|Hoodia Believe? Dietary Supplements
By Jayson D. Kroner
Unless you've made your home in some remote cave off the coast of a nameless third world island, you've probably heard a thing or two about dietary supplements. Who hasn't? Between the television, radio and magazines, it's literally impossible to escape their influence in today's fat-fearing society.
What's difficult, however, is putting one's finger on exactly where and when they took origin. While conventional vitamins and dietary supplement have been available to the public for decades, determining the origin of weight loss products is a much taller order.
Disco era products such as Dexatrim® and Slim Fast® were among the pioneers. By using mild OTC chemicals that provided a stimulant like effect, would-be dieters were finally able to find the motivation they needed to keep their scales from tipping at frightening speeds.
But today's dieter is different. They're smarter, technologically savvy and armed with 150 television stations teeming with infomercials, designer drugs and anorexic spokes- models. And yes, we have, in some regards, become victims of information overload. Still, no one with a mind and a bulging gut can ignore the fact that they exist.
And it seems to be working. In 2003, consumers spent approximately 4.2 billion dollars trying to lose weight. Which is ironic, because stock of nearly every major fast food chain, save a few, saw skyrocketing profits. At the end of the day, it's this same schizophrenic pattern of eater's remorse that continually blurs the gap between bulging waistlines and a powerful urge to look great at the beach.
And make no mistake - there are a lot of choices out there. So many in fact, that it's become next to impossible to determine which of the hundreds to choose. But among the sea of weight loss supplements, one is making a lot of waves these days.
Last November, CBS' 60 Minutes took a trip to Africa to investigate rumors about a remarkably powerful appetite suppressing plant with a remarkably peculiar name - Hoodia. How they learned of it is inconsequential, but what remains important is that they learned of it. Because when it comes to willpower, Hoodia is no joke.
Prepare yourself - the day of Hoodia has dawned.
Hoodia Gordonii is a small perennial cactus-like plant native to various regions of Africa, and a member of the Asclepiadaceae botanical family. Its use dates back centuries, and can be attributed to the indigenous San tribes. And long before we we're amassed in Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons and Weight Watchers, the San tribe was feeding on this small cactus-like shrub. Their intentions, however, were much more innocent.
As legend has it, the San tribes consumed Hoodia in order to endure their hunting expeditions. Lasting weeks and months at a time, it was crucial that they could avoid succumbing to the caloric challenges that plagued their competition, so to speak. Think about it. This is Africa we're talking about. Blazing heat. The constant threat of attack. Mile after barefoot mile of hiking across treacherous terrain filled with animals who could care less about managing hunger. Still, the San were able to accomplish all this without having to stop as often. Very interesting.
Based on the experience of the San, coupled by Hoodia's rich composition of steroidal glycosides, antioxidants, fiber and other organic materials, it didn't take long for Hoodia to raise the eyebrows of many health professionals and researchers. And why wouldn't it? After all, it's been estimated that one out of every three Americans is obese. This is not a statistic. This is an epidemic.
Fast forwarding, Hoodia eventually found its way into the laboratory. But despite science's ongoing quest to determine why Hoodia seems to alter the way that people stare at large plates of food, there's certainly no shortage of people taking full and absolute responsibility for it.
Some of the earliest companies responsible for introducing Hoodia to the public have been battling for the right to market it exclusively. They've gone as far as to say that only "theirs" works, and that competing brands are selling inferior products. Don't believe it.
There are 16 species of the Hoodia plant. Of those, one in particular has shown increasing promise - Hoodia Gordonii. It's relatively inexpensive, has no apparent side effects and won't keep you up all night shaking under the sheets.
Reaching your dietary objectives requires many things. Among them, discipline, willpower and mastering the lost art of moderation are essential. Hoodia Gordonii, especially the Hoodia provided by respected, GMP, science based manufacturers just might be able to help you take better control over how you eat.
It makes you wonder what else the San's been holding out on.
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