Weight loss is best achieved by making long-term changes to diet and exercise. A healthy balanced diet consists of at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, fibre, some dairy, some protein, and small amounts of unsaturated oils and spreads. The exercise guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, both mixed with strength exercises on two or more days a week.
But many researchers have dedicated time looking into other weight loss aids.
A 1998 study carried out on 20 people found those who took 5-HTP consumed fewer calories from carbohydrates and fat than those taking a placebo.
5-HTP, its full name 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is a naturally occurring amino acid found in foods like turkey, salmon, seeds and eggs.
Holland & Barrett explains its benefits: “Our bodies use 5-HTP to make the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is involved with the regulation of mood, appetite and gut function.
“5-HTP does not occur naturally in any foods, which means we can’t get it from our diet. So, the idea of supplementing with 5-HTP is to remove the need to create it from tryptophan, which, in turn, is believed to raise serotonin levels in the body.
“Supplements of 5-HTP are often made with the seeds of an African shrub called Griffonia simplicifolia.”
A 2016 trial by researchers from Brunel University, found using brain imaging scan, 5-HTP can alter our brain activity when we look at food, shifting our focus away from high calorie and high carbohydrate foods, and towards healthier higher protein foods.
There is no recommended daily amount to take for 5-HTP, but studies have shown amounts raging from 50mg a day to 3300mg to be effective.
The high street health store further advises: “Do not take 5-HTP without seeing your GP first, especially before taking higher doses.
“You should not take 5-HTP supplements if you are also taking antidepressants or sleeping tablets, as this can be extremely dangerous.”
Another supplement proven to aid weight loss is apple cider vinegar.
Available as a liquid to add in drinks and in supplement form, apple cider vinegar has been found to reduce weight loss and appetite.
A study published in 2018 looked at people who were actively trying to lose weight.
The research published in Journal of Functional Foods found dieters who had 1.5 tablespoons a day of apple cider vinegar lost more weight than those who only followed the diet.
Researchers concluded apple cider vinegar may aid weight loss by helping to reduce appetite – its acetic acid content has been shown to reduce the absorption of starches in food and slow digestion, which in turn can help keep you fuller for longer.
Glucomannan has also been found to aid weight loss.