Best Fat Binding Diet Pills

Last updated January 29th 2015

There are many diet pills on that market that claim to work by fat binding, and it can be difficult to know whether these are the best pills to opt for, and which will be most effective.

Finding the weight loss supplement that is right for you can be a daunting process, and it is important to know what you are buying before purchasing a diet pill. A wide range of weight loss supplements purport to work by binding to dietary fat, but how do you know whether they have been proven to work, precisely which product to opt for, and which ingredients are most likely to be effective? This article will help to answer these questions, providing a helpful discussion of the different types of weight loss supplements available, how fat binders claim to work, and whether or not these claims are backed up by any scientific evidence.

What are Fat Binding Diet Pills?

Weight loss supplements may claim to work principally as fat binders, or fat binding may be one of several areas of weight loss targeted by the product. Either way, these products will contain ingredients that purportedly work by binding to the fat molecules that are consumed in the diet. By binding to the fat molecules, the substances create a large fat-fibre complex, which is too large to pass through the lining of the small intestine. In consequence, the fat molecules should be transported through the digestive system with the fat binder without being absorbed by the body, and excreted naturally in the stool.

Common Ingredients in Fat Binding Diet Pills

Litramine

Litramine is a compound of fibres that has been patented by the company ‘Inqpharm’ for its potential use as a fat binder. The compound contains one form of insoluble fibre, and one form of soluble fibre. These are Opuntia ficus-indica and Acacia spp. respectively. Opuntia ficus-indica forms the insoluble portion and will be discussed in further detail below. Acacia spp. is a substance derived from one of a number of species of plant within the genus Acacia; it is not made clear precisely which species the substance is sourced from, or what its role is in the fat binding process. Together, the Litramine website claims that the ingredient works as an effective fat binder due to the balance of fibres, but does not go in to much detail of the method of action. The ingredient can be found in several weight loss products.

Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear)

Opuntia ficus-indica is a plant that is believed to be native to Mexico, but is now found growing in many parts of the world. The ingredient is also known as prickly pear, and its extract can be found in a large number of weight loss supplements. It is used for its insoluble fibres that supposedly bind to fat molecules in the digestive system, preventing their absorption by the body, and thus preventing their storage as fat. As will be discussed in further detail in this article, the ingredient has been the subject of several clinical trials, but thus far the results for its effectiveness as a weight loss agent, though seemingly positive, are not conclusive.

Chitosan

Chitosan is a substance that is obtained from the exoskeleton of shellfish and will be present in the ingredients list of a range of weight loss supplements claiming to work as fat binders. The substance is used in many different industries, for example as a biopesticide, a fining agent in wine making, and an addition to bandages in medicine. The substance is used in weight loss products for its potential ability to prevent the absorption of dietary fats. It is a soluble fibre that may have the potential to bind to bile acid in the digestive system. Again, clinical studies have been performed on the ingredient and its efficacy, though the results of these studies are contradictory and no stable conclusion has yet been drawn.

Are these Ingredients Clinically Proven to Work?

Litramine

The official website of Litramine states that the compound is a scientifically proven fat binder. Unfortunately these claims are not backed up by the evidence provided on their website. The website refers to a number of studies, but most of these have not been published in scientific journals, leaving only two relevant and reliable studies – one of which is on the compound and the other on one of the active ingredients in the compound (Opuntia ficus-indica) and its impact on weight loss.

The only study on Litramine as a whole involved a total of 125 human volunteers. The subjects undertook a two week ‘run in’ phase before the beginning of the trial after which time they were divided in to a test group and a control group. The test group consumed 3g of Litramine per day, and the control group consumed the same about of placebo. The trial was undertaken over a period of 12 weeks, and 123 of the 125 subjects reached the end. The authors concluded that the individuals in the test group lost significantly more weight that those in the control group, and so Litramine may have the potential to help people to lose weight.

The other study cited was not performed on Litramine, but on one of its component fibres. For this reason it will be discussed in the section on Opuntia ficus-indica rather than on Litramine as a whole. Despite the results of the above study being positive overall, unfortunately only one study on the ingredient is not enough on which to base solid conclusions. Although the substance may have the potential to help some people to lose weight, more studies need to be undertaken to confirm this.

