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  A few preliminary and unpublished research studies indicate that there may be some type of appetite-suppressing mechanism from a molecule in Hoodia called P57.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.

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