Different weight loss supplements have different claims. One thing that they have in common is some form of marketing campaign in the claims they make. Almost all manufacturers’ claims easily get the attention of potential clients. Some have gone on to buy based on the claims, which should never be the case.
One product that comes with a tremendous claim is a fat blocker. This product claims to inhibit absorption of fats, leading to weight loss. Should you believe this? No you shouldn’t, at least not until you have verified that the product will live up to its health claims.
Read on to get important information on fat blockers.
What are fat blockers?
Fat blockers are dietary supplements that work to prevent the successful absorption of fat by the body. They contain a special ingredient, usually a special type of fiber, which binds fats consumed from your diet and eliminates them.
How do they work?
The main ingredient of most fat blockers is chitosan. It is derived from the shells of crustaceans like crabs, lobsters and shrimps. It passes through the digestive tract without being digested. In the intestines, it adopts a gel-like form around fat droplets, protecting them from being digested and channeled into your bloodstream. In this way, it increases the amount of fat eliminated in your stools.
Orlistat is a clinically-proven component used in some fat blockers. It attaches to and deactivates lipase, the main enzyme that digests dietary fats. There is a prescription version and an OTC version. Other fat-blocking ingredients that may be found in some fat blockers are Litramine and Opuntia ficus-indica.
Are they effective?
As to whether fat blockers are effective or not, it is hard to agree or disagree since studies have been few and far between. The findings have also been contradictory, with some showing the ingredients to be ineffective while others beg to differ. For example, a Harvard Medical School report stated that chitosan did not increase the amount of fat excreted. However, one study conducted at Ehime University School of Medicine in Japan found that chitosan prevented increase in body weight of rats that had been fed a high-fat diet. The researchers concluded that chitosan’s ability to prevent the intestinal absorption of dietary fat was at least partially responsible for the anti-obesity effect.
The same Harvard authors found Orlistat to actually increase the amount of fat eliminated in feces. San Juan College found Orlistat to work best for someone whose fat intake is between 20% and 30% of the total calories of their meals. The Harvard report cast doubt on whether the OTC version works as well as the prescription version.
How are they used?
Fat blockers are supposed to be taken right before meals so as to effectively block the absorption of fat. However, if your intention of using them is to lose weight, you can take them only before high-fat meals. Make sure you follow the dosage instructions.
Fat blockers reduce the fat calories in your diet, potentially contributing to weight loss.
Since fat blockers absorb fat, they can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Vitamins such as A, D, E, F and K are fat soluble. Long term use of fat blockers can therefore lead to vitamin deficiencies.
As you may already know, not all fats are bad. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are good for your heart and your overall health. Fat blockers indiscriminately block all types of fat. Your body therefore misses out on the benefits that these good fats have to offer.
Use of fat blockers can cause side effects such as:
From the above information, you can get a clear picture of what to expect when buying a fat blocker. Not all fat blockers will live up to their claims so check out our Top 4 of Best Fat Blockers. It is also advisable to check with your doctor before purchasing a fat blocker, especially if you are on medication.