I’m going to do a series of short blogs on different diet pills and what they claim to do. They fall into different categories:
1) Fat binders/blockers;
2) Carb blockers;
3) Metabolism boosters;
4) Appetite suppressants;
5) Those that claim to do most of the above and then some!
This first blog is on the fat binders/blockers:
Examples of products include: Bio-Synergy CLA. The blurb on this says: “Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), is an Omega-6 fatty acid which occurs naturally in the body and is found in meat and dairy products. It’s thought that CLA regulates metabolism by stopping the cellular enzymes that take up fat. It also encourages fat cells to discharge fat, rather than allow it to build up and make the cell larger. The fat is released into the blood stream where it’s burnt up to produce energy.”
Another example is LIPObind. The blurb on this says “LIPObind is a natural supplement made from dried cactus extract that helps reduce the amount of fat our body absorbs from the food we eat. In clinical trials it has been shown to remove up to 27% of undigested fats from a standard meal.”
Zoë comment: There are 3 macronutrients: Carbs, fats and protein. Fat is an interesting one to ‘play’ with, because fat is not digested by the body until it reaches the colon. So researchers have tried to find ways to ensure that any fat rushes through the colon and into the toilet, before it can be digested at all. You can probably work out the key downside already – some people reportedly don’t even make it to the toilet before the tablet works! Alli is now available over the counter and this is the strongest ‘fat eviction’ option that you can currently get without prescription. The FDA booklet about how to take Alli advises wearing dark trousers and carrying a spare change of clothes. Nice! There are other options (LIPObind) that claim not to have such side effects (the aim is still to get the fat out into the toilet, but in a gentler way).
The main problem with the products aimed to target fat is that it is not fat making us fat! It is carbohydrate. The body cannot store fat without insulin and insulin is released when we eat carbohydrates. So people taking fat evacuation type drugs are simultaneously advised to follow a low fat (low calorie) diet, which is automatically a high carb diet. So you avoid the foods that have no impact on insulin and eat more of the foods that do. We are eating less fat and more carbohydrate by a margin as compared to, say, the 1970’s and obesity has increased six fold during this time. We don’t need Miss Marple to work that one out!