Quick weight-loss pills and weight-loss supplements have become increasingly popular over the last decade.
Although many of these weight-loss products promise amazing results and claim to be ‘natural‘ products, be very careful about what you are buying and putting into your body.
Due to the huge internet marketing of rapid weight loss products and some unscrupulous sellers, you can never be sure of exactly what you are getting. There are a lot of ‘dietary supplements’ according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In reality, some ‘dietary supplements’ actually contain prescription drugs, unsafe drugs or hidden active ingredients that are not fit for human consumption.
What do you think about Quick weight loss pills, Doc?
Garcinia Cambogia Extract
Garcinia Cambogia is very famous all over the world after appearing on the Dr. Oz show in 2012.
Garcinia Cambogia is a tiny, green, pumpkin-shaped fruit and is marketed as a totally ‘natural weight loss supplement‘.
The skin of the fruit contains a substance known as
Scientific evidence of the Effectiveness of Garcinia Cambogia or HCA for weight loss?
The research on Garcinia Cambogia and weight loss
On the contrary, other studies state that Garcinia Cambogia supplements do lead to weight loss (although at quite low levels). It is important when looking at any scientific research to establish WHO is carrying out the research and for what purpose.
In addition, be very aware of the right dosage and content of the active ingredient, in this
… So, let’s take a look at some studies?
Earlier studies seem to indicate little evidence for the effectiveness of Garcinia Cambodia. A 1998 research trial with 135 participants compared Garcinia cambogia against a dummy pill and concluded that:-
Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.
Another 2011 study carried out systematic reviews of 12 trials relating to the use of Garcinia Cambodia and weight loss. Interestingly, this study found that, on average, weight loss was around 0.88 kg (2 pounds).
Indeed, this is a far cry from the ‘… shed 22 pounds in 2 weeks‘ claims of some of the advertisers.
According to the medical review, no true evaluation
“The meta-analysis revealed a small, statistically significant difference in weight loss favouring HCA over placebo … but the magnitude of the effect is small.”
Side Effects of Garicinia Gambodia
There are no reported serious side effects so far linked to the use of Garcinia Cambodia extract as a weight-loss supplement. However, there have been reports of digestive problems. For example, stomach upsets and
So, as we can see, the scientific results are mixed. Some claim that Garcinia Cambodia is only effective in animals and others that it may lead to (a minimal) weight loss.
In comparison to taking a healthy diet and exercise program, I would advise you to give Garcinia Cambodia a miss, save your money and go and buy some fresh fruit and veggies!
Raspberry Ketones: Weight Loss Pills
Yet again raspberry ketones became popular for quick weight loss after being promoted by Dr Oz as yet another fat loss ‘miracle in a bottle’
Raspberry ketones are the natural chemical compound found in raspberries and some other red berries too. There can be no denying the health benefits of natural red berries. However, exaggerated and unfounded claims have been branded around for years regarding raspberry ketones diet pills.
Raspberry ketones have, in our opinion, being totally misrepresented by clever marketing.
Most people believe that this is a natural fat loss supplement. However, by the time raspberry ketones arrive in a weight-loss pill they are totally synthetic.
A scientific study involving fat cells from rats have shown that raspberry ketones:-
- Improve the breakdown of fat in the cells. This is due to the cells becoming more sensitive to the hormone norepinephrine, a naturally produced fat burner.
- Fat cells release more adiponectin, a hormone that is significant in controlling blood sugar and metabolism.
However, despite the popularity and wide and varied claims, there are actually NO scientific studies that show raspberry ketones are effective fat loss supplements in humans. Furthermore, the dosage that were used in the animal studies was insanely high.
Bitter Orange (Synephrine): Weight Loss Pills
Bitter orange extract derives from the skin of the bitter orange citrus fruit.
The active ingredient, synephrine is claimed to be an appetite suppressant and to significantly raise the fat-burning processes in the body.
However, Synephrine shares the same mechanisms as ephedrine, which has now been banned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to the severe side effects.
Scientific evidence of the Effectiveness of Bitter Orange (Synephrine) for weight loss?
Although, very few studies have been conducted on synephrine, ephedrine is a closely related compound. Interestingly, ephedrine has been found to cause substantial short-term weight loss in several studies.
A 2012 research study found that p-Synephrine increases the metabolic rate and energy expenditure and modest weight loss has been observed.
