Taking a weight loss supplement should be easy. And it can be—but only once you’ve found the right one.
With so many supplements to choose from and so many different types of product out there, knowing which ones to trust can feel impossible.
You’ve got fat burners, appetite suppressants, prescription medications, supergreens, whey protein, probiotics, weight loss shakes, detox teas…the list goes on.
Some work, most don’t. Some are safe, others can be dangerous. Not all supplements are created equal and not all types of product are the same.
If you’re a beginner to supplements, knowing to start can feel overwhelming—but we’ve got you covered.
We know you’re busy and we know you want to start seeing the results you deserve. So, here in our weight loss for beginner’s guide, we’re going to tell you all about the right supplements for weight loss.
We’re also going to look at the potential side effects, and of course, benefits of weight loss supplements.
Ready? Let’s go.
What are weight loss supplements?
‘Weight loss supplements’ is used as a catch-all term for products that provide (or at least claim to provide) health benefits to you—the consumer. These include anything from prescription drugs to over-the-counter products, along with anything you can buy online to support your health.
There are pills, capsules, powders, creams, patches, injections, drinks, and a whole variety of obscure fad products too (hello, weight loss toe rings. No, your eyes don’t deceive you).
Weight loss supplements include anything that you can use to add to your diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight or boost your overall health and wellbeing.
Of all the types of products available, it’s the metabolism-boosting fat burners and the appetite suppressants that offer the best results for new or busy mums. So, that’s where we’ll focus our attention most. We’ll also look at a few alternatives and consider why they may or may not be effective.
How do weight loss supplements work?
Depending on the type of product it is, each weight loss supplement works a little differently. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of supplements and how they might help you with your weight loss mission.
Fat burners are probably the most popular type of weight loss supplement around today. Fat burners usually come in the form of a pill or capsule with ingredients designed to boost your metabolism.
There are some genuinely effective and incredible fat burners that will increase your rate of thermogenesis—which basically means boosting your metabolic rate to produce more heat and burn extra calories.
But as effective as some fat burners can be, there are some real ‘dud products’ out there. Some fat burners are even dangerous.
Metabolism boosters sold by less reputable companies are a waste of time and money—and it all comes down to the ingredients.
Look for supplements that include proven fat-burning ingredients like caffeine, L-carnitine, and capsicum (red pepper extract). These all have a positive yet safe effect on your metabolism, raising your body temperature and giving you the power to burn stored body fat much quicker.
Also, keep a keen eye out for ingredients that have been thoroughly researched and have plenty of scientific backing.
A great example of this is alpha lipoic acid (ALA), as numerous clinical studies prove how effective it is as a fat burner.
The conclusion of these studies? It works to boost metabolism and burn fat at a high rate.
For every effective ingredient, there are countless others that you should avoid at all costs (such as bitter orange extract).
Never put yourself at risk by using products that don’t explicitly list the contents and ingredient amounts or that don’t point towards studies that highlight their abilities to safely increase your metabolism.
Appetite suppressantsAnother wildly popular type of weight loss supplement is the appetite suppressant. As the name suggests, these don’t directly burn fat. Instead, they stop food cravings, curb appetite, and make you feel fuller for longer.
There are several different ingredients that can help you achieve this, with multiple ways of working.
- Konjac root (or glucomannan, if you’re being fancy), for instance, curbs your appetite by expanding your stomach so that you feel fuller than usual.
- Nopal cactus (a.k.a prickly pear) is a low-calorie but high-fiber ingredient that slows down carbohydrate digestion while binding itself to dietary fats, so that you pass them as waste instead of absorbing and storing them.
- Chromium picolinate is also an effective appetite suppressant which has a direct impact on your brain as well as your stomach. So, you’ll require less food to feel full and won’t crave foods that are high in carbs or sugars.
Strategies like these work well for helping you to reduce hunger pangs, eat fewer calories, and trigger your hunger hormones into believing you are already full. All of which can ultimately lead to weight loss.
Meal replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes can really help with the weight loss process—they’re tasty too. Shakes like this contain quality protein sources and are usually sold in powder form (although you can buy some pre-made and ready to drink). Just mix them with water or milk and just like magic—you have a delicious, nutritious low calorie meal at your fingertips.
The great thing about these shakes is that they serve up lots of vital nutrients that your body needs to function and feel full—the right ones do, at least.
Key weight loss ingredients: what to look for
Decent meal replacement shakes will also contain lots of additional vitamins and minerals to keep your body and your brain healthy.
Remember, this is supposed to replace a meal, so you’ll need to consume the nutrients that you’d usually get through whole foods—and a good shake should provide them in abundance.
Other weight loss supplements you should know about
The three types of supplements we’ve just covered are the best places to start if you’re a beginner to the world weight loss products.
Good-quality fat burners, appetite suppressants, and meal-replacement shakes are safe to use, tried and tested, and offer proven results.
There are lots of other types of supplements out there though, both good and bad. Let’s explore.
Fat binders and blockers
These types of weight loss supplements both prevent some of the fat you eat from being stored in the body. These supplements typically contain ingredients that attach themselves to dietary fat consumed during your meals. This makes the fat molecules too big to be broken down by the body, so they have to be expelled as waste.
