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The new SLIMMING SHORTCUTS; Pills, potions, gums and smoothies... there's been a deluge of products promising to help us lose pounds faster, but which ones impressed our desperate dieters?

THE FAT BLOCKER XLS-Medical, pounds 25.99 for 10 days The claim: Reduces fat absorption from food by up to 27%. An ingredient called ultramine binds to the fat, making the cells too big for the body to absorb, so they pass through the body and come out... yes, that way.

Our dieter says: 'I've always been suspicious of fat-binding pills: 1) they seem too good to be true and 2) I live in fear of the side effects. Having heard horror stories of 'anal leakage' from prescription diet pills, I only took these on the assurance they wouldn't bring any such disruption. I'm happy to say they didn't. What I was even more amazed by is they actually worked. I popped two a day after breakfast, lunch and dinner and lost a few pounds easily. I went away to holiday, armed with pills, and managed to avoid my customary half-stone weight gain. Highly recommended.' DIET HELP RATING 9/10 THE ANTI-SNACK LA Tone SlimGum, pounds 2.99 for 10 pieces The claim: Chew up to four minty gums a day to suppress appetite and boost metabolism. There's green coffee to burn fat, L-carnitine to boost metabolism, chromium to burn carbs and green tea to reduce fat absorption.

Our dieter says: 'This gum tastes pretty nice - it has a hard shell like a Softmint and holds its flavour well. Chewing three of these a day made me a bit wired, so I wouldn't do four. Was my appetite suppressed? Well, no. I could still eat for England but chewing the gum did distract me from snacking and the mintiness stopped me reaching for a latte. I've not lost weight any faster than normal but I do think this has made it slightly easier to stay on track.' DIET HELP RATING 7/10 THE EMOTIONAL HELPER Les Fleurs de Bach Slimness Elixir, pounds 7.95 The claim: Balance your emotions, regain inner peace - and from that, get thinner. This is a blend of seven flower essences designed to master your food obsessions.

Our dieter says: 'Food obsessions? That's me - I'm obsessed with everything. Especially mayonnaise thickly slapped on crusty bread until it oozes out onto the breadboard. Erm, can you tell I'm still a little obsessed, here? This didn't make my cravings any less real, I still want mayo with everything, but I liked what it did to my thought process. That is: crave mayo; take elixir; think about how annoying diet has been so far; manage not to open the fridge.' DIET HELP RATING 6/10 THE BODY CLOCK PILL TurboSlim Chronoactiv, pounds 29.95 for a 2-week supply The claim: Two pills work with your body clock to aid slimming in different ways at different times. There's a day pill with green coffee for curbing cravings and boosting metabolism, and an evening pill to prevent fat storage overnight.

Our dieter says: 'I didn't feel any different taking these pills: no jitters and (boo) no change in my appetite. You have to be good at remembering to take them at the right time (I set a reminder on my phone). I took them during a fortnight when I was being fairly healthy but struggling to cut calories enough to expect weight loss. So I was pretty pleased to find I was 2lb lighter at the end. I can only think that these pills helped.' DIET HELP RATING 7/10 THE SLIMMING SMOOTHIE Skinny Sprinkles, pounds 29.95 for 21 sachets (a seven-day supply) The claim: These powder sachets are mixed with water to form a 20-calorie strawberry flavour smoothie. The key ingredient, glucomannan, holds 200 times its own weight in water, so it swells inside your stomach. You drink a smoothie before meals to help you feel fuller faster.

Our dieter says: 'The packaging is all kitsch pink polka dots and vintage pin-up girls - I felt like Katy Perry on a diet. To call the drink itself a "strawberry smoothie" is pushing it but it didn't taste unpleasant. It's loaded with caffeine so, as a non-coffee drinker, I was soon buzzing like a 50s housewife on amphetamines and for that reason I wouldn't want to take it for too long. I have to admit though, I ate less and felt fuller faster. As a one-week diet turbo boost, it did the trick.' DIET HELP RATING 8/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2012
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