A pill could either be meant to raise your metabolism, suppress appetite, bind to carbohydrates, or any other host of functions that ultimately serve the purpose of trimming down that unwanted body fat. Because there are many supplements sold over the counter that are untested for safe use, one should always exercise the utmost caution in resorting to any capsule that is marketed towards better health!
In this article, we will give 5 of the most recommended weight loss pills and food supplements.
- Garcinia Cambogia Extract
Garcinia cambogia became popular worldwide after being featured on the Dr. Oz show in 2012. It is a small, green fruit, shaped like a pumpkin.
The skin of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This is the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia extract, which is marketed as a diet pill.
How it works: Animal studies show that it can inhibit a fat-producing enzyme in the body and increase levels of serotonin, potentially helping to reduce cravings.
Effectiveness: One study with 130 people compared garcinia against a dummy pill. There was no difference in weight or body fat percentage between groups.
A 2011 review that looked at 12 studies on garcinia cambogia found that, on average, it caused weight loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) over several weeks.
Side effects: There are no reports of serious side effects, but some reports of mild digestive problems.
Bottom Line: Even though garcinia cambogia may cause modest weight loss, the effects are so small that they probably won’t even be noticeable.
Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.It is found naturally in coffee, green tea and dark chocolate, and added to many processed foods and beverages.
Caffeine is a well known metabolism booster, and is often added to commercial weight loss supplements.
How it works: Short-term studies have shown that caffeine can boost metabolism by 3-11%, and increase fat burning by up to 29% .
Effectiveness: There are also some studies showing that caffeine can cause modest weight loss in humans.
Side effects: In some people, high amounts of caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, jitteriness, irritability, nausea, diarrhea and other symptoms. Caffeine is also addictive and can reduce the quality of your sleep.
There really is no need to take a supplement or a pill with caffeine in it, the best sources are quality coffee and green tea, which also have antioxidants and other health benefits.
Bottom Line: Caffeine can boost metabolism and enhance fat burning in the short term. However, a tolerance to the effects may develop quickly.
Glucomannan is a type of fiber found in the roots of the elephant yam, also called konjac.
How it works: Glucomannan absorbs water and becomes gel-like. It “sits” in your gut and promotes a feeling of fullness, helping you eat fewer calories.
Effectiveness: Three human studies showed that glucomannan, combined with a healthy diet, can help people lose 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.5 kg) of weight in 5 weeks.
Other benefits: Glucomannan is a fiber that can feed the friendly bacteria in the intestine. It can also lower blood sugar, blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and is very effective against constipation.
Side effects: It can cause bloating, flatulence and soft stools, and can interfere with some oral medications if taken at the same time. It is important to take glucomannan about a half an hour before meals, with a glass of water.
Bottom Line: Studies consistently show that the fiber glucomannan, when combined with a healthy diet, can help people lose weight. It also leads to improvements in various health markers.
Meratrim is a relative newcomer on the diet pill market. It is a combination of two plant extracts that may change the metabolism of fat cells.
How it works: It is claimed to make it harder for fat cells to multiply, decrease the amount of fat that they pick up from the bloodstream, and help them burn stored fat.
Effectiveness: So far, only one study has been done on Meratrim. A total of 100 obese people were placed on a strict 2000 calorie diet, with either Meratrim or a dummy pill.
After 8 weeks, the Meratrim group had lost 11 pounds (5.2 kg) of weight and 4.7 inches (11.9 cm) off their waistlines. They also had improved quality of life and reduced blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Side effects: No side effects have been reported.
Bottom Line: One study showed that Meratrim caused weight loss and had a number of other health benefits. However, the study was industry sponsored and more research is needed.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, has been a popular fat loss supplement for years. It is one of the “healthier” trans fats, and is found naturally in some fatty animal foods like cheese and butter.
How it works: CLA may reduce appetite, boost metabolism and stimulate the breakdown of body fat.
Effectiveness: In a major review of 18 different studies, CLA caused weight loss of about 0.2 pounds (0.1 kg) per week, for up to 6 months (40).
According to another review study from 2012, CLA can make you lose about 3 lbs (1.3 kg) of weight, compared to a dummy pill.
Side effects: CLA can cause various digestive side effects, and may have harmful effects over the long term, potentially contributing to fatty liver, insulin resistance and increased inflammation.
Bottom Line: CLA is an effective weight loss supplement, but it may have harmful effects over the long term. The small amount of weight loss is not worth the risk.