A Comprehensive Overview of Today’s Leading Weight Loss ProgramsBy Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD, FACN
One of the more alarming health concerns we face as a nation is the shocking fact that approximately three of every four adult Americans are either overweight or obese. This startling admission may help to explain the bombardment of weight loss systems, diet plans and books that are currently flooding the marketplace.
Since the diet and nutrition industry and related businesses bring in about 45 billion dollars per year, an evaluation of just what these popular diets are about and which ones should work for you appears in order. This article is designed to do just that–to provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of the most popular diets on the market to help you decide which one, if any, might work best for you. In addition, it will also offer suggested supplements to promote and accelerate the effects of the diets featured here.
Clearly, it is important to shop around to find the best solution for your needs. For example, before you purchase a new car, you typically do some research so you can learn as much as possible about it. With this in mind, when it comes to paying for weight loss, it is wise to learn and understand how some or all of these plans basically work. If the basis of the plan sounds shaky, than a tad more research should be in order. With this in mind, here is a basic overview of these popular diet programs, listed in no particular order.
The South Beach Diet
South Beach, Miami. Images of beautiful women, fit and fashionable, strolling down the avenues and beach all hours of the day and night, with men who like to stay in great shape and aren’t afraid to flaunt it. South Beach is all about the “see and be seen.” It is within this stunning setting that Arthur Agatston, M.D., a cardiologist and Medical Director of the Cardiac Prevention Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, created the South Beach Diet a few years ago. Since then, it has been sweeping the country. This very popular diet is all about losing weight and gaining life. In other words, it is meant to not only help reconstruct your outward look, but both your body’s internal chemistry (blood markers for heart disease and diabetes) and your mental/emotional outlook. So, the South Beach Diet may help you shed fat, lower your cholesterol and blood sugar, while altogether giving you more self confidence as a result. In essence, it’s aimed at helping you lose weight while reconstructing your body’s internal chemistry.
Diet Facts: You’ll be allowed many vegetables but few fruits or processed grains such as white bread and rice while on the South Beach Diet. You replace the carb calories with lean proteins and unsaturated fats found in foods like olive oil and fish. While many other weight loss plans ask you to keep a food diary and ignore the benefits of exercise, on the South Beach Diet, exercise is recommended while calorie counting is not. The “SoBe” dieter is asked to simply follow the “Allowed” and “Avoid” lists of foods.
As you might imagine, since the South Beach Diet is divided into three phases, the first phase is the strictest. This first phase lasts two weeks, and is highly restrictive food-wise. You are allowed many vegetables (not starchy ones like potatoes and corn) and no fruits. In place of carbs, eat plenty of lean meats and fatty fish, and ample amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and omega-3-rich fish oil supplements. Also avoid saturated fat as much as possible. The second phase is a tad more liberal with the reintroduction of fruits along with some high-fiber, whole-grain carbs. This second phase is intended for use until you reach your goal weight. The third phase is for weight loss maintenance and is designed to be followed long-term. Throughout the South Beach Diet book, Dr. Agatston reminds the reader that his first concern is heart health and that weight loss is secondary.
South Beach Diet Supplement Support: Dr. Agatston does note that if you exercise and workout regularly, the timing of your pre-and post-workout meals are much more important than the diet of the sedentary person. The dietary supplements that appear to be worthwhile at a minimum on the South Beach diet include calcium, a multivitamin/mineral supplement and plenty of fiber. In addition to these nutrients, many people also supplement with KGM-90. Other compounds that can be of benefit include Omega-3 fish oil and chromium picolinate (with alpha lipoic acid). The early phase of the South Beach Diet can be very challenging both physically and mentally and that’s where high quality cognitive enhancers like tyrosine, choline and acetyl-L-carnitine can make a huge difference. The same supplements encouraged for the Atkins diet (see below) would apply here as well. Many users have reported remarkable feedback using the powerful metabolic energy booster Provadex with these diets.
The Atkins Low-Carb Plan
Cardiologist Robert Atkins, Ph.D., rose to national prominence in 1972 with “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution.” This book was a direct assault on the notion that low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets were the most effective weight-loss strategy. While numerous physicians and dietitians decried the Atkins approach, millions of people lost weight without deleterious effects on their cholesterol levels.
The Atkins Nutritional Approach (ANA) is pretty simple: Eat vegetables as your main source of carbs, and red meats, fish, poultry, eggs and the like for protein, with nuts, seeds and oils such as olive and canola for a dose of healthy fat. Numerous studies have supported Atkins. A Duke University Medical School study published in the “American Journal of Medicine” examined the effect of the ANA in overweight adults. Subjects on the diet enjoyed a 10% bodyweight loss over six months, with a reduction in total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels in their blood. In all, 95% of the participants lost weight. In addition, a noted researcher from the University of Connecticut, Jeff Volek, Ph.D., RD, has published multiple studies on the ANA, consistently finding it promotes fat loss while preserving muscle mass in lean and overweight adults.
