The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a health advisory warning against the use of OxyELITE Pro, a dietary supplement marketed for weight loss and muscle gain. The health alert came after at least seven people who had been taking the supplement, and were previously healthy, developed severe acute hepatitis and liver failure.
Searching for products like this one on the internet can leave a person excited about all of the tag lines and promises of “fat burning.” OxyELITE Pro is even "Super Thermogenic," according to its label. It sounds good, but what does that mean?
I can't even say that I understand the lingo and the promises. When asked to review supplements for clients, I usually end up saying the same thing: “Speed up your body naturally. Don't do it with a chemical that isn't regulated and that we don't understand."
It just doesn't make sense. Taking supplements to satisfy the burning desire for a perfect body or to accomplish superhuman performance causes severe illnesses and deaths over and over, yet people continue to watch for the next pill or powder to try.
Here are my suggestions for keeping your body running efficiently and naturally:
Jill Koegel is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer based in Omaha. She blogs every Wednesday. Read more from Jill.
Try a balanced diet of evenly spaced meals.
Eat about half your calories from complex carbs, up to a third from lean proteins and the rest from healthy fats. If you need help designing a “real-food” program that's right for you, visit with a registered dietitian.
Try a natural stimulant such as a small cup of coffee or green tea prior to a workout.
The compounds in a cup of green tea and the caffeine in one cup of coffee can give you just enough of a boost to get through a tough workout. Caffeine, in moderation, and timed correctly, can help improve the use of fat for energy during workouts.
If you need help eating enough lean protein, one supplement I support is a simple protein powder.
Whey, soy and others such as rice, hemp and pea proteins are helpful, especially after workouts. Make sure it doesn't have lots of added ingredients and that you understand the label. Also, remember it is usually a bad sign when a package has lots of promises.
If you are into trying the next natural thing, try something from food, such as beet root juice.
Beet root juice can help provide the body with natural nitrates that may result in a faster production of energy during workouts. In other words, faster energy production equals better workouts and more calories burned.
Get enough sleep.
There is no substitute for 7-8 hours of solid rest. Continuing to push your body through workouts and through your day without high quality sleep is a recipe for weight gain and weight plateaus. Sleep is when your body recovers and rebuilds. If you don't get enough, it will negatively affect the regulation of hormones associated with hunger, fullness and stress.
Try yoga and other stress reduction activities.
Relaxing is a better way to make your body more efficient, versus stressing your body with stimulants and constantly overdoing your workouts. Is a tough workout essential a few times a week? Sure, but leave your body room to recover and you will see better results!
There are many ways to teach your body to burn more fat. Teaching it is more effective, and safer, than forcing it. Stick to the natural stuff, and you won't be left worrying about the next recall or health advisory.