Another recent clinical study also concluded that the active ingredient in bitter orange, Synephrine did raise the metabolic rate without elevating blood pressure or heart rate.
Both studies acknowledged that more intense and longer clinical trials are needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of bitter orange as a weight loss agent. Here in lies the problem; there are very few studies on bitter orange alone as it is usually combined with other weight loss supplements such as caffeine and St. John’s Wart.
Side Effects of Bitter Orange (Synephrine)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised that the Slimming Beauty Bitter Orange Slimming capsules were found to contain a banned pharmaceutical ingredient called sibutramine.
Sibutramine belongs to the group of drugs that are appetite suppressants and is also a stimulant. This substance was not listed on the ‘Natural‘ bitter orange product label.
This highlights a huge problem with weight-loss supplements. Indeed weight loss drugs are often mixed with other stimulants and pharmaceutical drugs, some of which have been unsafe for human consumption.
Typical weight-loss pills containing bitter orange can cause:-
- Tachycardia: Raised pulse level, irregularities and palpitations
- Hypertension: Raised blood pressure
- Increased risk of Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and Cerebrovascular Accident (stroke)
- Adverse interaction with other prescribed or herbal medications
Forskolin:Quick Weight Loss Pills
The hype surrounding Forskolin and weight loss is immense, due to claims on a recent weight loss program, ‘Rapid Belly Melt‘ by Dr Oz. Again, Dr. Oz promotes Forskolin as a ‘fat burning furnace‘.
Dr. Oz refers to Forskolin as ‘lightning in a bottle’. Indded, the claims for Forskolin are that it speeds up your metabolism and therefore helps you lose weight.
One article (obviously selling the product) claims that Forskolin can help you to lose weight without doing any exercise. A brief cruise around a Google search found many, mainly unfounded claims, as to the miraculous power of this weight loss supplement.
What is Forskolin and how does it work?
Forskolin derives from the plant, ‘Coleus Forskohlii’ that belongs to the mint family. This plant extract has been used since ancient times to treat heart problems and high blood pressure.
In addition, Forskolin has also been indicated in the treatment of asthma and digestive disorders. Also, Forskolin produces stronger muscle contractions in the heart and blood vessels and acts as a vasodilator (widens the vessels too) which in turn, lowers blood pressure.
Scientific evidence of the Effectiveness of Forskolin for weight loss?
Forskolin as a weight-loss supplement has received a lot of attention in recent years. But, do you really want weight-loss pills that affect the heart and dilate the blood vessels?
Seriously, the best way to promote a healthy heart and weight loss is a healthy diet and exercise plan. Anyway, there have been two main clinical studies on the effects of Forskolin and weight loss.
One scientific study examined the effect of Forskolin on 30 obese men with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 26. The study concludes that forskolin increases lean muscle mass and reduces body fat.
However, there is NO significant mention of weight loss. A second research study examined 23 women who supplemented their diet with
Possible Side Effects of Forskolin
Even though Forskolin is a natural supplement there are potentially dangerous side effects.
- Hypotension (low blood pressure). Symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, fainting and nausea
Tachycardia (elevated heart rate) Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and rapid pulse rate with palpitations.
- Digestive problems: Forskolin can increase acid levels in the stomach leading to heartburn, indigestion and nausea.
- Interaction with other medicines: If you take any anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as Warfarin or Heparin, Forskolin can increase the risk of bleeding. ALWAYS check with your physician before taking ANY weight-loss drugs.
Quick weight loss pills and supplements may well present the next big drug safety crisis. No one knows effectively what most quick weight loss pills and supplements contain.
Indeed, the US Food and Drug Administration do not regulate weight loss pills and supplements. So, DON’T
Coffee, Green coffee bean and Caffeine
Originally, the makers of quick weight loss pills would throw in something like caffeine to give you a kick.
Now, natural caffeine has been shown to help with weight loss.
In addition, sometimes even natural substances are added in a synthetic formula in VERY high doses that are not healthy and can lead to some serious side effects.
Chlorogenic acid is the active ingredient found naturally in coffee and coffee beans, especially green coffee beans which are simply non-roasted coffee beans.
Some of these products – which are most often sold on the internet so that the manufacturers can evade regulators – may include versions of Meridia, Viagra, Cialis or Levitra without the consumers’ knowledge.