Diet Facts: The ANA is a four-phase eating plan used in conjunction with regular exercise. In Phase 1, you restrict carb consumption to 20 grams per day, mainly from vegetables, while eating most of your calories from fish, fowl, red meat, nuts, dairy products, eggs and the like. The goal is to lose up to a pound of bodyweight (but no more than that) per day. In Phase 2, which begins after two weeks on Phase 1 or about a 15-pound weight loss, you slowly start adding carbs, such as vegetables, fruit or cheese, back into your diet, to the tune of five grams per week until your weight loss comes to a halt. At the plateau, one is advised to reduce carb intake by five grams. (Atkins followers are highly encouraged to keep a food diary to discern the exact level of carbs in their diet where weight loss stops.) In Phase 3, carb intake is increased again in an effort to actually slow weight loss and make it more gradual, while Phase 4 marks the moment where you’ve reached your target weight and want to begin a diet that maintains your weight loss and energy levels. (Learn more at www.atkins.com).
Atkins Supplement Support: Many supplements available today support the higher-fat, reduced-carb mantra of ANA, including multivitamins, products that include KGM-90 (an effective appetite suppressant and overall weight reducer), fiber supplements, and heart-healthy supplements such as CoQ10, arginine and fish oil. Some people believe this high-fat diet has undesirable effects on the heart, although it should be noted that most research does not support this claim. For this reason, KGM products which can help lower cholesterol such as Teatrazene are particularly helpful. In addition, the antioxidant effects of Vitamin E may help, as well as supplements like carnitine and CLA to assist in bodyfat breakdown.
Eat to Win
The Eat to Win Diet by Robert Haas, MS, employs the nutritional benefits of both the Mediterranean and Asian diets, often referred to as “MediterrAsian”. These regions of the world enjoy lower disease risks, better general health and longer life span than most Americans. A leading sports nutritionist, Haas has crafted a carefully written, easy to follow program that allows you to eat nutrient dense, but calorie light foods to be coupled with an exercise plan for optimal weight balance success.
Eat to Win for the 21st Century was not tested in the sense of the clinical research studies, but it employs the data from published science to create a nice approach for health promotion and enhanced athletic performance. In addition, the principles of the MediterrAsian Diet addresses how diet may affect risk factors of heart disease, which are well documented. It appears that the dietary techniques employed in this book are also in concert with those espoused by leading health organizations, while remaining on the forefront.
In short, when looking for the diet that is right for you, give serious consideration to the Eat to Win for the 21st Century book. It will be noted over time to be in step with the latest thought regarding nutrition for good health for the dieter, athlete and the person who seeks great general health and vitality.
Diet Facts: Mr. Haas reminds us that balance in nutritional intake is important, however we must not overlook the importance of phytochemicals as they contain “supernutrients” that may be vital to optimal health and longevity. The diet is high in vegetables, moderate in fruits, rich in whole grains, promotes vegetable-based proteins along with fish or animal protein and healthy fats.
Eat to Win Diet Supplement Support: First and foremost, a fish oil supplement that is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids is the perfect complement to the Eat to Win Diet because of its ability to nutritionally support the heart, immune system and cholesterol levels, as well as weight loss. As with most any diet you would choose, a high-quality KGM-based product is a must-have due to its amazing appetite suppression support. A potent thermogenic is also recommended for boosting metabolism, fat-burning and energy levels.
Weight Watchers is a program that is more hands-on than either the Atkins Diet or the soon to be reviewed Zone nutritional plan. It was founded by Jean Nidetch in 1963, and has become a worldwide phenomenon, with meetings ongoing in 30 countries. Its “Winning Points” system has gained popularity because it doesn’t require extravagant and complicated diets. Instead, dieters are given points for certain types of food and activities and told to do the math. This system is a more realistic format that takes into account everyday life activities, like going out to eat and buying your favorite foods in the supermarket.
The meetings, where dieters gather for support and education, may just offer the extra push some people need to stick with it. In a study out of the New York Obesity Research Center, researchers found that those who participated in Weight Watchers, as compared to those following a self-help weight loss plan, were more successful over six months at losing weight and improving cardiovascular disease risk factors. Basically, this diet is set up for success, accounting for exercise and even the occasional indulgence. Depending upon your goal and if you need the constant support system, this could be the program for you.
