- Most weight loss treatments are backed by little evidence that they work, according to a review published in the journal. Obesity.
- Many of the studies are funded by companies that sell the products, the researchers found.
- The review found 8 different products whose effectiveness (and sometimes safety) is questionable.
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The effectiveness of a large majority of
The supplements are supported by little or no evidence, according to a review published June 23 in the journal. Obesity.
Researchers from several institutions, including Dartmouth College and Wisconsin Medical College, looked at 315 randomized controlled trials of 14 weight loss supplements. They assessed the quality of the evidence and whether the treatments worked for weight loss.
They found that the vast majority of the studies had serious problems, including a small sample size, incomplete data, selective signaling, and lack of blindness for participants.
Alone six products they had some moderate and reputable evidence that they could work.
The other eight products evaluated were doubtfully effective, supported by studies with industry funding, or both. These are the eight ineffective treatments included in the review, and what the latest evidence says about their use and safety.
Acupuncture: this form of traditional Chinese medicine uses fine needles inserted into the body to stimulate nerves and muscles. It has been used to treat everything from chronic pain to mental health For weight loss, some studies reports that it may improve appetite control and insulin regulation. However, the review found most of the evidence to be of low quality, and showed less if any weight change compared to a placebo.
Calcium / Vitamin D: both essential nutrients for overall health, these popular supplements can be beneficial for some people, but no high-quality evidence shows that they can help with weight loss, especially in the long run.
Chocolate / cocoa: It is unlikely that these treatments can help you lose weight, the researchers found. Studies on chocolate as a supplement have been funded by industry interests, or have not disclosed their funding. Alone a study found a significant effect, and involved plant-based specific nutrients called flavanols in cocoa, the raw material in chocolate.
Guar gum: A thickening substance extracted from guar beans for use in food processing, the diet claims that it helps people feel full while the diet fills the gut. Studies they found that this didn’t work, however. Researchers found it alone a study showed short-term weight loss in combination with diet, but its author did not disclose its sources of funding.
Mind-body: this category included treatments such as
, hypnosis, and
for weight loss. Studies have focused almost entirely on women, and have not disclosed funding. Only two studies were considered to have a low risk of injury, and neither reported before and after weight loss compared to a placebo.
Phaseolus: An extract of white beans, this substance will help reduce carbohydrate absorption to help people lose weight. Only a few studies on this have been found – some research reported a minor impulse to short-term weight loss, but the studies were short-lived and the tests were considered of low quality.
Phenylpropylamine: this is a chemical similar to amphetamine and ephedrine, both linked to weight loss and suppressed appetite, but also to serious effects. It was mainly popular in the 80s and 90s, since the FDA warned against it in 2000, when it was found increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Other potential side effects include anxiety, insomnia,
and chest tightness.
Pyruvate: it is a chemical byproduct produced naturally in our bodies when we break down sugar for energy. Taking it as a supplement is supposed to speed up your metabolism and burn fat faster.
Some research on this has found that it can increase weight loss in combination with diet and / or exercise, but other searches it found no effect and a lack of quality evidence behind its claims.