Dietary Supplements, Not Advisable

There is a global craze among ladies and girls, the craze to become thin or if already thin, then become even thinner. Around 10 to 15 years ago, people believed that they had to eat less to reduce weight. Some even believed that excercise is a must to help reduce weight. Both eating less and excercising is something that most of us resist! We love to eat big time, eat all the time and eat everything. Each one of us can find at least a dozen excuses to explain why we cannot excercise. Hectic schedule, bad traffic, children need to get ready to go to school, tiring, no gym around home etc. etc. So we give up trying to control diet, we give up excercising but, the burning desire to become slim never seems to subside. Then all of sudden we had a business develop, one that came like an angel from heaven. This was the business of dietary supplements, eat what you want and as much as you want. Forget excercising, and still reduce weight just sitting on your comfortable sofa. All you are asked to do is take a dose of this each time you put some food in your mouth. In this ramble we bring up some issues related to dietary supplements. Yes, it is a serious issue but we will talk about it in a lighter vein. Something like a sugar coated pill, to help you tolerate the content. 

 A young girl working in office keeps looking at the clock impatiently, it is almost lunch time. She is dying of hunger she tells her friend, and finally it is time for a lunch break. She hurries down the escalator walks to the eating house nearby and eats. Fish, pork, rice, ripe bananas in sweet coconut milk and she is even ready to have some sliced fruit.

She looks satisfied and full, she is no longer hungry. Take a good look at this girl, she is medium height and slim after all that eating! She never excercises, drives to the office each day. Back on he escalator and to her work desk, she opens a tiny bag and pops a pill in her mouth. Starts her work and all seems fine. About 20 minutes later, she stands up and appears quite restless, grabs the tissue paper and rushes out of the room.

She needs to use the rest room, this is an urgent call. She comes back 5 minutes later and is back at work. The pill she took was a dietary supplement, what it actually did was to flush her stomach of all the food that she ate! The internal organs in her body did not even have sufficient time to digest the food, the nutrients from the food was not passed on to the body. Medically this might be dangerous put it at least keeps her looking slim and trim. No excercise, no diet just a pill, sounds like magic.

Now that the magic has won the attention of millions of ladies and girls throughout the world, there are thousands of factories turning out dieatary supplements. Some in the form of tea, some as tables, some as powders. Another trend is to spike yogurt and milk with such supplements. The market is huge and health authorities generally turn a blind eye.

A few years ago an Asian weight reduction medication was banned by the health authorities. The medication was being sold in the form of a large capsule that was around 1 inch long. When the capsule was investigated, it was found to contain a few tablets and even a smaller capsule! One of the contents was a restricted drug used to treat kidney disorder. Certain kidney disorder result a problem which is medically known as 'fluid retention'. The body is unable to dispose off water and the water gets retained in the body. The drug used to treat this serious condition was included in the large capsule. It is ofcourse true that there would be hundreds of dangerous products being sold as 'dietary supplements'.

This article does more than just criticize, we have some interesting and useful suggestions related to better health and diet. There is a difference between being thin and being healthy, slimming down could mean that you have insufficient enegery to perform your daily chores. A pencil thin figure might be okay if, all you did was walk fashion runways for a living. But most of us are not that lucky, we need real energy and strength to get us results in our job or business.

 Besides the medical problems that such dietary supplements could pose, an interesting observation comes to mind. When ladies with basically large structures and build go on  these steep weight loss trips, the final result seems to make the body appear distorted and unproportional. The face and head cannot be reduced in size even after the rest of the body has gone through an impressive shrinkage! This ofcourse is not related to any life threatening danger but after all, most of the craze for weight reduction is about looking good.

Another craze that has grown in recent years relates to green tea. This cannot be correctly referred to as a dietary supplement but, is believed to help in weight reduction. Medical research has proved that tea both black and green, does help to reduce bad cholestrol in the body. However it should be consumed in limited quantities. About two to three cups a day should suffice. Beware of readymade green tea beverages, most of these are drunk cold which is not the problem. The problem is that many ready green tea drinks are very high on sugar content. We have seen as much as 35% sugar been present in green tea beverages. In this case, you end up getting the benefits of green tea but more dangerously, invite problems that accompany excessive sugar intake.

So what is the best path to follow? Ideally the human body should appear proportional based on the height and dimensions of an individual. There is no 'thin' in this scenario, thin means skinny. A thin body tires easily, cannot take part in regular sports and can cause permanent medical damage if taken to the extreme.

If someone tells you that your diet lacks fibre, they might be right. But if they try to tell you that you need high fibre dietary supplements, they are most likely wrong. What you really need is to include high fibre content foods in your meals. This can be done without taking any medication. A doctor is the right person to prescribe medication and provide dietary advise.

One of the best ways to control your weight is to do regular excercise. Making adjustments in your dietary habits can also be of great help. High fibre food can help in many ways, and you do not have to go out of your way to procure them. For example if you are a bread eater, change to whole wheat bread or bread with a lot of whole grains. Butter should be eaten in moderation and slicing the bread in thick portions (slices) will mean that you have few slices to butter and eat. A normal bread slice would be around 1cm thick. If you consume bread slices that total to a 4cm thickness, you will need four bread slices. This would give you around 4 surfaces on which the butter or jam needs to be spread. Instead get an uncut bread loaf and cut two thick slices, about 2cm would be fine. The 2 slices of 2cm each would give you total thickness of 4cm. You will now have only two surfaces on which to apply butter or jam.

Fruits are good for everyone, some fruits with very high sugar content should be consumed in moderation. Always remember that whole fruit is better than fruit juices. Whole fruit contains more fibre and does some good things for your body. Diabetics might have some medical advice to avoid certain fruits so keep that in mind.

Unskinned pulses also offer a good source of fibre. In general darker seeds have a better fibre content. When it comes to consuming rice, unpolished rice is preferred over polished (white rice). It might take a while to get accustomed to eating brown (unpolished) rice but, the many benefits that it brings to your health make it worthwhile.

Excercise is something that you should not ignore too. Excercise can make you lose weight but, it will do it without sapping your strength and energy. Some form physical activity should be inbuilt into your daily routine. Aside from this, setting specific time aside for excercise is a healthy habit. An hour of excercise about 3 to 4 times a week should suffice.

There is a close relationship between dietary supplements and fibre, this health article talks about both. We might in the future, dedicate a complete health related article to fibre in foods. If you have any comments or suggestions on this content or website, please email us at we are always glad to hear from you.