Diet Facts: Weight Watchers most current and widely lauded program is one where based upon your height and weight (with your goal weight in mind), you are assigned a certain point range that you are allowed to eat daily. Each point corresponds to a combination of the calorie value of the food along with the fat and fiber content. This is really an ingenious way of helping people to watch their fat intake, while being rewarded for eating high fiber foods. The mantra is really that no foods are off limits, but eating out of your point zone is. In fact, if you exercise, you get to add points to your allotment, if you eat less than your maximum points you can bank them for the week. This plus/minus system of points makes it easy to deal with an upcoming event where you know that you may eat more than what you should. The new Weight Watchers system helps the enrollee to maintain a balance in his or her overall average caloric intake. The program is geared for weight loss of two pounds per week — while that may not sound like a lot, it’s been proven that the more gradually you lose weight, the longer you tend to keep it off. (Learn more at www.weightwatchers.com).
Weight Watchers Supplement Support: Many supplements can help rev up fat loss while on Weight Watchers, including a multivitamin, choline, acetyl l-carnitine and green tea extract coupled with caffeine to help increase fat burning. Because the diet tends to be low in fat, I personally feel there is a need for fish oil or omega-3 fats or maybe even medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). The diet is usually high in carbohydrate and therefore some of the carb blockers that slow digestion and reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the blood (but more research is needed with these) could be of benefit. In addition, chromium picolinate may help your body process excess carbs, and metabolic boosters such as Provadex can help offset a lack of exercise (while you do get bonus points for exercising, Weight Watchers does not promote exercise as heavily as it should).
Eating for Life
Eating for Life is a great follow-up book to Body for Life written by Bill Phillips. The EFL book strives to get the reader to understand that loving to eat is okay, however it is about making the right food choices coupled with engaging in the fitness lifestyle that will spell lifelong success. Sure, many diets and lifestyle books state premises along this line, but what sets this book apart is the common sense approach that it takes. EFL explains how obesity leads to other illnesses that hurt way too many people per year (direct and indirect illnesses), how the ease of purchasing or eating fast food affects our general state of well being, why choosing a diet can be a real dilemma and how to turn your nutritional lifestyle around in a rather painless and easy way. This book also contains a lot of information on how to make the EFL a lifestyle, while eating in or dining out. There are over 200 pages of recipes and another 50 or so pages of information that will make your kitchen feel like your closest friend, a friend that helps you achieve leanness and better health. Learn more at www.highpointmedia.com or www.eatingforlife.com.
Diet Facts: In Eating for Life, Bill Phillips explains how the “Right” dietary approach is to understand the combination of eating the right foods at the right times in the right amounts and of course in the right combinations. When looking at the macronutrient ratio of the diet, ideally each meal should be 40/40/20 — that is 40% carbohydrate, 40% protein and 20% fat.
Eating For Life Supplement Support: An appetite suppressant such as Tetrazene is an excellent addition to this diet. Tetrazene also provides valuable fiber that is often missing in most diets and particularly important when consuming high protein. The best supplement support for a diet such as this is the Tetrazene ES-50 formula which also helps to boost metabolism through its advanced thermogenic blend. Also consider omega-3-rich fish oil for its overall health-promoting benefits. Another perfect complement to the Eating For Life diet is a nutritionally balanced high-protein, high-carb sports bar that is not only a delicious treat but a solid meal replacement option as well.
Dare to Lose
Dare to Lose by Dr. Shari Lieberman is a great book that provides the reader with real-world insights into how society, personal life and other aspects of environment or genetics affect weight. Part of the book discusses Dr. Lieberman’s “dare’s” to the person that wants to shed weight and unsightly body fat and for some this can be a motivational tool. The first part of the book asks the reader to attempt to decipher why consistent weight loss has not been a successful endeavor–why dieting in and of itself may be one of the key reasons for weight-loss failure. The early chapters key in on how to manipulate and stimulate the metabolism to not decline as we age. Dr. Lieberman reminds us that yo-yo dieting, crash dieting, living a sedentary lifestyle, eating poor food choices and chronic stress all can lead to an unpleasant amount of body fat. After discussing this, Dr. Shari (as she likes to be called) reveals how “thin for life” can be achieved and why following her program is a simple solution. Thankfully, Dr. Lieberman also provides the reader with resources freely available to help anyone stay on track.
Diet Facts: From a dietary standpoint, we as a society appear to be confused as to what to eat. Dr. Shari introduces us to the difference between low and high glycemic foods, fiber-rich and fiber-poor foods, protein dense items, fats to be avoided, fats to be included and much, much more. It also provides guidance on how to properly exercise.
Dare to Lose Supplement Support: According to this book, the basic supplement program should include a multivitamin with minerals (specific types of supplements are mentioned in the book) while ancillary items such as chromium, coenzyme Q10, omega-rich fish oil, magnesium and other minerals should be used when necessary. In addition, fat loss supplements such as green tea, pyruvate, CLA and others are discussed with relation to how they can be used to bolster weight and fat loss.