Opuntia ficus-indica

Opuntia ficus-indica has been the subject of a lot of scientific studies, however very few of these are related to its potential ability to help people to lose weight. The only study that can be found that tested the efficacy of this ingredient was a pilot study, and as such included only a very small number of subjects and no control group. 24 healthy, non-obese male subjects were used in the study, all of whom suffered from primary isolated hypercholesterolemia or combined hyperlipidemia. An eight week ‘run in’ phase was performed, and then the subjects were each given 250g of Opuntia ficus-indica each day. The trial continued for eight weeks, during which time the impact of prickly pear extract on glucose and lipid metabolism was considered.

It was concluded that the fibre could have a small impact on the reduction of cholesterol, triglyceride, blood glucose, and insulin levels, but had no impact on body weight. This study was only a pilot study, and the lack of a control group in particular means that it is not a very reliable study. The results cannot be seen as conclusive, and more studies certainly need to be performed on the ingredient before it can be stated for sure whether or not it may be beneficial for the treatment of obesity in humans.

Chitosan

Chitosan has been the subject of only a few scientific studies that aimed to test its effectiveness as an aid to weight loss. One such trial was performed on 34 overweight volunteers. The trial was double blind, randomised, and placebo controlled – all of the factors that make a reliable study. Individuals in the test group were given four capsules of chitosan twice per day, whilst those in the control group were given a placebo. This continued for 28 days alongside their usual diet. The results suggested that the only difference between the subjects taking chitosan and those taking the placebo was that those in the chitosan group had a higher level of vitamin K. The authors concluded that chitosan has no impact on body weight.

A review study of the impact of chitosan on weight loss considered all of the randomised, controlled trials available on the ingredient from a number of databases. Each of the trials included must have taken place over a period of at least four weeks on adults who were overweight or obese and/ or had hypercholesterolaemia. 14 trials fitted the criteria, and analyses of the studies suggested that chitosan may have a slight impact on body weight reduction. When limited to just high quality studies however, this difference was lower, and only minimal.

Are there any Prescription Fat Binders?

Only one medication is available on prescription for the treatment of obesity, and that is Orlistat. Orlistat is a fat binder, and works to prevent approximately one third of the fat consumed in the diet from being absorbed by the body. The NHS states that whilst the medication may help to prevent you from gaining more weight, it will only be effective as a weight loss aid if you make changes to your diet and lifestyle, too. Orlistat as a whole product has been the subject of a large number of clinical trials testing both its efficacy and its safety, the majority of which have had positive results. These include one that used 1187 subjects and continued for a period of two years, a double blind placebo controlled study over a period of one year that found one third of patients taking Orlistat lost 5% or more of their body weight, and another over two years using 743 patients.

Whilst Orlistat is likely to be an effective treatment for obesity, it will not be prescribed to anybody who asks for it. In order to be considered for the medication, a person must be able to show that they have made significant efforts to lose weight naturally in the past. Accepted patients will also have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 28 and suffer from health conditions relating to their weight, such as high blood pressure, or have no conditions but a BMI of 30 or more. It will also usually only be prescribed to people between the ages of 18 and 65. Once taking Orlistat, your progress will be monitored by the doctor, and the treatment will only be continued if you lose at least 5% of your body weight in the first three months.

If you do not fit the criteria for an Orlistat prescription, then you may wish to try off the shelf fat binding products. Interestingly, the product ‘Alli’ which can be found in high street stores, is an over the counter version of Orlistat, meaning that it has the same ingredients but in a reduced concentration. The fact that the only approved treatment for obesity is a fat binder may imply that fat binders are a good product to opt for, as the method has been shown to work. That being said, some of the products available on the internet which claim to work as fat binders do not contain any ingredients with that potential. Be sure to research a product and its ingredients thoroughly before purchasing.

Do Fat Binding Diet Pills have any Side Effects?

No matter which form of weight loss supplement you are considering, they all alter processes within the body and as such, will all have some potential side effects. Fat binders are certainly not an exception to this. Precisely how severe these effects are will be dependent upon the exact product and its ingredients, so make sure that you research the potential side effects of the specific product that you are considering. Nevertheless, some generalisations can be made for the side effects of fat binding diet pills.

