Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does summertime have you thinking about shedding a few pounds? Read this first!

Summertime brings weight loss to the front of many people’s mind. Swimsuits, pools, shorts, dresses, etc., motivate people to drop the pounds. There are tons of fad diets and dietary supplements that promise to be quick fixes for anyone wanting to lose weight. Below are some of the most popular methods and products we see at the REC and reasons you should be wary of them:

1. hCG (injections, pills, drops) and the 500 calorie diet. There has been no conclusive evidence suggesting that hCG aids in weight loss. Obviously, if you go on a 500 calorie diet you will lose weight, but severe calorie restriction is dangerous and should never be done without the supervision of a physician. For an athlete, 500 calories will not be enough to fuel practice or training, which will negatively affect performance, and make you tired and lethargic.

2. Hydroxycut, Lipofuze, Redline, Xenadrine, Lipo 6 Black, OxyElite Pro: These popular weight loss supplements list caffeine, synephrine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, octopamine, and other stimulants. Stimulants can speed metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure; the increased activity in the body produces extra heat (especially in hot and humid conditions). Under these conditions, the blood vessels in the skin constrict, preventing the body from cooling itself efficiently. By making the user feel more energetic and less fatigued, stimulants keep users exercising longer. In rare cases this can easily set the stage for heat illness, heat stroke and sudden death in certain situations. Large amounts of stimulants can have side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and nervousness. They may make you feel jittery and shaky. Stimulants can also disrupt your sleep patterns. High doses of caffeine or prolonged use can cause dependence.

3. DHEA supplements: Claims have been made that DHEA can help with weight loss, but there is not conclusive evidence on this subject. Because DHEA is a testosterone precursor, its use carries many of the same warnings associated with steroid use, such as decreased liver function, hair loss, testicular shrinkage, acne, etc. Researchers have stated that use of DHEA should be avoided because the drug is not yet well understood.

4. Meal replacement products, or manufactured food systems: A common complaint with these systems and products is once the user tries to go back to normal food, they gain back the weight they lost, and possibly more. This often happens because using meal replacements does not force the dieter to make lifestyle changes that will help keep the weight off. Cleanse products/programs, which often contain diuretics and/or stimulants, are also often touted as programs to lose weight quickly but cause regain as soon as the user goes off of them.

Experts agree the best way to lose weight is to reduce calorie intake and be more active. Eat less processed foods and eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Spend at least 30 minutes every day participating in a physical activity you enjoy. Athletes NEED fuel for practices, workouts, and training. While losing a few pounds can aid performance in some cases, it is important to lose weight gradually by making changes to your diet that allow you balance between your needs for training and your weight loss goals.

Read about sports nutrition, healthy weight loss, and eating habit tips by visting the sites below.

Healthy Ways to Lose Weight (previous REC post): http://drugfreesportrec.blogspot.com/2010/05/healthy-ways-to-lose-weight.html

Eating for Performance (previous REC post - two parts): http://drugfreesportrec.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

SCAN: http://www.scandpg.org/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-fact-sheets/

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