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Weight Loss Supplements Do Not Work

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Many people would like to lose weight but there are not many effective prescription weight loss pills. Those that are available also have serious side effects. Surgery for weight loss is expensive and associated with life-threatening complications.

For this reason, many consumers have been turning towards the health supplement industry for a magical weight loss product.

There are hundreds of weight loss supplements available in food stores and pharmacies that can be obtained without a prescription. Almost on a daily basis newer health supplements are advertised online but the question is, do they work?

Now a researcher from Oregon State University has reviewed the currently available weight loss supplements. The news is as predicted: there is no magic supplement and there is no health product that can help people lose weight.

Melinda Manore looked at the available evidence on hundreds of weight loss supplements and found that there is no clinical evidence for a single health supplement that has been claimed by manufacturers to promote weight loss. Worse, what she observed was that many of these health supplements had adverse effects.(1)

The billion dollar health supplement industry is completely unregulated and frequently makes exaggerated assertions. Many claims made by the manufacturers have never been clinically verified and even the same product sold in different stores varies in both quality and quantity. (2)

Manore specifically looked at the four top health supplements that are widely claimed to help consumers lose weight. She looked at:

1)chitosan that is said to inhibit absorption of fat and carbohydrates

2) stimulants like ephedra and caffeine that are said to increase metabolism

3) conjugated unsaturated fatty acids that are said to alter body composition by lowering fat content

4) appetite suppressants like soluble fiber

The investigation revealed that for most supplements, there were no randomized clinical trials that had evaluated the effectiveness of the product.

Moreover, she observed that the weight loss for most for these health supplements was similar to that obtained from a placebo. Even the highly touted products like green tea, low dairy and fiber supplements did not have much impact on weight loss.

A key finding was that in most cases, the manufacturers never recommended changes in lifestyle, exercise or a decrease in calories. How it is possible for these products to work without implementation of exercise is a mystery.

For the consumer, it is important not to rely on any particular health supplement for weight loss. The key to weight loss is to reduce intake of calories and perform some type of exercise. It is vital to make changes in lifestyle if one wants to succeed in losing weight.

Without some type of exercise, there is no supplement or prescription drug that will help you lower your weight. Even after bariatric surgery, exercise is recommended to help prevent weight gain.

The one thing most of these weight loss health supplements do offer consumers is disappointment.


1.Melinda M. Manore. Dietary Supplements for Improving Body Composition and Reducing Body Weight: Where is the evidence?]
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22349313

2. Saper RP. Common dietary supplements for weight loss. Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15554492

Reviewed March 12, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jessica Obert

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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