also come with serious warnings from the Food and Drug administration.

These include:

Herbal Laxatives such as cascara sagrada, buckthorn, aloe, rhubarb root and senna.

Herbal Laxatives - Usually sold as a diet tea, cascara, senna, buckthorn, aloe and rhubarb root. These herbs cause diarrhea and cramping and over the long term can cause your intestinal muscles to lose their ability to move food through the colon on their own. Ephedra - Also known as ma huang or Herbal Phen Phen this drug causes an overstimulation of the central nervous system, an increase in blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. The FDA warns of scores of side effects to using this herb including heart murmurs, heart palpitations, heart attack, dehydration, seizures, chest pain, stroke, dissociation, anxiety, depression, mood swings, impulsivity, distractibility and psychosis.

Safer choices include:

Cayenne - This is a mild thermogenic herb that is used to spice Indian and Mexican food. It contains an ingredient called capsaicin that aids in digestion and causes a mild increase in the rate of metabolism.

Green Tea - The main weight loss component in green tea is caffeine. It acts on the body in much the same way as a cup o coffee except that it also contains antioxidants and Vitamin C. It is best drunk as a tea as you can adjust how stimulating you want it to be by leaving the teabag in the cup for shorter or longer times.

Seaweed - A good source of trace minerals such as chromium and iodine, seaweed is gently stimulating to a lazy thyroid that might be responsible for a slowdown in metabolism. You can buy these as kelp capsules or enjoy eating it with sushi.

Keep in mind that before you take any kind of herb it is very important for you to talk with your doctor first. Some conditions simply don't respond well to event he safest of herbs for weight loss. For instance using cayenne may not be ideal for you if you have acid reflux, green tea is not great for anxiety disorders and seaweed can be downright lethal for someone who suffers from hyperthyroidism or Grave's disease.

Always check with your doctor first before you take anything that guarantees "natural weight loss" using herbs as there are a lot of snake oil salesman in the dieting business selling unhealthy options as new age miracles.