Dr Wafaa Ayesh Image Credit: Supplied

Weight-loss supplements may work in three ways: one is by helping the body to break down body fat. The second action of these supplements is to suppress appetite, which is a complex process. The human body’s instinct is to survive, and once appetite suppressants are stopped, people become hungry. The third way weight-loss supplements may work is by preventing the body from absorbing fat during digestion. Fat blockers don’t work if a person isn’t consuming fat in his or her diet. They also won’t prevent weight gain if a person is overeating protein or carbohydrates.

Often, weight-loss supplements contain more than one substance to generate weight loss from more than one angle. Some of those substances could have adverse side effects. It’s a very complex process and most of the time it will leave you more desperate, especially because you don’t see the desired results easily or as expected.

As I’ve said a couple of times before, there is really no safe short cut or quick fix to losing weight, no matter how convincing the product appears to be. To lose weight and burn fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume and that can happen only though a proper diet plan and exercise. And fat burners, despite the hype, do not work as promoted.

I get upset when I see women around me with flat bellies. I try hard, but all my efforts seem futile. Help!

To be very honest it simply is not possible for every human being to have a stomach as flat as some of the models we see in magazines, on the internet and just about everywhere. It is a fact that a really flat stomach may not be in your genes.

Research has proved that among many other physical traits, a person’s genetic make-up determines the shape of internal organs such as stomach, intestines, liver and kidneys. And the shapes and sizes of these organs may or may not contribute to a slight bulge in a person’s stomach. Another aspect that genetics control is body fat distribution. Your body may naturally store more fat around your waist than in other areas.

If you follow a proper technique, crunches can be very effective in strengthening your core and the lower back, but an ab workout alone will not burn fat of the stomach region specifically. You should try physical activities that work a range of muscle groups as well as some cardiovascular exercises. Also examine your eating plan.

And finally, keep in mind that a flat stomach does not really determine beauty or good health. Eating healthy, being active, and accepting your body’s natural shape and size will make you feel good about yourself.