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Are popular weight-loss supplements worth the risk?

Many Americans have trouble losing weight, and there is no shortage of companies eager to take advantage. Most experts agree that successful long-term weight-loss is dependent on lifestyle changes centered on consistent movement and healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, according to health and fitness expert, Paul A. Achoa, most dieters haven’t gotten the message.

“A lot of times, when dieters are desperate to lose weight, they turn to weight loss supplements, such as Lipo 6 and Hydroxycut,” Achoa said. “Unfortunately, these types of diet drugs have a long history of causing panic attacks, insomnia and potential health problems involving the cardiovascular system.”

Achoa says Lipo 6 contains synephrine, which many manufacturers now use instead of ephedrine; however, he says there is disturbing evidence that suggests this new ingredient may be just as harmful as the old one.

“Synephrine is the main ingredient in Lipo 6 and and other weight loss supplements, such as Xenadrine-EFX and Stacker 2,” he said. “It’s a stimulant that comes from the immature fruit of a citrus tree, and manufacturers promote this to convince consumers that it is a safe, natural additive; however, the Mayo Clinic recently issued a report suggesting that synephrine may increase the risk of heart attack, hypertension and ischemic stroke.”

Other dangers

According to Achoa, who specializes in features that tell dieters how to lose weight using safe strategies, Hydroxycut doesn’t contain synephrine, but it does have the potential to cause problems.

“Hydroxycut claims to contain ingredients that stimulate fat-loss by speeding up the metabolism,” he said. “However, the drug’s ultimate function is to drastically reduce appetite by acting as a stimulant. Hydroxycut uses an obscene amount of caffeine to do this, and researchers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine have linked the supplement to an increased risk of hypertension and potential retinal damage.”

Achoa says most consumers are shocked when they learn that a single dose of Hydroxycut contains 600 milligrams of caffeine, which is equal to six cups of coffee.

Better options

Achoa warns against stimulants and fad gimmicks, calling most of these “opportunistic products” that take advantage of consumer ignorance.

“Turn on the television and you’ll see advertisements for diets and workout products like the Ab Circle Pro and HCG diet which aren’t founded in practical science,” he said.

If people want to lose weight fast or alter their lifestyle to encourage a leaner, healthier physique, Achoa recommends healthier strategies, such as the Dukan diet or the Ryan Reynolds workout and diet.

“These plans are much more effective, because they are centered on eating strategies that promote good health and speed the metabolism in a safe manner,” he said. “In the end, you’re not going to find answers in a bottle.”

Ryan Lawrence is a copywriter based in Boulder, Colorado. Special thanks to health and fitness expert, Paula A. Achoa for sitting down for this interview.

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