Be a Cautious Consumer around Weight Loss Pills
If you really have to try any quick weight loss pills or supplements look for a label on the bottle from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), US Pharmacopeia or CosumerLab.com.
These companies set standards of certification for dietary supplements and the bottles will carry the mark. Although there may well still be some adverse side effects from taking supplements even with ‘natural ingredients’.
Be aware that although diet pills and supplements are not subject to lengthy trials, you will know that there are not any dangerous pharmaceuticals or other harmful substances.
Say NO to Quick Weight Loss Pills
There are NO diet supplements or weight loss drugs that I know of that are safe and effective for long-term weight loss once you stop using them.
Even if you do lose weight by using quick weight loss pills or supplements, research suggests that once you stop taking the product you will gain back the weight.
Even more alarming is that some substances in diet pills may put you at a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. We recommend a healthy diet and regular physical exercise as the only sustainable way to lose weight
Questions and Answers
Surely some prescription weight loss pills are safe and effective, which is the most popular?
Are there any other types of prescription drugs for Weight Loss?
There are a few other common drugs for prescription weight loss including appetite suppressants such as Lorcaserin and Qsymia (Phentermine + topiramate). Both these weight loss drugs have proven effective for weight loss in clinical studies.
Indeed, weight loss is a side effect of some mood elevators and medicines that treat addiction and depression. For example, Contrave (Bupropion + naltrexone) and Wellbutrin, both are weight loss prescription pills that carry with them cardiovascular risks and possibly an increased risk of suicidal thoughts.
I am very overweight. What other weight loss options are there?
As a last resort you could always consider surgical weight loss. Firstly, you will qualify if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40. Also, you will qualify if you have a BMI of 35 and over with a related health issue such as a type diabetes, sleep apnea or heart disease.
Indeed there are many surgical options to choose from including minimally invasive surgery using laprascopic techniques. Surgery for weight loss includes lap-band surgery, sometimes called adjustable gastric banding. In addition, there is also:-
- Roux-en-y Surgery
- Sleeve Gastrectomy
- Biliopancreatic diversion
- Duodenal switch.
Most bariatric surgery has impressive weight loss results but does not come without its own set of risks. If you are interested read our comprehensive guide to weight loss surgery that explains the types of surgery available and the side effects and associated risks.
My favourite day of the week to exercise is always tomorrow.
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- Godard MP, Johnson BA Richmond SR (2005) Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese Men. Obesity Research, 13: 1335–1343 (2005) (Retrieved March 30th 2016)
- Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, Pietrobelli A, Greenfield D, Nunez C. (1998) Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600. (Retrieved March 30th 2016)
- Henderson S, Magu B, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Kerksick C, Smith P. (2005) Effects of Coleus Forskohlii Supplementation on Body Composition and Hematological Profiles in Mildly Overweight Women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005; 2(2): 54–62. (Retrieved March 30th 2016)
- Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. (2005) Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005 May 27;77(2):194-204. Epub 2005 Feb 25.(Retrieved April 1st 2016)
- Onakpoya I, Hung SK, Perry R, Wider B, Ernst E. (2011) The Use of Garcinia Extract (Hydroxycitric Acid) as a Weight loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials J Obes. 2011; 2011: 509038. (Retrieved April 1st 2016)
…and a few more References
- Padwal R, Li SK, Lau DC. (2004) Long-term pharmacotherapy for obesity and overweight. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD004094. (Retrieved April 1st 2016)
- Preuss HG, Rao CV, Garis R, Bramble JD, Ohia SE, Bagchi M, Bagchi D. (2004) An overview of the safety and efficacy of a novel, natural(-)-hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX) for weight management. J Med. 2004;35(1-6):33-48. (Retrieved April 1st 2016)
- Scheen AJ (2011) Sibutramine on Cardiovascular Outcome Diabetes Care. 2011 May; 34(Suppl 2): S114–S119. (Retrieved March 30th 2016)
- Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Keith SC, Keith PL, Miller H, Kaats GR. (2011) Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes. Int J Med Sci. 2011 Apr 28;8(4):295-301. (Retrieved April 3rd 2016)
- Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Shara M. (2012) A Review of the Human Clinical Studies Involving Citrus aurantium (Bitter Orange) Extract and its Primary Protoalkaloid p-Synephrine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444973/ (Retrieved April 3rd 2016)