Nutrition Articles

Weight Loss Supplements: Fact or Fiction?

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Starch Blockers
  • White Bean Extract, White Kidney Bean Extract, Green Tea Extract, Chlorogenic Acid from Coffee, Banaba Extract, Phaseolus Vulgaris, Natural Bean Extract (Examples: Carb Blocker Triple Action, CarboGetic, Carbo Grabbers, Carb Shuttle, CarboVal, Extreme Carb Blocker, Maximum Strength Phase 2 Carb Blocker, Now Phase 2 Carb Blocker, Starch Blocker Plus, UltraCarb, Xenadrine CarboCurb):
    These products claim to prevent the digestion and neutralization of sugar and carbohydrates, therefore reducing the calories available to the body. The undigested carbohydrates are carried to the intestine for elimination. These claims lack scientific research and are false and misleading.
Stress, Craving, and Appetite Controllers
  • Hoodia Gordonii: For years the South African San bush people have used the succulent plant, Hoodia gordonii, to stave off hunger during long hunts.  A few preliminary and unpublished research studies indicate that there may be some type of appetite-suppressing mechanism from a molecule in Hoodia called P57. This molecule supposedly affects the hypothalamus of the brain to reduce appetite. Now this plant from the Kalahari Desert is being imported and made into Hoodia pills, tablets and capsules to supposedly help with hunger control for those trying to lose weight. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support these claims regarding appetite control and weight loss. For now, more evidence is needed to determine if Hoodia is effective for any clinical condition.   Beyond that, there is plenty of fake Hoodia on the market.   News reports suggest that some Hoodia products don't even contain any actual Hoodia.
      
  • Magnolia Bark, Korean Ginseng, Chromium Picolinate, and Chitosan (Examples: CarboGetic, CarboVal, Maximum Strength Phase 2 Carb Blocker, Miracle Tab, Now Chitosan with Chromium):
    These ingredients claim to suppress appetite, reduce stress-induced cravings, and normalize cravings overall. No competent and reliable scientific evidence exists to support these claims.
     
  • Cortisol Control (Examples: CortiSlim, CortiStress, Cortisol Stress Test):
    Cortisol is also called the “stress hormone.” These claims suggest that a persistently elevated cortisol level is the underlying cause of weight gain and weight retention. The supplements further claim to eliminate cravings for certain foods (including sweets and carbohydrates), control appetite, ease eating due to stress, burn calories efficiently, and therefore result in weight loss. While cortisol levels can be a factor, these “control” claims are not supported by documented scientific research. They are considered false, misleading, and deceptive.
Body Composition Regulators
  • Chromium Picolinate and Garcinia Cambogia (Example: Turbo Tone):
    These claim to significantly improve body composition and fat loss, particularly in individuals who may not be as aggressive in making lifestyle changes. These claims lack scientific substantiation, making them false and misleading.
Caffeine Boosters
  • Mate, Yerba Mate, Jesuit’s Tea, Paraguay Tea, Black Tea, Cocoa, Coffee, Cola Nut, Green Tea, Guarana (Examples: Metabolife, Stacker Two):
    The caffeine contained in these products is a stimulant, which raises blood pressure and has diuretic effects. Chronic use of caffeine can produce tolerance and psychological dependency as well. Caffeine was often combined with ephedra (which was removed from the market in the U.S.) for weight loss.
Topical Fat Loss Gel and Cream Ingredients
  • Leptoprin and Anorex (Examples: Cutting Gel, Dermalin, Tummy Flattening Gel):
    These products claim to promote a rapid and visible fat loss on the areas of the body where they are applied. These are false, unsubstantiated claims, without any scientific research.
Weight loss "cures" come and go. Information on weight loss products is available from many different sources, including the organizations below. Before wasting your money, find out if the claims are fact or phony.

