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Thinning Out the Thinners

A Feel 21, Inc. Health Report

By Anthony Anderson

Labor Day has come and gone. Summer has officially ended and the Holiday Season has (un)officially begun. Going to the local store, I witness the inevitable . . . Halloween costumes. And as if by some Pavlovian drive, I crave sweets. Costume=Trick or Treat=Sugary sweets. And when All Hallow's Eve has come and gone I will be prepped for the deadliest of sins . . . gluttony. Okay, let me qualify that statement with deadliest to my wardrobe. I can't keep going out and buying bigger clothes. And besides the Holiday Season is in full swing. I can't be expected to diet. I can exercise, though.

It's what just about every doctor will say, "If you want to lose weight, diet and exercise." Okay. Sure, no problem. Let me just do some quick calculations: an hour on a stationary bike burns roughly 400 calories. The average daily intake is 2000 calories. In order to lose weight, caloric burn must exceed caloric intake. On the average day that equates to five hours on a stationary bike. This, of course does not take into account that surplus intake during the holidays. Basically, that's a lot of exercise to do. So what do we do? We supplement.

There are natural products on the market that help in many fields of weight loss. Let me qualify the term "weight loss" briefly. Weight loss, in my opinion, is a misnomer. You can lose weight by changing altitude.

(The closer you are to the Earth's core, the more gravity effects you, the more you weigh.) What most people are concerned with is changing the lean mass or body fat mass level within themselves. You can weigh 200 lbs and have very little fat. Athletes are prime examples of this. Muscle weighs more than fat. So you don't have to concern yourself with that target weight as much as you should concern yourself with that target body fat percentage (BFP). (I'd get into what the ideal BFP is but it varies to much based on individual, age, location, etc.. Your best bet is to always consult your health care provider.)

Getting back to the matter at hand (and hips and thighs and chins and gut and arteries). Well, that's the problem isn't it? Matter of the wrong kind i.e. fat. How do we get rid of it? Oh, yeah I was talking about natural products. But which ones work and which ones are full of . . . matter of a different kind (rhymes with grit)?

Let's start with something that's been of interest lately: Ephedra.

What is it?

According to "Ephedra is a plant that is used as a natural source of ephedrine alkaloids. Different species of Ephedra contain different amounts of these alkaloids. The plant species that is most commonly used as a source of ephedrine alkaloids for dietary supplements in the United States is Ephedra sinica, also known as ma huang."

How does it work? Is it Safe?

Similar to caffeine, Ephedra boosts metabolism. A sped up metabolism burns fat for energy. This is also where the caution warning comes in. Ephedra is a stimulant and can be misused and/or lead to complications. Always consult a medical professional before taking a supplement. (Natural)"Ephedra is safe when consumed according to the national standards." However, results can vary based upon an individual's health.

Another popular product is good ol' tea. Actually, green tea. Actually, green tea extract. There's been extensive research on various properties and effects green tea extract. For now, we'll focus on the weight loss properties.

A report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited a study conducted on 10 healthy men. The men were given caffeine, green tea extract or a placebo. The experiment's results indicated a marked difference in the level of fat oxidation. More pertinent to green tea's popularity is that it didn't raise heart rates (as caffeine has been known to do). This makes it a safer bet than Ephedra. Take note: it does contains caffeine. If you have issues with caffeine be careful.

Studies on mice have also shown the potential for green tea extract to be an appetite suppressant.

At the very least green tea extract is an excellent anti-oxidant and more benefits are currently being discovered and researched.

Let's change gears a little bit. We've talked about a couple of supplements that can help burn fat but what about building a little muscle? After all, muscle helps to burn fat. (Sort of an indirect way of talking about the same thing if you think about it.) Chromium is just such a supplement. For those who plan on exercising this might benefit you. Since Chromium has been discussed in a previous Health Report, let me just give you a paragraph or two of what the Report said:

"Yet another attractive attribute of Chromium is its ability to assist in weight management and physique-shaping efforts. Mindell writes, "Dieters and bodybuilders are excited about Chromium because of recent studies showing that this mineral can help trim fat and build muscle. In one study conducted at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, one group of male athletes took 200 mcg. daily, and another group took a placebo. After six weeks, the men taking Chromium gained 44 percent more lean body mass, whereas the gain in the placebo group was only seven percent."

He added that several other studies demonstrated that Chromium alone can trigger the body to lose weight. At one San Antonio, TX-based weight loss center, overweight volunteers were given Chromium supplements and placebo for an average of 72 days-- and were not given any diet rules to follow nor instructed to engage in an exercise regiment. Mindell reported that individuals when taking Chromium lost an average of 4.2 fat pounds and gained 1.4 pounds in lean mass during the study period. Yet, when they were taking the placebo, "changes in body composition were negligible. This meant that Chromium picolinate could burn fat and enhance muscle even without exercise or a special diet," he wrote."

Well I hope I've given you an idea of where to start if you're considering taking a diet supplement. I've only touched the tip of the iceberg with this article. These are three of the more popular (and effective) diet supplements. There are many more out there. And researchers are in a constant state of discovery and testing.

Dietary supplements are recommended to be used in conjunction with a diet and exercise program. Always check with your health care professional before taking any supplement or starting any diet program or exercise program.

Click here for more Health Reports.

Click here to read the current Health Report!

If you have or suspect an illness or have a health concern, always consult with your physician or health care provider. We have used our best judgment in compiling this information, however, the information presented may not have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any reference to a specific product is for your information only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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