Healthy weight loss is not only about following a diet. It is a lifestyle change that includes healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity. The correct supplement can have many beneficial effects assisting in your weight loss journey. Guidelines recommend that you should try and lose approximately 0.5 – 1.0kg per week to reach your goal weight. Calorie and portion size control is an important part of a weight loss plan. Losing weight also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
This is a formula used to see if you have a healthy weight. It is calculated by your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is defined as normal weight, a BMI of over 25 is defined as overweight and a BMI of over 30 is defined as obese.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that your adrenal gland produces. Among many other functions in the body, cortisol controls your metabolism involved with weight loss. When cortisol levels are too high, it affects your metabolism by making it slower. A slow metabolism results in a reduced ability to burn body fat for energy, making it difficult to lose weight. High cortisol levels are often associated with increased abdominal fat in the body.
Being active is important for weight loss as when you exercise your body uses more calories (energy). When you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. For aerobic activity (running, swimming, cycling), it is recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. For strength training (weight training, using your own bodyweight (rock climbing), it is recommended to train all major muscle groups at least twice a week, using a resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after 12-15 repetitions. A general goal is to exercise for at least 30 minutes everyday.
This is a diet that allows fewer than 800 calories per day. The main goal of this diet is to produce rapid weight loss while maintaining muscle mass. VLCD is most appropriate for individuals with a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 due to loss of muscle mass in lower weight individuals. This diet is effective in short term weight loss and requires practitioner supervision. A VLCD can be achieved through the Optifast® program which involves four phases to help achieve your goal weight with the Optifast® supplements. For more information on the Optifast® program, please click on the following link: Nestlé Optifast®
Genetic testing is beneficial for weight loss as it offers insight into key areas that influence weight, guiding diet and exercise recommendations for improved outcomes. It is an emerging therapeutic approach that takes into account an individual’s unique genetic code, as well as age, sex, and particular pathophysiological status. Personalised recommendations using this holistic approach to weight loss is essential to improve outcomes. A report from the gene test provides you with valuable insights into individual priority areas that should be considered for successful and sustained weight management outcomes.
This is a type of surgery to help you lose weight. It is mainly for morbidly obese people (BMI>35) who have been struggling to lose weight. The most common bariatric surgeries include sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y) and adjustable gastric banding. Roux-en-Y is the most common type of bariatric surgery in South Africa. This surgery reduces the amount of food you can eat at a time and it reduces the number of calories and nutrients absorbed. A sleeve gastrectomy removes up to 85% of your stomach. The stomach is turned into a narrow vertical tube which holds less food, making you feel full faster.
Thyroid hormones play an important role in weight regulation by regulating energy expenditure. A thyroid dysfunction (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) leads to significant changes in body weight and basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is a measurement made at rest to determine the metabolism of an individual. Studies have found that low thyroid hormone levels were associated with low BMRs and high thyroid hormone levels were associated with high BMRs. When an individual’s BMR increases, this leads to increased calories needed to maintain the body weight and results in weight loss. The opposite effect occurs when an individual's BMR decreases, which leads to weight gain.Nutrients that help with weight regulation:
Inositol is a carbohydrate that supports many biological processes in the body such as fat metabolism, insulin signaling and nerve function. Studies have shown that inositol may improve lipid metabolism through lowering visceral fat weight, hepatic lipid accumulation and insulin secretion.The most common forms of supplemental inositol (myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol) have been known to accelerate weight loss and fat mass reduction with increases in lean mass.
Selenium (Se) is a trace element which is involved in the proper functioning of the endocrine and immune system. It is also involved in modulating the body’s inflammatory response. In some studies, obesity is associated with a state of chronic low grade inflammation and have found that selenium deficiency is a possible marker of adiposity. Supplementation with selenium was found to enhance the effect of a balanced, slightly hypocaloric diet by reducing fat mass and increasing lean mass in overweight and obese individuals suffering from selenium deficiency.
Rhodiola, also known as Rhodiola rosea, is a flowering herb that is beneficial for weight loss as it boosts energy and burns visceral fat. Visceral fat is dangerous as it is linked to obesity related conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. It is difficult to lose visceral fat as lipase (the substance that breaks down fat) is not created in abundance in the body. Studies have found that Rhodiola assists with visceral fat breakdown.
Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, liver and fat do not normally respond to insulin (hormone made by the pancreas) and regulation of blood sugar levels is disrupted by these cells inability to take up glucose from the blood and store it. When this occurs the pancreas secretes more insulin to overcome an increase in blood glucose levels and results in a condition called hyperinsulinemia. When there is excess insulin and glucose in the blood, it signals the body to put glucose in storage in the liver and muscles. When the liver and muscle cells glucose storage is full, the body starts to store the extra glucose as fat which impacts weight loss negatively.Nutrients that help with insulin resistance:
Berberine is the main active component of an ancient Chinese herb (Coptis chinensis French). It is known as a potent AMPK (adenosine monophosphate protein kinase) activator, which plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels. Bioavailability of berberine is often compromised due to influences of the gut microbiome and missed doses from required frequency of use, therefore taking berberine in a liposomal or bioavailable form will help to overcome this challenge.
Chromium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in the regulation of insulin action and its effects on carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Studies have shown that chromium picolinate supplementation reduces insulin resistance, increases lean body mass and decreases percentage body fat which may lead to weight loss.
Gymnema sylvestre, specifically gymenic acid, has anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. This nutrient has been shown to decrease body weight and inhibit glucose absorption. Extracts from gymnema have been found to prevent fatty acid accumulation of triglycerides in the muscle and liver and also decrease fatty acid accumulation in the circulation.
Detoxification helps with elimination of toxins from the body. Benefits of removing toxins from the body include improved energy levels, weight loss, improved constipation and resolved headaches. Our bodies naturally detox with the help of our digestive tract, kidneys, skin and liver by breaking down toxins for elimination through urine, stool and sweat. Supplements can also assist the body to detoxify more effectively.Nutrients that help with detoxification:
Sulforaphane is a phytochemical found naturally in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts and kale). This phytochemical enhances the natural detoxification process of the body. Studies have found that sulforaphane accelerates the production of brown adipose tissue, a type of fat in the body, which is thought to burn calories at a faster rate to generate heat. The bioavailability of sulforaphane is low in cruciferous plants, therefore supplementation with this phytochemical is important to optimize maximum yield.
Milk thistle is a flowering plant with an active component called silymarin. It is mainly used to treat liver conditions but it has beneficial effects on weight loss by assisting with reducing cravings, improving digestion and reducing bloating. Please consult with your practitioner before using this nutrient as it has possible interactions with certain medications.
Glutathione is a naturally occurring antioxidant which assists with the detoxification and rebuilding process in the body. This nutrient helps your body shift from fat production to muscle development. It also assists with turning off your body's fat cells and helping your liver remove toxins which leads to weight loss.
Green tea helps with weight loss as it contains caffeine and catechins (a polyphenol - plant based antioxidant) which assists with increasing your metabolic rate and activating your nervous system which leads to weight loss.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a precursor of L-cysteine and a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that NAC supports weight loss through its ability to improve insulin sensitivity as proper metabolism of insulin directly affects the body's ability to use fat for energy. If the body does not use insulin effectively, fat will be stored instead of being used for energy.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is used to break down carbohydrates and produce energy for the body. When taken as a supplement, ALA displays properties including stimulation of glucose metabolism, antioxidant defence and anti-inflammatory responses and has been shown to have beneficial effects on lipid metabolism which assists with weight loss.
Dandelion root is a flowering plant high in antioxidants that assists in weight loss by improving carbohydrate metabolism and reducing fat absorption.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a fat acid found in meat and dairy from ruminants. It is the most common omega 6 fatty acid. Supplementation with CLA has been found to improve body composition by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. Studies have found that CLA could increase lipolysis (breakdown of fats/lipids into fatty acids) and reduce the accumulation of fatty acids on the adipose tissue (body fat) which promotes weight loss.
L-carnitine, also known as carnitine, is derived from an amino acid (isolated from meat). Carnitine supplementation has been found to reduce body weight, BMI and fat mass amongst adults with overweight/obesity by assisting with movement of fatty acids into your cells to be burned for energy.
Compared to carbohydrate and fat consumption, protein has a long lasting effect on satiety therefore, keeping you fuller for longer. This reduces calorie intake and therefore assists with weight loss. According to studies, a high protein diet is related to increased energy expenditure, resulting in increased oxygen consumption and an increased body temperature. These conditions benefit weight loss.