Fire Up Your Metabolism
This kind of metabolic spark is one that will leave you feeling like a lean mean machine. The book “Fire Up Your Metabolism”, written by Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos-Shames (better known in NYC as “The Nutrition Twins”) contains nine proven principles and over 200 tips to make your weight loss easier and permanent. As an aside, these nutritionists are contracted to NBC, work with the Discovery Channel, lecture all over and provide energy to those around them. Let’s just say that this is not your run-of-the-mill weight loss book, but rather bursting with the limitless energy that the Nutrition Twins are known for. Many researchers have theorized that the enormous weight gain that has been observed over the past forty or so years in our country is tied to the advancement of technology (therefore we move less and burn fewer calories), easier to make or eat foods (foods that you can eat within two minutes of opening the packaging), fast foods (can anyone say “drive-thru?”), and such factors as emotional or societal cues. To some degree, this book contains some of the same central hypothesis that weight can be managed by sparking and firing up the metabolic rate. Remember, this book also contains specific exercise routines, discussions regarding how to meal time, right size and train your body to be a firestorm — meaning that it can be in fat-burning mode more hours of the day than you have ever experienced before.
Diet Facts: The plan in this book can be outlined as follows, but should not be thought of as simple: 1) never skip meals, 2) eat at the right times, 3) choose a diet rich in the best carbohydrates, 4) appropriately time intake of lean proteins, 5) drink certain beverages at specific times, 6) eat a diet low in “bad” fat, 7) get enough sleep every night, 8) find surprising ways to stay active and 9) incorporate weight training in your exercise routine. Utilize these nine techniques and their in-depth aspects covered within this great book and you are well on your way to “thindom”.
Fire Up Your Metabolism Supplement Support: Since this book and diet are more geared toward boosting your metabolism, taking a high-powered metabolic booster such as Provadex is certain to significantly enhance your results. Other products or compounds that should serve to properly supplement this diet include whey protein isolate, L-theanine, a natural sleep support formula and a high potency Hoodia gordonii product for effective appetite suppression.
The Zone Diet
Barry Sears, Ph.D., introduced the Zone Diet to the world in the hugely popular book “Enter the Zone” in 1995. Also known as the 40/30/30 plan, the Zone Diet consists of 40% low-glycemic carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat per day. In the Zone philosophy, food is viewed as a drug that can be used to manipulate insulin levels. High or repeatedly spiked insulin levels throughout the day will lead to body-fat gain, while controlling those levels will lead to fat loss. There is key research to back up the premise of the Zone. One study revealed the 40/30/30 diet provides a greater anabolic response in the blood than a regular high-carb diet. Another out of Arizona State University found the 40/30/30 diet causes a greater amount of calories to be burned by the body after a meal. Coupled together, those studies show why people lose weight on the Zone Diet: It’s a combination of the thermogenic effect of the diet on the body, and greater control of insulin and anabolic amino acids in the blood, setting the table for a fat-burning environment. Of all of the diets reviewed herein, this is the one closest to the recent recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.
Diet Facts: On the Zone Diet, you eat mostly lean protein and natural carbohydrates such as fruit and fiber-rich vegetables. Grains such as breads, rice, pasta and cereals are off limits. You eat five times per day and never let more than five hours pass between a meal or snack. Every meal includes protein in a portion equal to the size of the palm of your hand, while carbohydrates are broken down into two categories, either favorable or unfavorable. If you eat favorable carbs, such as vegetables, you have two big fists worth (about 2 cups), and if you want an unfavorable one, such as pasta, you are limited to an amount equal to one fist. As for fat, Zoners are encouraged to add a few nuts, some olive oil or olives; if your protein source is high in fat (for example, salmon), you can skip the added fat. (Learn more at www.drsears.com or www.zoneperfect.com.)
Zone Diet Supplement Support: To augment the Zone Diet, a premium grade fish oil, for the omega-3 fatty oils, is recommended by Dr. Sears to help reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, especially since we do not get enough of these essential fatty acids in a normal diet. In addition, to really accelerate the results I recommend a KGM-90 based product for stimulant-free appetite reduction and an effective weight loss agent, also a high quality green tea extract to stimulate the metabolism. Also, since the Zone Diet encourages the consumption of lean protein sources, a whey protein isolate powder is almost essential and will dramatically assist with this diet.
Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Solution
By now, most of America is familiar with psychologist “Dr. Phil” McGraw. Starting with regular appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and now with his own syndicated television show, he has had a number of best-selling books along with his monthly column in Oprah magazine. His diet program is aimed more at those whose health is in danger from obesity rather than people with a few pounds to lose. The key to change (according to Dr. Phil), is a “willing spirit and an open mind”. To demonstrate, Dr. Phil recounts how for eight years, his work focused on people who were 100 or more pounds overweight. And that his methods of “getting real” resulted in an 80% success rate (weight that was lost was kept off), while he also states the national average for successful weight loss is 5% (thus, 95% failure rate). If you do the math, Dr. Phil is stating that his methods of using behavior change for weight loss is 16 times better than all other programs typically used for weight loss in the United States (80% success versus 5 percent success). When, why and what you eat (in other words, the theme of “choice”) are at the core of his diet.
Diet Facts: Dr. Phil’s 7 Keys to Permanent Weight Loss are the basis for his program, providing the steps necessary to change your lifestyle, eating habits, and tackle your “emotional eating” issues. In essence, unlike other books and programs that provide a specific diet, Dr. Phil’s program is more of a system of reformulating your habits, changing the way you respond to hunger and stress, and making smart food choices. Like most of the diets cited in this article, it is important to read the book to learn the full extent of his recommendations for optimum results. Generally, he espouses a high fiber, reduced calorie, moderate protein plan, which are usually the most successful ones for weight control. In short, the Dr. Phil diet is nothing special, but may help people who need guidance in staying focused and in being emotionally aware of their food-surroundings obtain control of their eating.
Dr. Phil’s Supplement Support: Dr. Phil highly recommends top quality meal replacements as a reasonable and nutritious alternative when busy schedules make it difficult to prepare a home-cooked meal. It should be noted that he does offer his own brand of meal replacement bars and shakes, though higher quality, more nutritious ones are available on this site. In addition, he also encourages the use of a green tea extract and fiber supplements, the two key ingredients in Tetrazene ES-50, to support this program, which he believes are of great assistance for weight loss.
The Hormone Revolution Weight-Loss Plan
The Hormone Revolution Weight-Loss Plan is a timely book written by two veterans in the diet wars, Dr. Karlis Ullis and Joshua Shackman, PhD. One of the tenets of this book is that meal timing is essential for manipulating your hormones so that your body burns fat rather than muscle for energy.
By incorporating the tips in the book, the authors promise that you will also be able to control your metabolism and appetite, which would result in weight management.
We all know that how we live our life also affects the ability to manage weight, therefore stress, medication use, sleep, energy and libido can also be indicators of “markers” that will need to be dealt with in order to achieve weight loss success. This book contains tips and guidance for all such conditions and contingencies. For an overview, the book has chapters on 1) fat-burning hormones 2) exercise plans 3) eating plans 4) supplement plans 5) how to monitor success 6) lifestyle and aging issues 7) how to create your own personalized plan, along with many supportive appendices and information resources for the reader. All of these, coupled with the other chapters within The Hormone Revolution Weight-Loss Plan are great guides to helping anyone who wants to lose weight and take a new approach to life.
Diet Facts: Many of the popular diets of today ask people to focus on the types of carbohydrates or fats they eat in order to control how insulin or glucagons are secreted and controlled in the body, but this book goes a step further and also discusses the importance of using insulin and growth hormone to your advantage to maximize fat-burning.
The Hormone Revolution Weight-Loss Plan Supplement Support: Drs. Ullis and Shackman note that a multivitamin with minerals, essential fatty acids, hormone supplements (note: currently only DHEA is available as a hormone bolstering supplement), creatine, phospatidylserine, and thermogenics (such as green tea extract) may all be fair game in the search and fight for reducing body fat while enhancing lean body mass (muscle).
Top Compounds for Weight Loss
KGM-90 is the trademarked name for the purest, highest potency, premium-grade extract of a specific form of the herb Konjac glucomannan (KGM). KGM has been subjected to several major clinical studies, all of which resulted in very impressive results. With this much research behind it, it’s no wonder KGM-based supplements are quickly becoming the most popular weight-loss products on the market. In a month-long clinical study, subjects who took KGM without dieting lost nearly eight times more weight than those taking a placebo. In the same study, other KGM subjects on a low calorie diet lost 13 times more weight than the placebo group on the same diet.
In another major study, KGM subjects consuming 2,000 calories per day were compared to a control group consuming 1,200 calories per day. The non-dieting KGM group lost an average of 10.4 pounds in one month, compared to 10.7 pounds for the control group. Amazingly, the KGM group actually ate 800 more calories per day than the control group and lost roughly the same amount of weight.
