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Calorie Count Blog

Hot Weight Loss Supplements: Worth the Hype?


By +Elisa Zied on Oct 11, 2012 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

By Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN

Supplements made from acai berries, and more recently, green coffee bean extract, are by far two of the top-selling so-called “weight-loss miracle cures.” Featured on the Dr. Oz show, and widely available online—and even at your local drug store—these products appeal to the masses with promises of speedy and seemingly effortless weight loss. But should you buy into the hype? Here are some things you should know before you bet your bottom on a bottle to lose weight.

Acai Berry Dietary Supplements

Available in capsule, pill, patch, and powder form, and touted to promote weight loss and to even “make your body perfect” as stated on one company web site, a search of acai berry supplements on google reveals an astounding 70 million results.

Derived from the acai palm tree, native to tropical Central and South America, acai berries pack in a variety of nutrients such as fiber, omega-9 fats, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A, according to 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life, by David Grotto, RD, LDN. Commonly consumed in whole fruit or juice form, acai berries also overflow with antioxidants, powerful plant chemicals that shield body cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals (substances such as smoke and other pollutants that circulate in the environment and in the body). Acai berries are especially rich in anthocyanins, plant chemicals currently being studied for their possible role in promoting heart health, enhancing cognition, reducing inflammation, and preventing cancer among them.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, there’s no definitive scientific evidence based on human studies that supports the use of acai berries for weight loss or any other health benefit.

And what about the accuracy of claims from supplement manufacturers? As of yet, there aren’t any studies published in peer-reviewed journal to prove claims or support the effectiveness of acai berry supplements in producing weight loss.

Green Coffee Bean Extract

Derived from green (unroasted) coffee beans and touted to burn fat and speed weight loss, the popularity of green coffee bean extract seems to grow by the day. Rich in two substances that may be linked to weight loss including caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, and chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant, there’s some short-term data on the extract’s safety and effectiveness as a weight loss aid.

In a 2012 study published in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity (and funded by a supplement manufacturer), 16 overweight adults were each given a low dose of green coffee bean extract, a high dose of the supplement, or a placebo daily for six weeks each (with a two week period in-between each treatment period). Throughout the study, participants were encouraged to maintain their current diet, and to be physically active.

Subjects who took the extract lost an average of about 18 pounds—more than 10 percent of their body weight, and suffered no adverse side effects. A review article published in 2011 in Gastroenterology Research and Practice found that green coffee bean extract was more effective than a placebo in moderately lowering body weight. Still, the authors noted the poor quality of those studies and called for more high quality data before conclusions are drawn. 

While it may not be associated with adverse side effects, consuming too much chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract or other sources may increase levels of the amino acid homocysteine; that, in turn, raises the risk of heart disease.

The Verdict

According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), supplement manufacturers are responsible for making sure that their products are safe before they’re marketed—and they don’t need to prove they’re safe or effective or get approval from the Food and Drug Administration before being available to consumers. Before you take a supplement, especially to lose weight, it’s best to first speak with a physician or a registered dietitian who can evaluate the supplement.

Karen Ansel, MS, RD, CDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agrees. "While green coffee bean extract or acai berry supplements might sound like magic bullets for weight loss, the research on these is extremely sparse. Until more long term research is done regarding their safety and effectiveness, a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet coupled with physical activity is still the safest and most effective way to slim down."


Your thoughts...

Have you tried either of these (or any other) weight loss supplements?

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and award-winning author of "Nutrition At Your Fingertips," "Feed Your Family Right!," and "So What Can I Eat?!." She is also a past national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For more information, go to www.elisazied.com.  Sign up for the free weekly ZIED GUIDE™ newsletter for nutrition tips and news you can use (go to right side of home page at elisazied.com).  Follow Elisa on Twitter/elisazied and on Facebook.




Comments


I've tried Açai and it makes me very hungry! no good for me. I do succesfully take, African MAngo extract, Coleus Forskholii/Guggul lipid, CLA, and more recently have been combining African Mango with Cissus quadrangularis. Also for feeling less hungry, Hoodia is good.



Has anybody tried Sensa?



Original Post by: lovengratitude

Has anybody tried Sensa?


