Fat binders are supplements that are designed to place limits on the amount of dietary fats the body can digest. Each gram of carbohydrate or protein consumed provides the body with four calories. A gram of fat provides nine, so it is easy to see how a diet that is rich in fats can soon pile on the pounds.
The body uses calories to fuel its activities. Calories are burned during every function from the blink of an eye to the beating of the heart, and intense or prolonged activities, such as swimming or weight lifting, necessitate the use of more calories than the action of sneezing or scratching an itch.
However, the average person only needs 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day. If the diet provides more than this the excess calories are stored as fat. If the diet fails to provide an adequate amount the fat is burned for extra energy. As a biological system it is very efficient, but the modern-day lifestyle often involves too much food and too little exercise, so obesity is on the rise on a worldwide scale and diet pill manufacturers are becoming rich as a consequence.
Fat Binder Suitability
Although the use of a quality fat binding supplement can be effective for weight loss, such products are not the best option in all cases. Dieters need to take a little time and decide on the nature of their problem before rushing out and purchasing a product that is designed to work in this manner. Anyone who is already sticking to a low fat diet, but is still failing to lose weight or continuing to add extra pounds to their existing bulk, will attain little or no benefits from a fat binding supplement because there will be very little for the product to work upon. In such a case the calories are obviously coming from elsewhere, so the use of appetite suppressants, fat burners, or starch blockers may prove to be a better option, depending on individual situations. Fat binders offer the most benefit to people who eat too much fatty, oily, or greasy foods and some products can block up to 50% of the fat such foods provide.
The Fat Binding Process Explained
Fat binders are generally taken three times per day and are often consumed 30 minutes before the three largest meals of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner). After they have been swallowed they coat the stomach, but are made of ingredients the body is incapable of processing. Two of the most popular fat binding ingredients are chitosan (often made from the shells of deep sea crustaceans) and nopal (a cactus derivative).
Apart from their indigestible nature, all fat binding ingredients share another common trait—they have the ability to attract dietary fats and “bind” with them. In so doing fat binding ingredients cause the fats they have bound to become equally indigestible, so the combined mass (fat binder + bound fat) simply travels through the intestines and is passed with the stool. No calories are released along the way, but users may notice their stools are a little more greasy or watery than normal.
The presence of such an indigestible mass inside the limited confines of the stomach can create a feeling of fullness that can quell the appetite and guide the user in the right direction by ensuring they eat less at mealtimes and are not so likely to be tempted by in-between-meal snacks. Cholesterol is also a form of fat so the same ingredients that are providing weight management benefits may also offer protection against the dangers presented by (bad) LDL cholesterol.
Choosing a Fat Binding Product
Although chitosan has a good reputation for providing results, the fact that the ingredient is usually sourced from sea-living crustaceans can make it an unsuitable for anyone who has allergies to sea food. Dieters who have such a problem are better off choosing a fat binding product that contains nopal, but it is important to be aware some supplements contain chitosan that has been extracted from a fungus (aspergillus niger). Such supplements often outperform other fat binders by up to 33%, so a close examination of the small-print ingredient details is much to be advised.
Some Thoughts about Product Quality
Although good ingredients should produce quality results, in reality things are not that simple. Some manufacturers are so focussed on maximising their profits they skimp on the amount of (good) ingredients they use in favour of cheaper options that can bulk out the formulation, but offer little or no benefit. The presence of such low-grade ingredients invariably dilutes the better ones and results in fat binding supplements that are lacking in power. Bearing all this in mind it is always advisable to read labels and product descriptions carefully and only ever purchase fat binding products that have been produced by a reputable manufacturer. Customer feedback can also provide a valuable insight into product potency and a little pre-buy checking can mean the difference between weight loss failure and weight loss success.