In short, KGM acts as a powerful weight management supplement, helps reduce appetite, enhances a low carb diet and helps to keep cholesterol in check. It even appears that KGM can be used with or without any of the diets reviewed in this article. It is important to note here that most KGM products are a little more than 60% functional extract, and many inferior brands use less than 40%. The difference in effectiveness between the first-in-class, premium-grade KGM-90 and low-grade KGM is like night and day. Obviously then, for best results, be sure to choose a product that contains KGM-90 (found in Tetrazene ES-50 and KGM- 90) rather than the inferior potency.
Common Dose: Follow label instructions.
Preliminary research has suggested that the natural steroidal glycoside molecule “P57″ found in the plant has similar effects on nerve cells as glucose, causing the brain to help register a sensation of fullness. In addition, it also supports blood glucose levels. This is significant because lowering of blood glucose itself is important for controlling body fat and weight. When blood glucose drops, the body releases fat-destroying hormones and suppresses the energy-storing insulin. Altogether, this creates a natural environment for weight loss.
Ultimately, supplementation with hoodia has been shown to help produce a reduced interest in food and a delay in the time before hunger sets in again. Many users have reported dramatic reductions in calorie intake, making hoodia one of the most remarkable weight-control technologies now available. Again, it is vitally important to choose a high-quality extract of Hoodia gordonii to ensure optimum results.
5-Dexe-triamine HCL is an amazing new thermogenic technology that provides powerful metabolism-enhancing properties and boosts in energy. 5-Dexe-triamine HCL works by boosting the body’s thermogenic norepinephrine levels, increasing cellular cAMP and upregulating mental and physical performance-enhancing neurotransmitters. It also acts as an effective antioxidant and mood enhancer.
Science has long recognized the powerful brain neurotransmitter norepinephrine as being the key to increased energy and focus. 5-Dexe-triamine works to quickly boost those levels and subsequently produce a remarkable stimulant effect, without the jitters and nervousness of outdated products.
Altogether, this innovative compound helps promote dramatic increases in energy, mental clarity and performance, while also enhancing your metabolism. As a result, 5-Dexe-triamine is quickly becoming one of the most popular and preferred compounds of its kind.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) has been shown in many studies to induce weight loss. In fact, in a metabolic study, green tea extract, when combined with naturally occurring caffeine, was found to dramatically increase 24-hour energy expenditure by the body while enhancing the amount of fat that was burned for energy. A follow-up study found that green tea extract containing naturally-occurring caffeine led to a 4.6% reduction in bodyweight among subjects and an average reduction of more than 4% in waist circumference. Other clinical trials with green tea (human and animal) have found it can reduce or inhibit gastric lipases by about 37%, which means it may help reduce fat absorption from foods. The metabolism-enhancing effects, coupled with the increase in fat oxidation and reduction in absorption of dietary fat, may make green tea extract an ideal supplement for weight loss. Here again, there is a great disparity in the quality of green tea extracts. For maximum results, be sure to choose one that is standardized for epigallocatechin gallate polyphenols.
Common Dose: Follow label instructions.
Research demonstrates that caffeine has thermogenic and performance-enhancing properties. It stimulates the central nervous system and heightens awareness and alertness. As a stimulant, caffeine intake imparts the release of epinephrine (a catecholamine) from the adrenal glands which, when circulating through the body, enhances the body’s metabolic rate, the utilization of fat for energy, and muscle contractions.
Caffeine use is supported by numerous studies. In one study out of Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, those who took 20mg of caffeine and 10mg of ephedrine burned approximately two more calories per minute than those who took a placebo. Over 45 minutes, this translates into 90 extra calories burned without exercise or dieting. Expending an extra 90 calories a day may translate into a little over nine pounds of weight loss in a year without changing any of your current habits. In terms of caffeine’s effects on exercise, many studies have demonstrated that caffeine helps increase endurance during moderate-intensity cardio.
Common Dose: The typical dose used to elicit a thermogenic response ranges from 100 to 330 mg.
A Final Word
The dietary supplement weight loss market is huge, with many products to choose from. In fact, there are so many supplements sold for weight loss it is hard for almost anyone to decipher just what products may work and which ones are just plain old bottles of false hope. We have all heard of and perhaps tried some of these products with the hope of leaning out a bit, but–how do you tell which products are worth your time and hard-earned dollars? The question, while on face value seems to be straightforward, does not have such an easy answer. Sure, there are plenty of advertisements, commercials and endorsed products. But what about research? For many consumers and health professionals, one way to feel more comfortable taking any product is knowing that the ingredients in the product have been tested in a clinical setting or if the product itself has undergone the scrutiny of research. Fortunately, in addition to an incredible array of articles, research and information, this website calls out the higher quality, most beneficial and researched products available to help make your buying decision a more economical and rewarding experience.
By Michael Berg
In an exclusive interview with ProSource, Sylvester Stallone opens up about life, fitness, creating a world-class supplement company, and reprising his most famous movie role as he works on a long-awaited sequel.