Information in the article was obtained from the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-FTC-HELP), US Pharmacopeia (1-800-822-8772), and Consumerlab.com (1-914-722-9149).
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • STEVANMCGRATH
    There is a huge market of diet supplements. You have many difficulties in choosing one that is good for your health and can really help lose weight. I had read many product reviews that contain Garcinia Cambogia. It claims to suppress appetite and improve fat metabolism. The following link will guide to towards the best diet pills http://consumerhe
    althdigest.co
    m/weight-loss
    -reviews/ - 9/15/2014 6:59:29 AM
  • EX-SKINNY60
    MINDY681 on 3/14/2013 asked if anyone out there has tried SENSA. No one answered her. I have not tried it yet, but I admit that I am tempted. Out of all you dieters can this SENSA REALLY work? The cost for it is like $89-plus. I think about it a lot when my appetite gets the better of me. - 10/30/2013 3:44:44 AM
  • MARYJUNE206
    Still it is best to stick to the basics and natural. These diet pills may be effective but not for long. Although there are some that are natural like Insane Amp'd. It worked with proper diet and exercise. - 9/30/2013 6:38:05 PM
  • We as a society want a fast solution that doesn't require work - no dieting, no exercise, just a quick solution to weight loss. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. Taking a so called weight loss supplement does nothing to help us understand the reason behind our overeating, and many people who take these just end up gaining the weight back. And the health ramifications of some of these dangerous supplements just aren't worth it. - 9/17/2013 12:57:17 PM
  • MARYJUNE206
    This is a handy article. There are a lot of diet supplements out there that it is very overwhelming to choose which ones are good, fitting, and can really help lose weight.

    As a health buff myself, I am scared to try these supplement pills but then there are healthy/natural supplements that came to market and I was really anxious to know if this can work without any harsh side effects.

    I tried Bella Amp. The first pill supplement I used and I wish I have known/read this article so I would perfectly understand well the insane amp'd diet pills side effects before even trying one.

    Again, thanks for the share. - 8/30/2013 3:11:45 PM
  • They put all these things out there to see how fast they can draw peoples to buy them. I don't like taking the pills the doctor give me. So I know what they have out there forget it. - 5/3/2013 4:29:46 PM
  • I enjoyed reading this! Please do a follow up with all the new ones you see out there :) - 5/3/2013 8:53:05 AM
  • Becky you really do a great job on researching these types of articles.. - 3/20/2013 9:26:42 PM
  • Has anyone lost weight on SENSA a diet product out there - 3/14/2013 10:23:41 AM
  • I am very glad I read this, I am not a huge believer in the "diet pills" but I do take some supplements. and I am glad that the one I take they said they did fot find to be hurtful
    I have take CLA I think it has helped I still work out and eat right which is the number one thing to help with weight loss
    - 9/26/2012 2:38:36 PM
  • I agree these remedies are misleading and just a tactic to get money (as is most any other product on tv) However to say that any one of them is false, misleading and deceptive simply because it lacks scientific substantiation is a almost as bad as the vendors saying it works without the scientific substantiation. It would be better said that substantial research has not been made to determine the extent of the effects of the product.

    Every prescribed medication, antibiotic, immunization or any other treatment, including Cancer treatments, started out without scientific substantiation yet they were not false and continue to be used until they are proven otherwise. (Yes i know there are others out there that do not trust those remedies either)

    Let me just state, I think it is dangerous to to take anything without proper research. And I don't endorse any of these product or believe that they work. - 7/28/2012 11:24:42 AM
  • ive been on Phentermine 37.5 for just over a month now and have not had any problems. in fact i lost 8lbs during that month . while i take this medicine as an apetite suppressant i am learning to pay attention to when im full and watch my caloric intake. i think its very helpful! i love it! - 5/11/2012 9:04:23 PM
  • BLUEGREEN73
    i just started a weight loss pill to help me control my hunger(s) in the evening is my hardest part. These pills seem to work for me so far. i agree with everyone, Just watch your calories,and the amount you eat, Which is hard for me so i hope i get ALOT of support here because i need it. Thank-You - 4/16/2012 9:10:19 AM
  • Ive yet to find anything i comfortable with. - 1/18/2012 9:54:05 AM
  • Bubba Smith-the retired football player and actor from those "Police Academy" movies died as a result of ingesting too many diet pills at once. He was found in his home. A terrible cost to pay just to lose weight.

    I've been on that supplement roller coaster and have experienced many of the side effects. I'm starting over this year; hopefully to a healthier new me. - 1/13/2012 12:35:04 PM

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