Obesity levels in the UK have trebled in the last 30 years. One in four adults is obese and figures provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation suggest Britain has become the “fat man” of Europe. This “growing” trend appears to be destined to continue, and estimates indicate over half of the UK's adult population may be obese by the year 2050. The situation is getting out of control, but patients who seek assistance from their GP are rarely prescribed weight loss providing drugs and, for those who are, the choice is usually limited to Orlistat (a fat blocker) or Phentermine (appetite suppressant).
Not surprisingly many people who are desperate to try and get their weight under control go in search of non-prescription diet pills and supplements that can be purchased easily over-the-counter or online. But with so many choices available choosing the right type of supplement can be a daunting task.
Most of the popular supplements brands usually fall into one or more of the following groups:
- Appetite Suppressants Help the user to feel less hungry and eat less food.
- Fat Blockers Nullify the power of the digestive enzymes that would normally breakdown dietary fats.
- Fat Binders Bond with dietary fats and make them indigestible.
- Carb Blockers Counteract the abilities of the digestive enzymes that are necessary for processing carbs (the body's main calorie provider).
- Fat Burners Speed up the metabolism and encourage the burning of body fat.
Supplements that provide any of the first four methods on the list can assist weight loss by helping to lower the amount of calories the body receives each day, and all four types of dietary aid are available as standalone supplements. However, supplements that combine appetite suppression with fat burning are probably the most common type of non-prescription diet pill in use today. Other combinations are available though, and some products combine all five benefits in an effort to target the problem (body fat) from all sides.
Which One Is Best?
Appetite suppressants can benefit dieters of all types, but they can be particularly useful for people who find it hard to cut down on their food portion sizes or fight the habit to snack between meals.
Fat blockers and fat binders come into their own when the reason for weight gain can be traced to a love of fatty foods. Each gram of fat provides nine calories. This is more than twice the amount of calories provided by protein or carbohydrates, so people who eat too much fatty food can pile on the pounds very quickly and will continue to do so unless changes are made. Fat blockers and fat binders can offer a good level of protection against the figure-damaging effects of fatty foods, but should never be seen as a cheat-pill or an alternative to healthy living options.
Carb Blockers are beneficial for people who eat too many starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. Once again, there is a danger of misuse because some people may see carb blockers as a get out of jail free card that allows them to eat the foods they love without paying the price. This is an unhealthy attitude and potential carb blocker users would do well to bear in mind any benefits that are received can be greatly improved when supplementation is combined with a low calorie diet and regular exercise.
Fat Burners are designed to help the body to burn its stores of fat. All dieters hope to achieve such a result, so a good fat burning formulation can help dieters of all kinds. But once again making the necessary changes to the diet and increasing levels of exercise are key too dieting success because even if the body is burning more calories than normal, weight loss will not occur if the diet continues to provide too many calories. If the normal diet provides 100 extra calories per day and the fat burner helps to burn away half of them the body will still be receiving 50 calories more than it needs.
Choosing the Right Supplement
A supplement type that works well for one person may be totally unsuitable for the next, but most experts agree supplements that tackle weight loss from multiple angles tend to offer the best chance of success. They are also the most appropriate choice for anyone who has failed to identify the dietary failings that contributed to the original weight gain and/or are thwarting any existing attempts to lose weight.
It is also important to only purchase non-prescription diet pills and supplements from reputable manufacturers that produce their supplements to high quality standards, preferably in GMP or FDA approved facilities.
A good level of positive customer feedback can also indicate a quality product and, if a guarantee is offered, it shows the manufacturer has faith in their product. It also ensures there is nothing to lose by buying and trying the product. Some non-prescription diet pills have more to offer than their prescription-only counterparts, but the decision to buy should never be made in ignorance.