It’s a name synonymous with an innate desire to be the best, training your heart out, and ultimately overcoming all odds to emerge victorious. He’s a creation so real, so meaningful to men everywhere, that indeed, he has transcended his celluloid form to become a living, breathing part of American culture.
In the eyes of millions, Rocky has been a true inspiration. It could be argued that this simple character, born from the imagination of a struggling actor in the early 1970s, has done more for the worldwide fitness movement than any other singular force.
Just think of how many people have felt their adrenaline surge at the first notes of “Gonna Fly Now,” have risen pre-dawn to don their sweats and hit the city streets running, or have even gulped a glass of raw eggs, turning a film into a life-changing event, adopting a fitness lifestyle as their own. What other movie has moved and motivated so many to action?
And for the person who created this legendary figure, the time has come to lace up the gloves and step through the ropes one more time, to prove to all of us, and to prove to himself, that the dream embodied by Rocky still lives on, no matter what your age. Over the past few months, Sylvester Stallone returned to the streets of Philadelphia to film the sixth installment of the ultra-successful franchise. In the movie, written and directed by Sly himself, a widowed and older Rocky comes out of retirement for some lower-tier bouts when the opportunity to fight reigning heavyweight champ Mason “The Line” Dixon, played by top pro boxer Antonio Tarver, arises.
Reprising the role of the beloved brawler, Stallone is in nothing short of amazing shape — cut, muscular and strong, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact he’s entering his sixth decade. Sly’s a marvel, and stands as living proof of what fitness can do for anyone who takes their health and vitality seriously.
The Big Break
Stallone’s muscular quest was launched long before Balboa. “I got my inspiration to pursue exercise and nutrition when I saw (1947 Mr. America and 1950 Mr. Universe) Steve Reeves in Hercules,” he recalls. “I was only 13 years old, but was in awe of films such as Hercules Unchained, Goliath and the Barbarians and The Thief of Baghdad.”
That prompted the youngster to cobble together a five-day-per-week workout strategy that was primitive, but set the stage for the physical transformation to come. “My first programs were unorganized, since I was still learning how each body part integrated with the others,” he says. “I was dedicated, though, and most of my workouts involved bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, pull-ups, deep knee bends and running. Looking back, I was overtraining my body, but at times undertraining each body part.”
His exercise habit continued into his early 20s as he also attempted to break into acting, earning small parts and holding odd jobs along the way to make ends meet. The embryonic nature of the supplement industry at that point in time, coupled with his lack of cash flow, led to some dubious choices in products to augment his diet — “Brag Liquid Amino Acids, brewer’s yeast, lecithin granules and kelp tablets,” he recounts, to name a few. He didn’t know it yet, but those days would plant a seed in his mind that would result in a bold and ultimately lucrative business decision later in life.
In 1975 came the lightning bolt, the decision that would prove to be the genesis of one of the biggest careers in movie history, a move that would elevate Stallone in a few years to the top of the food chain in Hollywood. Fresh off his first acting break, a lead role in The Lords of Flatbush, Stallone relocated from New York to Los Angeles, where he penned a script (literally, writing it all in longhand) about a down-and-out fighter who gets one shot at glory and takes it for everything he can: Rocky. But he shopped it around with one non-negotiable caveat — he would play the lead role.
He got his wish. Released November 21, 1976, it was a huge hit, eventually earning $117,235,247 in the U.S. and earning the Academy Award for “Best Picture.” Many more blockbusters would follow over the next quarter century, from First Blood and its two sequels to Tango & Cash, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man, Daylight and Cop Land.
In the original Rocky, Stallone had a physique that showed he knew his way around a gym, but his bodybuilderesque transformation was in full view for the world to see in Rocky III. Noticeably more brawny and chiseled to the bone, Stallone had ramped up his workouts in an effort to achieve his awe-inspiring condition. However, even he admits now that he didn’t quite go about it the right way. “I lived on around 200-300 calories per day, or basically until I almost fainted,” he says. “Foolish, I now know, but this is how I learned how to “switch” into get-lean mode, a process I can now use at will.”
Stallone has learned a lot since then, and now his meticulous and scientific method of lifting, eating and supplementing has helped him build and maintain a body better than most men half his age. His explorations for the best nutrition possible even spurred him to start his own supplement company, Instone Nutrition, in 2004. In preparation for Rocky Balboa, which began filming in December 2005, he undertook an unorthodox but effective regimen, working out Monday, Wednesday and Friday, alternating upper- and lower-body routines, employing a low-rep/high-tension approach. “I’m doing two movements per body part, doing 5-6 reps per set,” he explains. “Since I’m doing cardio — sparring — 5-6 days per week, I eliminated the high-rep sets I normally do.” Maintaining a steady, strong tension through each rep, the lower rep schemes are more than enough to thoroughly blast his muscles, breaking them down and leaving them fully able to absorb the nutritional intake to follow.