These are similar to fat blockers, except they’re designed for stopping a (varying) percentage of dietary carbs being stored as body fat. Also known as starch blockers, they inhibit a chemical called alpha amylase from breaking down the carbohydrates in the body—this makes the carb molecules harder to digest so they are removed as waste instead.
Prebiotics and probiotics
The names are easily confused, but they do slightly different things. Probiotics are the good bacteria that boost your immune system and keep your gastrointestinal system healthy, whereas prebiotics are food for the probiotics (allowing the healthy bacteria to grow and thrive). There are countless strains and combinations available, all of which can lead to various dietary and digestive effects.
These are another type of powdered supplement that you mix with water to make a healthy drink. Supergreens usually come with a colossal list of ingredients as they’re packed full of powderized leafy green vegetables. These supplements don’t directly impact weight loss, but usually make an excellent addition to your diet, by helping you up your vegetable intake. Some products contain other green ingredients for increasing energy, boosting metabolism, and improving digestion—a treasure trove of health benefits
There are lots of types of detox supplements including powders, juices, coffees, and capsules. But, without a doubt, the most common is the detox tea (or teatox, as it’s usually known). Detox products are said to cleanse your system so that it is easier to lose weight (but beware, they often have a laxative-like effect).
FYI: These supplements aren't necessary or even recommended for losing weight in a healthy way. Plus, we know as well as you do that you don’t have time to deal with the effects of laxatives!
Athletic performance boosters
While not strictly taken to cause weight loss, there are lots of supplements designed to improve your exercise performance, in turn, helping you burn more calories. Protein powders, creatine, pre-workout formulas, and many other products can give you the drive you need to work out, get active, and reach your fitness goals—boosting your fat burning results in the process.
Some supplements must be prescribed by a doctor. For example, semaglutide-containing injectables like Ozempic and Wegovy are prescribed solely for weight-related medical issues or for the treatment of diabetes, so shouldn’t be used for general weight loss. Some drugs containing the fat binder Orlistat (e.g. Xenical) are also prescription only (although there are weaker versions available as over-the-counter products).
FYI: Trying prescription products without the help of a medical professional is dangerous and not something that we would ever recommend you attempt.
Miscellaneous and alternative weight loss supplements
Along with the common supplement types already mentioned here, there are also plenty of others that target various aspects of health and weight loss.
For example, ketogenic supplements aim (or claim) to help those following a keto diet, either by inducing or mimicking ketosis.
Beware: There are lots of fads or gimmicky products that promise the earth on a stick when it comes to weight loss, but in reality, they offer little in the way of weight loss.
How to avoid the side effects and benefits of weight loss supplements
As you can see, there are so many different types of supplements that it’s hard to discuss their side effects and benefits without looking at them individually.
That said, there are some general rules that you can follow to ensure you don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk or waste your money on a dud product.
Look for safe and proven ingredients
Quality supplement manufacturers will highlight exactly what is included in the formula, as well as provide scientific evidence of their effectiveness. So, keep a keen eye on the label before pressing the ‘buy button.’
Choose products to suit your goals
Fat burners, meal replacement shakes, and appetite suppressants are generally the safest and most effective supplemental methods of losing weight. Start with these before looking at other types of products.
Avoid unknown or dangerous ingredients
If you can’t find any positive information about an ingredient or a product, avoid it at all costs. These types of products won’t offer the results you deserve and could be harmful to your health.
Don’t fall for the fads
Pineapple juice this, laxative that—fads just do not work. Quality supplements stand the test of time. So, choose something with a history of proven weight loss results. Don’t jump on a new trend without seeing evidence first, no matter how exciting or novel it may seem.
Read the reviews
When products get results, people want to tell others. Likewise, when products are harmful or ineffective, people will let the world know. The best products have lots of positive feedback from real people, just like you.
Should you take weight loss supplements?
Weight loss supplements can certainly be effective when used the right way. The best weight loss supplements also contain ingredients that will help you meet your goals and enhance performance. If you’re struggling to lose weight, they may well be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Supplements that suppress the appetite or boost your metabolism are the most popular forms of weight loss products—some formulas even offer a combination of the two. Capsicum, caffeine, and ALA are all able to raise the metabolic rate and enhance fat burning, whereas ingredients like prickly pear and chromium picolinate are known to effectively curb appetite..
It’s supplements like these that can kick your weight loss up a notch, whether you’re a beginner or if you’ve been trying to lose weight for a while.
So, to answer your question: weaving the right weight loss supplement into your diet plan is absolutely worth it.
There are products that have been around for years and have helped thousands of people lose weight. So stick with something that’s proven to work time and time again if you want to shed the pounds in a safe and steady manner.
Reach your weight loss goals with PhenQ
PhenQ is one of the supplements that has passed the acid test time and time again—and that’s because it works.
This proven weight loss supplement:
The ingredients have all been tested, researched, and shown to do their jobs—every single one is backed by science.
There’s even a night-time version that helps you burn calories and achieve lean body mass as you sleep.
So, if you want to level up your weight loss goals a day (and night), PhenQ is the weight loss supplement for you.