Popular Herb Won't Burn Fat
Ephedra (ma huang), the herbal extract, breaks down into ephedrine and ephedrine alkaloids, central nervous system stimulants. Ephedrine has a lipolytic effect -- that is, it may cause more fat to be released from the fat cell -- but it does not safely burn extra fat, Tackett says.
He says the herb accelerates the heart rate, which increases blood pressure. The herb also can interfere with the normal rhythm of the heart and cause stroke, especially in women.
Do we really need help from a pill to lose weight? Oregon Health Sciences University studied three groups of people 20 to 50 pounds overweight. One group took weight-loss drugs, but did not exercise or change diet. The second group combined diet and exercise, but took no drugs. The third went on an exercise program only.
The exercise-only group lost the most weight. And it was the only group that hadn't regained the weight a year later.
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