The 4 best supplements that WILL help you lose weight – and 2 to avoid at all costs

On a mission to lose weight? Whilst healthy eating, exercise and sleep are crucial, there are a few other little lifestyle hacks which can help.

Supplements, for example. 

Are supplements really going to help you lose weight? Some might, experts say

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Are supplements really going to help you lose weight? Some might, experts sayCredit: Getty

Nutritionists at Fresh Fitness Food have explained that although no supplement can help you directly lose weight, there are several which can indirectly support weight loss by aiding sleep, helping your gut or simply by making you feel fuller. 

Meghan Foulsham tells Sun Health: “It is important to remember that no supplement will ever be a one-size-fits-all miracle cure.”

However, if you want to try and give your weight loss efforts a little boost, you could try these…

1. Magnesium glycinate

Found in beans, seeds, nuts and dark chocolate, the mineral magnesium has several important roles in the body.

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But Meghan explains that, although more research is needed, magnesium glycinate in particular, the supplement form of magnesium, is often taken to help improve sleep. 

If you’re focusing on fat loss, prioritising your sleep is vital. 

Meghan says: “It is believed [magnesium glycinate] can help regulate neurotransmitters and calm your brain down, as well as relax your muscles, which is what is believed to aid in better sleep.

“Sleep can impact your progress in a number of ways – firstly, if we’re feeling tired, we are much less inclined to want to exercise or cook and prepare nutritious meals.

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“Plus, a lack of sleep impacts your mental clarity, dulling activity in your frontal lobe, which aids in decision-making and impulse control.”

This could have you reaching for the biscuit tin several times a day.

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Meghan adds: “Little sleep also physiologically impacts our bodies – in periods of sleep deprivation (categorised as four days of insufficient sleep), our ability to efficiently process insulin is compromised. 

“We also tend to feel hungrier and less satisfied from meals, meaning we end up eating more than we otherwise would.”

If you’re considering magnesium glycinate, make sure it won’t interfere with medications you to take.

It primarily comes in two forms: powder and capsules (which are often just filled with the powdered form).

Meghan says: “As with most things, the powdered form has marginally better bioavailability, but is also a less convenient option, and one that is less likely to be adhered to.

“Consistency is always best, so go for the option you think will allow you to take the supplement more consistently.

“Be careful to purchase the correct supplement – magnesium oxide is a stool softener, that will likely be unhelpful in improving your sleep!”

2. Probiotics

A happy, healthy gut can play a crucial role in your fat loss journey, research suggests. 

Meghan says: “Probiotics are found naturally in fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, or yoghurt, or as a dietary supplement, and regular consumption can help improve the diversity of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. 

“The more variety of bacteria, the better equipped our bodies are to digest and break down the food we eat.

“While probiotics will not inherently trigger fat loss, they can help reduce symptoms such as bloating (in some cases of IBS), which can often mask progress on a fat loss journey, if persistent. 

“It can also interfere with your ability to exercise, depending on the severity of your symptoms.”

Do your research beforehand and opt for a supplement that contains Lactobacillus strains of bacteria; these are believed to be beneficial for reducing bloating.

3. Protein powder

Protein is the most satiating macronutrients (the other two being carbs and fats), which means it keeps you feeling full for the longest.

Georgia Chilton says: “Ensuring you’re consuming enough protein is important for general health, but also an important consideration when your goal is fat loss.

“If you find it hard to get enough protein from food alone or sometimes need something quick and easy, on the go, adding in a protein powder shake from time to time can be a really helpful way to increase your protein intake.

When losing weight, it’s important to maintain muscle mass, as muscle burns more calories at rest than fat

Georgia Chilton Fresh Fitness Food

“Protein is thought to help compliance to calorie-restricted diets by increasing satiety and reducing hunger. 

“Also, when losing weight, it’s important to maintain muscle mass, as muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. 

“Therefore, consuming enough protein, alongside strength training, can help preserve lean muscle mass even as you drop body fat.”

The experts said when buying protein powder, try to ensure it contains at least 20 to 25g of protein per serving with minimal added sugars and artificial ingredients.

See if brands offer small sample size sachets to test different flavours and how well it mixes into water or milk.

Protein powder (in a shake or added to oats, for example) can boost your intake of protein if you struggle to eat it at every meal

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Protein powder (in a shake or added to oats, for example) can boost your intake of protein if you struggle to eat it at every mealCredit: Getty – Contributor

4. Electrolyte tablets

Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are useful to ensure your body is properly hydrated.  

Explaining why this is important for weight loss, Georgia says: “Proper hydration is essential for optimal metabolic function and can aid in weight loss by helping the body process nutrients more effectively and maintain higher energy levels for physical activity. 

“Being dehydrated can greatly impact your training performance.”

But, when we’re thirsty and dehydrated, we can often wrongly assume we’re hungry and end up overeating.

Georgia adds that electrolytes are also vital for muscle health.

“During weight loss, especially when accompanied by exercise, maintaining a good balance of electrolytes ensures that muscles work efficiently and recover properly from workouts,” she says.

“Take electrolytes during exercise for activities lasting longer than an hour (e.g running, cycling, team sports). Consuming electrolytes during the activity helps maintain hydration, energy levels, and electrolyte balance.

“Post-exercise, it’s crucial to replenish lost electrolytes and fluids to aid in recovery and prevent dehydration. This is largely applicable in hot weather or when sweat rates are high.”

When choosing an electrolyte product, ensure it includes essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium for effective hydration and muscle function.

The choice between powder, pre-made drink, or tablets depends on personal preference, convenience, and specific hydration needs, the experts said, so have a research of what is available.

Supplements that WON’T help you lose weight 

1. Greens powders

Although they are often filled with nutrients, Meghan says that there isn’t actually very much evidence to show that greens powders can benefit your health or aid in weight loss. 

She says: “Most research conducted in this area is based on small sample sizes, over short periods of time.

“If they make you feel healthier overall, and you feel that they are a good addition to your morning routine, setting you up nicely to be more health-focused for the remainder of the day, by all means, use them.”

They may also be helpful if you really dislike fruit and vegetables or don’t have access to much produce, for example when travelling.

But, Meghan explains that if you’re expecting miraculous results despite not making any other changes to your diet and lifestyle, you’d be better off saving your money. 

2. Detox teas

Detox teas were making major waves on the health and wellness scene many years back, but Georgia says that these are pretty much just ‘expensive laxatives’. 

She adds: “Whilst you may appear to weigh less in the short term, this is almost certainly due to water loss. 

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“Water loss from laxative use is temporary and is not the same as losing body fat. To date, no definitive scientific evidence backs their use for fat loss.”

Plus, many detox teas can have detrimental side effects including cramps, diarrhoea and dehydration. It’s best to swerve these and stick to a regular mug of tea! 

How to lose weight safely

Losing weight should be a long-term commitment to healthier living, rather than any drastic measures.

The NHS tips – which can be adopted slowly – include:

  • Get active for 150 minutes a week – you can break this up into shorter sessions
  • Aim to get your 5 A Day – 80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit or vegetables count as 1 portion
  • Aim to lose 1 to 2lbs, or 0.5 to 1kg, a week
  • Read food labels – products with more green colour coding than amber and red are often a healthier option
  • Swap sugary drinks for water – if you do not like the taste, add slices of lemon or lime for flavour
  • Cut down on food that’s high in sugar and fat – start by swapping sugary cereal for wholegrain alternatives
  • Share your weight loss plan with someone you trust – they can help motivate you when you have a bad day

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