Are there any supplements or over-the-counter medications that can help me lose weight? I need to lose 30 pounds.

You’ve watched hundreds of infomercials promising the pounds will disappear with the latest “natural” herb or compound if you just pop a certain number of pills a day. Too good to be true, right? Yes, it is. Whoever discovers “the magic pill” will outpace Bill Gates’ fortune, but until this day arrives, there’s no shortcut to losing weight other than exercise, eat right, sleep well, and enjoy what you do and who you spend time with.

While ingredients found in touted supplements may have weight-loss enhancing benefits, they can also be found in food sources, which are always preferable to popping a pill.

Three weight loss stars are green tea, calcium, and soluble fiber. Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants found in the tea leaves, that are related to increased fat utilization and decreased fat absorption. Calcium may help to regulate appetite and fat accumulation; however, don’t take more than 500mg via supplement. It’s better to add more calcium-rich food to your diet. And insoluble fiber may increase satiety, thus reducing your appetite.

For calcium, think beyond low fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Other calcium sources are green veggies like kale and spinach, and chia seeds. Soluble fiber rich food can be found in oats, barley, and legumes.

Another potential weight loss contributor may be omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a decrease in dangerous visceral fat, and whey protein, which has been shown to reduce appetite and weight. Additionally, some initial studies show that people who consume higher levels of vitamin D have healthier weight than those with lower levels. You can get vitamin D from fortified milk and mushrooms, while tuna and salmon provide both the sunshine vitamin and omega 3s.

Beware that while some supplements like ones mentioned above may give you a little nudge in the weight loss battle, none have shown to induce impressive results that can compare to the effect of exercise and dietary changes combined.
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