Sensa is expensive and I feel any "easy" claim to lose weight is bs. However I did try (turning very red with embarrassment) the Raspberry Ketone supplement at my husband's insistence. He watches Dr. Oz and feels if Oz recommends it, it must be true. (more bs) In this case we both took it. Altho it claims you will see a dramatic weight loss without changing diet or eating habits we didn't. My husband continued his same eating pattern and exercise regimen (he could benefit from losing 10-20 pounds but is not "dieting"). I continued with my diet. My actual hope was that adding it it would help push me thru a plateau--it didn't.  We took it for 6 wks (we bought 2 bottles and got one "free" so had enough for both of us to take for 6 wks. ) The only change in weight loss that we saw was in our wallet. As said in the article:  a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet coupled with physical activity is still the safest and most effective way to slim down."



Just bring back ephedra


I've been using green coffee bean for the last 10 days along with 1300 cal.a day and working out combining cardio and weights and nothing has happened.


I also tried Sensa, it made me feel sick to my stomach, but did not curtail eating.

And the Red Ketone, I gained 13 pounds in a month



Original Post by: mim49

Original Post by: lovengratitude

Has anybody tried Sensa?


Sensa is expensive and I feel any "easy" claim to lose weight is bs. However I did try (turning very red with embarrassment) the Raspberry Ketone supplement at my husband's insistence. He watches Dr. Oz and feels if Oz recommends it, it must be true. (more bs) In this case we both took it. Altho it claims you will see a dramatic weight loss without changing diet or eating habits we didn't. My husband continued his same eating pattern and exercise regimen (he could benefit from losing 10-20 pounds but is not "dieting"). I continued with my diet. My actual hope was that adding it it would help push me thru a plateau--it didn't.  We took it for 6 wks (we bought 2 bottles and got one "free" so had enough for both of us to take for 6 wks. ) The only change in weight loss that we saw was in our wallet. As said in the article:  a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet coupled with physical activity is still the safest and most effective way to slim down."


Thanks!



I'm trying Intensify IRG supplement and possibly trying Liporush.  It was recommended to me by an associate at GNC.  It has amino acids and caffiene, lots of it. I've been taking it since Monday and I notice an increase in energy that last the entire day, no crash, and doesn't keep me up at night.  The only thing negative, so far, is that I've been a bit moody and intolerant of BS at work (lol). OH and the second day I took it (Tuesday), my resting heart rate was noticibly elevated, but that has since subsided.  Anyone try anything similar to this kind of supplement?  Results?  I'll keep you posted with any weight loss results.  By the way, I tend to stick to a 1400 cal diet (as much as possible) and exercise for 40 minutes 5-6 days a week (currently doing Insanity).  Need to lose 50-60#s in a year....



 I'd say just stay off of any supplements! I tried many and it’s only temporary solution.



Original Post by: topset

Just bring back ephedra

Ephedra is great. But like any substance, people don't understand that just because it works great at a quantity does not mean it will work better at an increased quantity.  Those irresponsible ones ruined it for the rest.



My opinion for what it is worth is that you need to make permanent diet changes that can be used after you hit your weight loss goals so that you can maintain. The only thing that I use is smoothie meal replacements.



I have been using raspberry ketone for the past 3 months and have lost about 25lbs it works for me and helps my appetite. The coffee bean I have tried and its just gross I didn't like it lol but to each is own.


same as said above, the only change was to my wallet.  Dr.Oz is throwing a lot of hype for $'s.  IF it is too good to be true, it probably is!



The best supplement I've ever used is PROTEIN!  It keeps my hunger at bay and my muscles toned, even though I only work out 2-3 times a week.  If you seriously want to lose weight you have to commit to a lifestyle change.  Visit my website at: http://myhealthylifestyle.theonlinebusiness.com. You can enjoy 1 or 2 delicious shakes and one well balanced meal.  The snacks are awesome and I supplement with a phytonutrient that provides me with 7 servings of fruit and veggies. 

 

All in all, I am 45 years old and even in my twenties, I have never been able to keep my weight consistently at this level until I got on this program. 



