A popular new weight loss supplement has been gaining a lot of attention. Collagen protein is promised (by those who sell it) to beautify skin, improve joints, and cause effortless weight loss. Are these claims true?
What Is Collagen Protein?
For the most part, your entire body is held together by collagen protein. It is a protein present in nearly every part of your system, from your muscles to your hair. Collagen is what keeps your skin taut, your hair shiny, and metabolism healthy enough to burn fat. However, this protein begins to diminish as you age, bringing on all the side-effects of maturity, plumpness, saggy skin and aching joints. Collagen-based supplements advertise that they can reduce or even reverse these affects.
How It Works
Collagen supplements do not burn fat. Instead, they claim to build muscle. The theory is, if collagen protein nourishes muscles, those nourished muscles will use the excess calories in your body for substance. This in turn speeds up your metabolism. This is the way they support the claim that their supplements allow you to "burn fat while you sleep." Another bonus effect that collagen supplements advertise is "figure reshaping." This again is connected to collagen's affect on keeping muscles and skin cells plump and taut. They claim this contributes to the appearance of a firmer, shapelier body.
Empty Stomach Promotes the Real Weight Loss
Most collagen based weight loss supplement have one thing in common. They say the supplements must be taken before bed, on an empty stomach (no eating up to three hours before bed). Many people who overeat do it regularly during this particular time period of the day. The food consumed at this late hour has less chance to be burned off by the day's activities, thus, leading to excess weight gain.
Even if collagen pills had no noticeable benefits, the eating restriction would produce a small weight loss all by itself. Also, in many products the collagen is combined with Aloe Vera. When taken internally, Aloe Vera is a mild diuretic. Flushing out more of your body's water will contribute to the appearance of weight loss.
Lack of Evidence
There is not a lot of scientific evidence to back up these product's weight loss claims. There are questions as to whether or not collagen in pill form is even absorbed by the body in a way that is useful. Most scientific tests done on the effects of collagen were performed with chicken collagen, which is not the kind used in most supplements. Some people do report a noticeable improvement when taking the supplement. However, this could be the result of eating less to take the pills, as mentioned above.
The best way to lose weight remains the simple formula of eating less and exercising. Though it is possible collagen protein supplements might have a mild affect on weight loss and improved appearance, these claims are as of yet unproven. It is more likely the habits you pick up while taking the pills are the real cause of any change you experience.