Fat binding products target weight loss by altering processes in the gastro-intestinal system (by preventing the digestion of a proportion of fat molecules). For this reason, side effects of fat binding products are often associated with the gastro-intestinal tract. Some of the common, mild side effects of these supplements include stomach cramps, gastro-intestinal discomfort, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, loose stools, oily or fatty stools, increased bowel movements, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. These side effects are likely to be worst when you first start taking the product, but may reduce with time as your body gets used to the fat binder.

If the side effects mentioned above persist for a long period of time, or you experience any more severe effects, then you should stop taking the product immediately and consult a doctor. Allergic reactions are rare, but can also occur. In consequence, be aware of symptoms such as rashes, itching, and swelling, particularly of the face, mouth, and throat. If you notice any of these effects, stop taking the product and consult a doctor. Also be aware that fat binding products can interact with other medications, see the section below for more details.

Is there anybody who shouldn’t take Fat Binding Diet Pills?

It is recommended against taking most weight loss supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, under the age of 18, or have a history of eating disorders. Fat binding products would also not be suitable for people who suffer within conditions relating to the gastro-intestinal tract, such as irritable bowel syndrome. If you are unsure whether or not a fat binding diet pill would suit you, then the best thing to do is consult a doctor and discuss it with them.

Ensure that you contact a doctor before consuming any fat binding pills if you take any other medication. Of particular concern would be medications relating to insulin or diabetes, cyclosporine, digoxin, levothyroxine, or blood thinners. This is not a comprehensive list of medications that may interact with fat binding products, so tell a doctor if you are consuming any medications at all, be these prescription or over the counter products.

Are Fat Binding Diet Pills the Best Choice for you?

Which type of diet pill you opt for will be dependent on a number of factors. Some fat binding diet pills may be effective at preventing people from gaining any more weight, but in order for them to work to reduce your body weight you will have to put the effort in. You will only lose weight with fat binding supplements if they are taken alongside a carefully considered diet plan and exercise regime. For more information on choosing a diet plan that will best suit you, see our article here. If you are not willing to put the time and effort in to changing your diet and lifestyle, then fat binding supplements may be of little use to you, and you may wish to try a different form of weight loss supplement.

It is also important to take in to consideration your health. Read the above section on ‘Is there anybody who shouldn’t take Fat Binding Diet Pills?’ to get an idea of whether or not the diet pills would suit your health, and if you are unsure, contact a doctor and discuss your options with them. If you do consume some fatty foods in your diet, then fat binding products may be of use; if on the other hand you feel that carbohydrates are your downfall then you might be better off considering a carbohydrate blocker. Alternatively, if you believe that it is not what you eat, but how much you eat, then an appetite suppressant might be best for you. These different types of supplements will be discussed in more detail below.

How to Choose a Good Product

With so many weight loss supplements available on the market that claim to work as fat binders it can be extremely difficult to decipher which is actually likely to be most effective, and perhaps more importantly, whether the products are safe. A lot of the products available on the online market will not have been scientifically proven to work, and even those available to buy in high street stores are unlikely to have been the subject of long-term scientific studies. For this reason, the long-term effects of many products will not be well known, so make sure that you monitor your health carefully when consuming the products. That being said, most that are available to buy from well-known high street stores are unlikely to come with any nasty effects.

The safest place to purchase a weight loss supplement (if you do not qualify for the prescription medication) is from well known stores on the high street. Examples in the United Kingdom include Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy, and Holland and Barrett. If however you wish to buy from an internet store, then there are steps that should be taken to ensure that you are buying a genuine product from a reliable company. Scams are all too common in the online weight loss supplement market.

Firstly you should check the company and the manufacturer of the product. Search the company websites for information about the history of the company, full contact details (including an address, phone number, and email address – not just an online form), and look at any other products that they manufacture/ sell. Spelling and grammatical errors on the website can also often be the sign of a poorly established company. Next you should search for independent customer reviews of the companies. Use a search engine to find these reviews, and do not trust those provided on the website itself.

