Supplements: Are they effective?

I begin with high skepticism for one simple reason. If all the many weight loss pills available lived up to their claims why then is the American obesity rate at more than 35 percent and still going up? But that said, and in fairness, let’s look at the top four.

  1. Garcinia Cambogia Extract made popular by the Dr. Oz show in 2012. Some animal studies claimed to show that hydroxycitric acid found in the Garcinia Cambogia fruit inhibits a fat producing enzyme and also increases levels of serotonin which may reduce cravings. However, one study of 130 people showed no weight loss. In another study the results were minimal, about 2 pounds over several weeks.
  2. Hydroxycut has been around for over a decade. Plenty of folks use or have used it but there is no dependable data or studies to support its claim of effectiveness in weight loss.
  3. Caffeine. Yep drink several cups of coffee, eat plenty of dark chocolate or consume green tea and the weight will just melt away. There is indeed some evidence that caffeine can cause some modest weight loss in some people but it can also cause diarrhea, nausea and irritability. A tiny benefit at a significant cost in negative effects.
  4. Orlistat aka Alli. This does seem to have some modest benefit with 11 different studies finding that people taking Orlistat did lose an average of 6 pounds. But it has also been determined that folks simply switching to a low carb diet produced the same results without the pill.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables, like cucumbers, and low in carbohydrates , plus exercise, is a sure fire way to lose weight (Wikipedia)

There are, of course several others but the results tend to follow the top four. At best they may and I emphasize MAY produce some positive effect and they MAY aid in weight loss but often with at least some negative side effects. And then consider this.

On the package of every single weight loss pill I have ever seen you will find words printed on the packages that basically say: “When taken together with proper diet and exercise MAY result in weight loss” or some similar language with the same message. That message is, of course, if you begin consuming good and healthy food, heavily plant based and get a reasonable amount of exercise you will most likely lose weight with or without your weight loss pill.

So does this mean that all weight loss pills are essentially useless? Well not entirely because the mere fact that you are taking them means that you have come to understand that you do need to lose some weight and that fact alone gives them some value. But now that you know what the problem is, too much weight, let’s focus on the one proven solution, which is to eat better and exercise more. Doing that will not only yield better and more lasting results but will also eliminate any negative side effects and save you a lot of money.

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Top photo: Flickr