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February 19, 2008

What Are Fat Blockers?

By Tara Fraser

Due to our consistent attempt to avoid anything that involves discipline or hard work, creative money-makers have figured out a new way to rob us of our money with the promise of dramatic weight loss. This time, it’s through something called fat blockers.

While this isn’t anything new, after all, you’ve certainly heard of a drug called Xenical, these so-called fat blockers work in a different way.

What is Xenical?

Xenical, also called Orlistat, works by inhibiting an enzyme in the intestines (lipase) from breaking up the fat and preparing it for digestion. Therefore, because the fat isn’t adequately digested, it doesn’t get absorbed by the body.

On average, people who took Xenical ended up losing 10% of their total body weight. These people, however, were closely monitored by professionals and put on a diet that required them to restrict calories, especially those coming from fat.

Fat blockers

Other fat blockers, with official-sounding names like “Eclipse 2000 Deluxe Chitosan” and “BSN Cheaters Relief,” cannot be found in your local pharmacy or health food store, but rather in magazines and perhaps bodybuilding stores.

Most of these products are not FDA approved (as though that means anything nowadays) and, although they do not contain and illegal substances, they are not guaranteed to do what they promise and still require a boatload of discipline from the purchasers of such products.

How fat blockers work

All of these fat blockers consist either or tablets or come in powder form and contain, as their main ingredient, chitosan, a calcium-rich compound that is obtained from pulverized sea creatures.

When you ingest this product, it is designed to grab hold of the fat you eat and separate it from the other nutrients in your body, keeping your body from digesting it. Rather, it doesn’t get absorbed by the body at all and simply makes its way out of your system via your intestines.

Most products claim that anywhere from 35% to 80% of the fat you ingest will exit the body without being absorbed, but the problem with the claim is that it has never been substantiated via clinical testing.

So if you opted to buy any of these fat blockers, you would be relying on the word of the manufacturer rather than scientific evidence.

Fat blockers false hopes

Now let’s say that these products actually did work. Let’s say they could magically block your body from absorbing any fat. What do you think the chances are that you would be able to discipline yourself away from, say, that Whopper?

That’s just it. The problem with these magical solutions is that they end up putting the user’s mind at ease and they end up eating perhaps double what they would’ve eaten before without a thought about the possible consequences.

If that weren’t enough, what do you think happens when fat isn’t absorbed by the body and exits via the intestines? Well, I’m sure you can imagine that the odor would be foul and the stool would become loose, taking away your ability to hold in gas and anal leakage.

Finally, most vitamins are fat soluble, which means that your body needs some fat if you hope to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, so without a modicum of fat, you will become deficient in necessary nutrients.

Fat-blocking solution

So what does that leave you with? Well, how about some lifestyle diet changes and exercise? Fat is not the problem in our diets today; there are plenty of fats that are detrimental to our health - no, quality and quantity count.

If you can manage to eat good fats, complex carbohydrates and a healthy amount of protein, as well as spend 30 minutes doing rigorous exercise on an almost daily basis, you can probably bet that you’ll be in the best health and shape of your life.

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