Diet pill scams often come in the form of ‘free trials’. If a free trial is offered on the website, then you must make sure that the trial will actually be free. Do not enter any card details in to a website offering a free trial; if they ask for these, then it will usually result in a monthly payment being taken from your account for a regular shipment of the product. The best way to avoid these is to purchase from renowned companies. Many companies also offer a 30 day money guarantee, which can be a good indication of a reliable retailer. Make sure that you read the terms and conditions of any website before purchasing; if they are trying to scam you, it is very likely that the details of the scam will be amongst the terms and conditions somewhere. For more information on how to avoid diet pill scams, see our article here.

In terms of the product itself, it is important that you research the product as a whole and its individual ingredients. The best way to see whether or not it is likely to be effective is by looking at scientific studies. You can either search for these yourself, or look at the reviews of the product given on Healthy Compare. To do this, simply enter the product name in to the search box on the website. The reviews provided on Healthy Compare will give you an idea of how safe and effective the product is likely to be, and will summarise any clinical trials performed on the product and its ingredients. Secondly it is always useful to search for independent customer reviews of the product to see unbiased accounts of how well the product worked for different people. Amazon is often a good place to find a large number of independent reviews of a product.

What are the Alternatives to Fat Binding Diet Pills?

Broadly speaking, there are four different ways in which a diet supplement can target weight loss. These are: fat burning/ binding, carbohydrate blocking, appetite suppressing, and metabolism boosting. These diet pills are also occasionally coupled with a diet plan that when undertaken alongside the supplement can help you to reach your weight loss goal more effectively. It can be difficult to work out which type of diet pill is likely to be the most effective; here a brief overview of each type will be given, and how they are supposed to work discussed.

Diet supplements that claim to work by burning fat achieve weight loss in a different way to fat binders. Whilst fat binders attach to fat molecules and prevent them from being absorbed in the first place, fat burners act after the fat molecules have already been absorbed in to the body. These substances supposedly increase the activity of the enzymes that are involved in the breakdown of fat molecules, allowing fat to be broken down and used for energy more readily, rather than being stored as fat. The products generally claim to achieve this through the method of thermogenesis, which involves increasing the internal body temperature in an attempt to maximise the activity of the enzymes involved in the process.

Metabolism boosters work in a very similar way to fat burners, and also purport to achieve weight loss through the process of thermogenesis. In this case, thermogenesis supposedly increases the activity of many cells in the body, making them work harder, and so making them burn more energy. Metabolism boosters work best when taken alongside regular exercise, but are also often recommended for older users, as the metabolism is known to naturally slow down with age.

Carbohydrate blockers on the other hand work in a similar way to fat binders. The ingredients in these products claim to prevent the action of the enzymes that are involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are large complexes, and generally speaking, most of these need to be broken down in order for them to fit through the lining to be digested by the body. Preventing the breakdown of these molecules means that they remain too large to pass through the lining and so pass through the gastro-intestinal tract naturally and are excreted in the stool.

Finally there are appetite suppressants. These products generally claim to work in one of two ways. Firstly, there are appetite suppressing supplements that purport to alter the concentrations of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are related to the appetite, such as serotonin. This alteration should in turn make the brain signal to the body that it is not hungry. Secondly, there are a few products available on the market that claim to work by expanding in the stomach once they have been consumed, forming a thick, gel-like substance. This substance is normally fibrous in nature and is indigestible, meaning that it does not hold any calories. The substance should make the stomach feel full, and will then be excreted naturally in the stool. No matter which method is used, the outcome of appetite suppressants is the same – they supposedly reduce the appetite making an individual less hungry and less likely to snack, potentially allowing them to stick to a diet plan with ease.

For more information on the different types of diet pills available on the market, and how they are supposed to work, see the article here. Once you are familiar with the different types, it may be worth looking at our article on the best diet pills that discusses which types of diet pill are likely to suit different types of people, and also gives some examples of products available on the market that appear to be safe and have gained good reviews.

Conclusion

When contemplating the use of weight loss supplements, it is important that you take the time to consider which type, and indeed which specific product, would be best for you. The factors that need to be considered include your willingness to change your lifestyle, your diet, and your general health. Fat binders can be an effective way to help boost your weight loss regime, assuming that you are willing to incorporate a diet plan and exercise regime alongside the pills. Before purchasing a certain weight loss supplement, make sure that you research the retailer and the manufacturer to ensure that the product is safe and likely to be effective. The best way to avoid disappointment is by buying from a well known high street store.

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