“In the mid 1990s I discovered meal replacements,” he says. “Back in those days, MET-Rx and Myoplex were really leading edge and allowed me to go into get-lean mode without losing all my muscle. At the time, these packets were like a miracle, especially since most average people didn’t even know they existed. I know it’s selfish, but this is why I wanted Instone to make our signature product a meal replacement. I knew it needed to be a quantum leap beyond those meal replacements of yesteryear because we now have better knowledge of nutrition, and most of all, I wanted the product to use personally.”
Stallone tips his hat to those who showed him the way in designing his effective formulation. “I want to emphasize that in my experience, it is bodybuilders who made an art out of dieting to become super lean years ago — these athletes taught me that you need more protein and quality fats in your diet when calories decrease or you’ll eventually become a smaller and weaker version of what you were, at best! This was a major focus in formulating Intake Performance.”
When Stallone started the leaning-out process for Rocky Balboa, he turned to his own products to make the difference in his diet, and they did. “I just added two Intake Performance shakes per day to the one I already have for breakfast, for three per day total, with oatmeal in the morning and fish for dinner,” he says. “In the process, I save time, and have even more muscle and energy than I did 10 years ago. Believe me, this movie is a killer when you consider I spar and do the choreography with a real light heavyweight champ in Antonio Tarver.”
As with his entire line, from Forza-T, a testosterone booster, to Leanfire, a fat-shedding aid, and all the excellent supplements in between, Sly didn’t just want a copycat version of other products already on the market when it came to his MRP. He wanted something that could come as close to a healthy meal as possible, yet still taste fantastic. To fill the gaps he found in competitors’ formulas, he hand-selected a number of critical ingredients. “Clarinol CLA was added due to its tremendous scientific backing as it relates to fat loss. Fiber was included to slow digestion and allow for an even disbursement of nutrients. The custom and proprietary enzyme blend, a truly unique part of this MRP, aids in the digestion and absorption of the nutrients, specifically the high-quality protein. We also add glutamine to aid the body in repairing itself after strenuous workouts — and so on. No other MRP on the market contains all of these in our precise ratios.”
With Rocky Balboa set to wrap filming — it’s slated for worldwide theatrical release in 2007 — and work on his next movie, the fourth in the Rambo series, to start soon, Stallone shows no signs of slowing down. While his motion pictures are sure to continue inspiring millions to take hold of their life and make fitness a priority, he hopes his example, his guidance, and his Instone supplements can help those fans fulfill their goals.
To those who are undertaking a training program for the first time, he offers these words of advice. “Stick with the basics,” Stallone states. “Too many people complicate the situation from the onset. Develop a good workout emphasizing the core. Supplementation (to start) should be limited to an MRP, fat burner and/or a creatine product. Diet has to play a key role, or true success will never be achieved.”
If you’ve been at it awhile, with no appreciable results of late, he recommends a philosophical approach. “Evaluate the situation — why aren’t you making gains? Are you stuck in a rut? Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Switch it up and find out what works for you.”
And to one final question, he provides a very straightforward answer, but one that speaks deeply of how close to his heart his physical pursuits lie. Summing up what working out regularly has meant to his life and career, he pauses, then says, “In a word– everything.”
|Sylvester Stallone’s Get-Lean Diet
“My best diets are based on bland and repetitive meals, with no frills or foods that cause overeating,” Stallone says. He eats every 3-4 hours, especially important during 16-hour workdays he has on the set of Rocky Balboa.
|Meal 1||Whole-grain rye toast, dry or Small bowl of oatmeal||Intake Performance shake|
|Meal 2||Dry tuna with mustard and spices
One slice rye toast
|Meal 3||Fruit slices||Intake Performance shake|
|Meal 4||Grilled salmon
|Meal 5||2 handfuls of raw almonds
1 serving of Fiber One cereal
|Intake Performance shake
|Meal 6||Seasonal fruit or
|Stallone High Protein
|TOTALS: 2,500 calories, consisting of 50% protein, 25% carbohydrates and 25% essential fats.Additional Supplementation:
Before Meal 1: 8 Instone Intensity capsules; 1-2 Instone Leanfire Inferno capsules with black coffeeAfter Training Sessions: 3-4 Instone Reloaded capsulesDaily: 5-10 grams glutamine; 12 grams of essential fatty acids; 3 grams of sesamin oil; 2 multivitamin/multimineral tablets; 120 ounces of Glacia Nova water; 1/2 aspirin; 1-2 packets of Emergen-CAt Night: 6-8 Forza-T capsules