I have tried almost every diet known to man, flat belly diet which I did see some change so I would recommend, the P.I.N.K. method...would not recommend, it was ok but what I lost I gained back just as fast, I have tried different supplements and ephedra based stuff and no luck. It is about a life style change, I finally decided I wanted to eat real food and started weight watchers on July 10th, I have lost 20 pounds and feel the best I have ever felt. I am running about 3 times a week and decided to sign up for a half marathon. I am not and have never been a runner but figured if I sign up...I gotta do it so I am all in I guess! I also have an under active thyroid and take 2 pills every morning for it, but weight watchers has been the only thing I feel really has worked.



I forgot to mention, after trying the P.I.N.K. method I found out that shows like Dr Phil and Dr Oz and possibly more, were promoting it because Dr Phil's son was one of the publishers or something like that. So I do believe a lot of times they are getting paid to advertise it!!!

 



Original Post by: marian87

I've been using green coffee bean for the last 10 days along with 1300 cal.a day and working out combining cardio and weights and nothing has happened.

I religiously used green coffee bean for a month while exercising as well and lost more weight by just cutting out sugar from my coffee ( as well as frou-frou starbucks drinks) than the coffee bean extract. As far as i could tell, the green coffee extract did nothing :(



I tried Raspberry ketone, a waste of money, it did nothing, neither did Acai berry. I went back to what works, Hoodia. It takes the edge off and decreases my desire for sweet things. But I have to add, I found eating a full fat Greek yogurt at lunch really helps to keep me full until I get home after work, I don't have the three o'clock crash.

 

 



I tried Raspberry Ketone (because I thought Dr Oz endorsed) and agree it was a waste. I was more than dissappointed given the recommendation. Then I saw an episode of Dr Oz where he talked about all the companies "latching" on to his name and using it as if he is endorsing their products. He is NOT. As consumers we need to read ads more closely. These "potions peddlers" ...and that's what they are will twist words just right so we will buy their products. We need to realize that good (blanced) diet and regular exercise is what helps us to reach and maintain a healthy weight. There are NO safe "quick" loss products anywhere.  We have to have self restraint when eating and get off our lazy butts (me included).



I started out at 160 lbs., losing 10 lbs. on my own (just by eating all healthy foods, not salting anything, & eating lots of salads). My goal weight is 130-135 lbs.  I tried Sensa's trial offer for a month (I did not lose anything).  They said I needed to use it for 6 mos. (I think it is artificial sugar & salt, satisfying those cravings).  Then I tried Raspberry Ketones (which I had to take after eating because it made me sick to my stomach if I didn't.  It also has an after taste.  Nothing happened, did not lose anything.  Then I got the green coffee bean.  Have been doing that with the Raspberry Ketones for two months now & guess what?  Did not lose anything!  I am still at 150 lbs. after all that (the weight I got to on my own).  Enough wasting money on advertising scams.  I'm just going to excercise more, & try to eat low calorie, low carb healthy foods.



When it comes to "magic" bullet supplements I think of two comments my mother made as I was growing up -- "I was born at night, but not last night" and "There's no such thing as a free lunch."  The only weight that is lost with all of these bizarre supplements is in your wallet although that does add weight to your debt level.  The other issue is that very few of these supplements have been tested for an extended period of time by an ethical laboratory group.  Many of them cross react with medications people are on, aggravating existing medical conditions or health hazards.  The only tried and true technique for losing weight is to eat less and move more.  Yes, your diet should be well balanced to stay healthy and taking a daily vitamin pill probably won't hurt you and will help supplement nutrients that you aren't getting enough of (I've tried serving fish 4-6 days a week for dinner, my family rebelled and I sure don't have the time or energy to cook separate meals.)  I remember back in the 60's when people ate bird seed and drank a lot of water to cause it to puff up and fill their stomachs to eliminate hunger.  If you must do something that sounds pc and very cool, try skipping one meal per week and donating the money you would have spent to your local food bank.  Or even take the money you've stopped spending and donate it to the local food bank.  It really will alleviate hunger and just, perhaps, give you the kind of satisfaction and self respect that you might have been eating to obtain that sense emotionally.



There certainly are alot of Weight Loss supplements on the market and it seems every day something new is coming out.  I have been hesitant to try them because, well, you just never know.

