The Full Effects of Appetite Suppression Pills

Weight control, in its simplest form,seems pretty straightforward: We gain weight because we eat and we eat because we’re hungry. It’s completely logical, then, to assume that appetite suppressants hold the key to weight loss. But do these supplements really offer a useful solution? Are there any potential side effects associated with common,  over-the-counter products?

How They Work

Appetite suppressants, as the name suggests, limit your cravings for food. The hope is that this will stop you from taking in the excess calories that get stored as fat. Different products try to . Generally, a stimulant such as caffeine, is also included to increase the effects. In fact, caffeine itself has appetite suppressing effects.

Because of all this variety, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact mechanism by which these products actually suppress your appetite.

The question of whether or not appetite suppressants actually work is as difficult to answer as how they work, and for the same reasons. With all this uncertainty, you may not be comfortable investing money in some of these pills. Is there anything else you should know if you’re considering using appetite suppressants?

Potential Concerns

A major source of concern when it comes to the efficacy of appetite suppressants is this very lack uniformity.

When combined with a lack of evidence regarding the usefulness of some compounds, the situation becomes even more difficult. Substances such as hoodia and green coffee extract are commonly promoted and featured in appetite suppressants. Both of these substances, despite their popularity, have little backing from the science.

There’s also the issue of your nutritional needs that comes into play. While you do need to achieve a caloric deficit to lose weight, you need to do so in a way that will still provide the necessary nutrients. This is especially critical when you’re following an exercise program and need proper amounts of carbs, protein and fat to perform and recover.

Of course, safety should be the deciding factor when it comes to any supplement. Many of the substances used in over-the-counter products have not been fully tested and may have severe side effects. You should always consult your doctor when considering a supplement.

Do have experience with appetite suppressants? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


8 Reasons You’re Tired

Do you find yourself yawning, rubbing your eyes and dozing off around 2:00 p.m. every day? If so, you’re not alone. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common complaint among Americans.

Fatigue is sometimes caused by a medical problem. But if a trip to the doctor reveals that you’re OK, certain behaviors may be to blame for your sleepiness. Making simple tweaks to your lifestyle may be all that you need to rev up energy levels.

Here are the top 8 sleep offenders:splashing coffee

1. Caffeine. It’s a vicious cycle: you need that cup of coffee to wake up, but the effects of caffeine make falling asleep difficult. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to eight hours, so only drink a cup or two of coffee during the a.m. hours.

2. Alcohol. That glass of wine or beer with dinner may seem like it helps you unwind. In reality, alcohol causes disrupted sleep. Alcohol increases the number of times you wake up during the night, making you feel unrested come morning. Finish up happy hour at least three hours before bed to get a better night’s sleep.

3. Dehydration. One of the symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Not getting enough water can sap your energy levels and cause headaches, lightheadedness and nausea. Institute of Medicine recommends men drink about 13 cups of water each day, and women aim for 9 glasses of water per day.

But be careful not to drink too much too close to bedtime or else you’ll be making a midnight trip to the bathroom.

4. Poor nutrition. Eating unhealthy, processed foods – like chips, candy and soda – can cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket and then plummet, which can leave you feeling drained. Taking in nutritious foods – like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy — every few hours can keep blood sugar levels stable.

Avoid eating a lot of food right before bed. Lying down may slow the digestion process and make falling asleep more difficult.

5. Lack of exercise. The National Sleep Foundation says that people who exercise report better sleep at night. Plus, one of the easiest ways to get an energy boost is to exert energy. Physical activity improves blood flow and brings more oxygen to the cells. Getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week – that breaks up to 5, 30 minute workouts – can help you feel more alert during the day.

6. Exercising too close to bedtime. Working out late at night makes falling asleep challenging for some people. Wrap up your exercise session three hours before bed time and you’ll fall asleep more easily.

7. Your weight. People who are overweight are more likely to have sleep apnea – a condition marked by snoring and interrupted sleep. Losing weight and working with your doctor to get help for sleep apnea can help you feel better rested.

8. Sleep deprivation. The most common reason for daytime fatigue comes from not logging enough shut-eye during the night. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep overnight to function well during the day. Sleeping in a cool, dark room, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and removing distractions from the bedroom – like computers and TVs – can help you get a better night’s sleep.

What’s your bedtime routine? I wind down by reading a book for a few minutes.


What to Eat before a 5K Race

A five kilometer or 5K race – 3.1 miles – is a great distance for beginning racers, as well as for more experienced runners looking to warm-up for the season. To give yourself every pre-race advantage, it’s important to consider what you put into your body.

As you’ve heard countless times before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you eat before your race, and when you eat it, could have a big impact on your energy level and overall performance. Here are a few common practices used by endurance athletes and how they could affect your race – for better or worse.

Myths to Avoid

Traditional endurance wisdom encourages carbohydrate loading or “carbo-loading,” eating large amounts of carbohydrates the day before and the day of your race. The logic behind this is that carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel, especially during exercise, when they account for 40 to 50 percent of energy production.

The problem with this theory becomes clear when you understand that the fuel used during exercise is stored in your muscles and liver. If you think of these stored carbohydrates as fuel in a car, then your muscles and liver can be compared to the gas tank. Like a car’s gas tank, there is a limit to how much fuel can be stored. Numerous studies have shown that not only does the carbo-loading myth offer no benefit to  runners – it could actually slow you down.

Another common practice is to eat simple carbohydrates, like honey or sugar, shortly before the race for a quick boost of energy. This, however, can lead to dehydration: your cells need excess water to absorb the sugar. The sugar spike will also lead to an insulin reaction, which will cause your blood sugar to drop sharply later on, leaving you tired and sluggish.

Planning a Proper Breakfast

Experts at the Colorado State University Extension recommend eating a light meal three to four hours before your race so your body has ample time to properly break down the necessary nutrients. This will also give your stomach time to settle. The meal should feature starches from complex carbohydrates, which break down more quickly and easily than proteins and fats. Avoid foods that are high in fat and simple sugars. Good examples of appropriate foods are whole wheat or multigrain bread, cold cereal, pasta, fruits and vegetables. Unlike the carbo-loading approach, these should be eaten in moderation, with the entire meal totaling only around 500 calories.

Small amounts of caffeine may help improve your athletic performance, according to several studies. Be careful, however, since coffee is a diuretic and can increase the risk of stomach cramps and dehydration during the race.

It’s also important to select foods that you enjoy, and that you know your digestive system tolerates well, because your mood and comfort will affect your performance. Don’t use the morning of the race as an opportunity to try something new for breakfast since it could backfire and cause discomfort or digestive troubles. Try a variety of foods throughout your training plan to find what works for you.

In addition to your meal, you should drink at least 64 ounces of water leading up to the event, but stop drinking at least 30 minutes before the race begins. Having excess water in your system will make you feel bloated, slow you down and possibly give you stomach cramps.

Because a 5K is a relatively short race, it’s not necessary to follow a particular diet in the days leading up to the event. Maintaining a generally healthy, balanced diet and eating an appropriate light breakfast will give you the nutrient stores you need to perform your best on race day.

What pre-race meal works for you before a 5K?