In drugstores and pharmacies, a wide variety of preparations lure you in with the promise of losing weight quickly and easily. However, depending on the mode of action and duration of use, such slimming products can also lead to health problems.
Calorie blockers and fat binders work physically
Calorie blockers and fat binders primarily have a physical effect on the body. They are usually pressed into tablet form and, after ingestion, draw calories and fats from food like a magnet. These are then excreted from the body without being used. Nutritionist Dr. Matthias Riedl thinks little of this diet approach.
Fat binders can cause deficiency symptoms
The assumption “fat makes you fat” is wrong, because it is not the fat intake that is the problem, but the quality of the fat. However, according to Riedl, these could not differentiate between fat binders or calorie blockers. As a result, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins is impeded, which can lead to deficiency symptoms if such dietary supplements are taken for a long time.
Roughage and bulking agents: drink enough!
Dietary fiber and bulking agents can consist of plant products such as plant fibers or highly cross-linked cellulose, but also animal products such as crustacean shells or collagen from bovine connective tissue. They swell up in the stomach and are said to lead to rapid saturation. Drinking plenty of fluids is a must to prevent constipation and bowel obstructions. But the money for the swelling agent can be saved, says nutritionist Riedl: “The effect is so small that you could just drink a glass of water before eating. That has a similar saturation effect.”
Drinking and formula diets only if you are very overweight
Formula diets are industrially produced shakes that are mixed with water or milk or offered ready to drink. They have a constant energy and nutrient content and must meet the requirements of Section 14a of the Diet Ordinance. They are recommendable with restrictions: Drinking diets can only make sense as a “jump-start” for long-term weight reduction if you are very overweight and under medical supervision. At the same time, an accompanying program to change unfavorable eating habits should be completed.
Appetite suppressants interfere with the metabolism
Nutrition experts do not recommend chemical-based appetite suppressants. These products contain active ingredients that affect metabolism or brain metabolism and thus affect appetite and satiety regulation. Depending on the composition, there are health hazards when ingested. For example, the banned ingredient sibutramine increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, and the active ingredient phenolphthalein is considered carcinogenic. The consumer centers have compiled a checklist of these and other ingredients.
Weight Loss Coaches: Partial violations of Health Claims Regulation
Some weight-loss coaches also sell slimming products. With free crash courses and free weight loss recipes, some of them try to win customers who are willing to lose weight. A relaxed speech, stories from the life of the coach, and success stories from other people should create trust. However, some of the promises – such as “30 days and 10.4 kilos less” or “lose two kilograms per week” – clearly violate the requirements of the Health Claims Regulation. According to the Hamburg Consumer Advice Centre, the free coaching rarely helps but is primarily intended to boost the sale of slimming products.
Diet program: How do I recognize reputable online coaching?
A well-founded and reputable diet program costs money. For this purpose, the participants are usually supervised by real experts. A look at the imprint reveals: Who is the provider? Coaches with a professional background in nutritional science, dietetic assistance, or medicine are recommended.
Good concepts for losing weight focus on diet and exercise and not on advertising for diet products. Roughly speaking, you should save about 7,000 calories to lose a kilogram of body weight in a week. Anyone who promises otherwise is not credible. A fairly reliable sign of seriousness is also that the cost of coaching is covered by the health insurance company.