Recently a friend told me about a new product called Visi Weight loss and she was having success.  I was interested but really wanted to look into the ingredients, as so many "Healthy" supplements have added caffeine etc.  I was impressed that there was not even one ingredient that I questioned.  I also learned that their medical advisor Dr. Charlie Rouse is a Registered pharmacist and a Dr. of Natural Medicine, so he knows both the synthetic and natural world.  Another great thing, the product is manufactured in the US, not China... Yeah!  I am a healthcare professional and I am very cautious of what goes in my body.  I have also witnessed several health Crisis from different weight loss gimmicks.

So I tried the product, it is easy. One capsule per day.  In 4 months I have lost 20lbs and over 20".  I literally watched my curves being redefined.  I love it.  It works by increasing your metabolism, burning your stored fat and decreasing your appetite.  I loved this product so much that I did become a distributor.  My friends and family are also having success.

Please don't view this post as spam.  This article is about supplements and I believe I have found one that actually works and is safe. 

Visi Weight loss is worth looking into.  Please feel free to look at my website www.Visiadventure.com ;



I tried Sensa.  It did not work for me.  When I called and talked with them trying to find the problem, I learned that it does not work if you do not have a sense of smell.  I do not have a sense of smell.  I can't smell a pot burning on the stove, skunk, etc.  When I told them this she said it would not work for me because I could not smell. 



Original Post by: topset

Just bring back ephedra

I have a cousin that died from ephedra use. He wasn't taking excessive quantities either. Died in his sleep from heart failure at 21 years old about a year before it was banned.



I'm so glad that I read the comments about weight loss supplements on this website.  I have been taking the Coffee bean extract and it doesn't work. I have been trying very hard to lose weight and not having much luck.



I have tried so many supplements, and diet plans, they don't work. I am eating healthly,  every thing in moderation and try working out more, doing a life style change as you have to be able to do it for the rest of your life.



October 1st, I started dieting to lose weight. I bought a bottle of gardenia cambogia at Sprouts with the thought that It probably wouldn't work like the green coffee extract I tried. I took it for a month and felt that it really helped keep my appetite under control. Then I became more interested and started reading about it on the internet. There were outrageous claims that, in essence, gardenia cambogia will bring about weight loss without changing the diet or exercising. I also read that it was important to take a high quality, good quality product. I bought a brand called Ultra and continued to take it as I continued to diet. After a life long of struggling with my weight and dieting to stay within range, I have to say that the product has really helped me stay on my diet plan. It is no magic bullet. It seems to suppress cravings and keep hunger at bay. I still get hungry, but not in the way that I reach for bad choices. It is to a much lesser extent. Supposedly, the product suppresses a hunger hormone and helps stabilize blood sugar. From my experience,I would say there might be something to this. Also, I have not experienced any negative side effects. It does not hype me up or interfere with sleep. I lost over 20 pounds with very little exercise and am at a reasonable maintenance weight. I continue to take gardenia cambogia and use caloriecount to maintain.


I've tried every weight-loss pill and found them all totally useless. I've lost 50 pounds this past year without any supplements.



I appreciate reading the experiences of folks who have tried various supplements, regrettably to no real effect.  I have never tried any of the supplements, because I am concerned that there is no assurance of what is really in them. 

I have tried to stick to whole foods for the past 15 months and have lost 130 lbs. based on portion control and eating lots and lots more veggies and fruit. 

Calorie Count is a great website but sometimes I supplement it by logging my food at a USDA website www.supertracker.org because it provides a very detailed breakdown, by specific vitamins and minerals, of what you are eating, which allows me to identify what I am deficient in and then I can plan my meals accordingly.  This website allows you to generate and print reports that summarize the nutrient value of what you have eaten over any period of time you choose.  A little cumbersome to get used to, but I have found it an excellent tool to tweak and adjust what I am eating.



I set out to lose 200lbs and have already lost 120. I embarked on a journey to be healthy and the side effect is drastic and sustained weight loss. I'm happy to share what I have learned. lindamarymig@gmail.com



correction ... sorry

clicked on wrong email address .. correct one is ellebella820@gmail.com



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