You flip over that box or bottle and you look at the ingredient list, only to find you have no idea what half of them are. How is a company supposed to earn trust with the customer if there’s no way to know what a formula consists of? We reviewed and digested hundreds of articles from experts and medical professionals, along with research websites, to offer up what you need to know about diet pill ingredients. The dieter deserves to know exactly what’s in that formula.
What are They?
Ingredients are the individual parts that make up a weight-loss formula. In order for a company to add them to a supplement they do not need to be clinically proven to work, as long as there are no promises that read as medical statements or advice. In essence, anyone could add water and claim it is an appetite suppressant because drinking makes you feel full. You can’t always take a company on its word – you have to look to science.
The Most Common Ingredients
There are a few favorites on the market like caffeine, green tea (which contains caffeine), garcinia cambogia, raspberry ketones, hoodia gordonii, green coffee bean extract, synephrine and glucomannan. Some of these have some pretty good clinical support and others just don’t live up to the dieters high expectations.
Caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant that works to boost metabolism and curb hunger. It can also work as a diuretic to help if you’re retaining fluids. According to the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, “After two months of treatment, body weight and percentage body fat in obese women were significantly…reduced.”
Green Tea – Green tea is another stimulant, that also contains EGCG, that can work to boost metabolism without stimulating the dieter. It is especially effective on abdominal fat when combined with exercise. The Journal of Nutrition says, “These findings suggest that green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced changes in abdominal fat.”
Garcinia Cambogia – This “fad” ingredient doesn’t give the dieter any benefit. The Nutrition Journal puts it simply enough, “Ten weeks [of] GCE [garcinia cambogia extract] supplementation failed to promote any clinically significant weight-loss and had a minimal effect on %body fat in overweight individuals consuming their habitual diet.”
Raspberry Ketones – We couldn’t find a single study on raspberry ketones and weight-loss in humans. Without research there is no clinical support, plain and simple.
Hoodia Gordonii – This is another ingredient that dieters should just skip, because there’s just no science to back up claims. As offered up by the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, “A literature search was conducted using Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and IPA from inception to March 2009. The internet, files of the authors and bibliographies of articles were searched for additional references. No published, peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials examining efficacy of Hoodia were found.”
Green Coffee Bean Extract – We looked everywhere for research on the effect of this ingredient on weight-loss, but we found nothing. We did find one study (with 12 participants) that claimed some sort of effect when the coffee was used long-term. But, when the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice tried to find an unbiased study they couldn’t. “The studies are all of poor methodological quality [and] all studies were associated with a high risk of bias.”
Glucomannan – We’re on the fence with this one. Glucomannan is a water-soluble fiber that can expand in the stomach, leaving the dieter with less room for food when taken before a meal. According to a research report co-authored by Russell S. Phillips, M.D. (Harvard Medical School), many “products contain sources of soluble fiber, which…could absorb water within the gut, causing increased satiety and lower caloric intake. Fiber also may improve control of diabetes and hyperlipidemia, two common comorbidities in patients with obesity.”
Potentially Dangerous Ingredients
At no point in time should the dieter risk overall health and well-being with a diet supplement. Ingredients that can be unsafe for some include synephrine, caffeine, DMAA, ephedra and yohimbe.
Synephrine – There are some ingredients out there that dieters should avoid at all costs and this is one. Side effects associated with synephrine use include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and increased risk of heart-related problems like heart attack and stroke. The dieter doesn’t even get the benefit of weight-loss, according to a paper published as part of the Forensic Science and Medicine series, “The use of C aurantium for weight loss has little support in the literature, but this has not stopped producers from marketing the drug for this purpose since the void left after the ban of ephedra.”
Caffeine – This is a clinically proven weight-loss ingredient, but that doesn’t mean it is safe for everyone. The upper safety limit for caffeine is about 400mg per day and some companies push that limit. Imagine taking a supplement with 250mg of caffeine. Add that to your two cups of coffee in the morning (200mg – 400mg) and that healthy bottle of green tea in the afternoon (40mg) and you’ve consumed upwards of 690mg of caffeine. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, “Safety concerns not usually reported at doses less than 400 mg/day for adults, significant safety concerns at higher doses.” Some potential side effects include insomnia, nervousness, jitters, heart palpitations and muscle tremors.
DMAA – The FDA has banned this ingredient for use in weight-loss supplements, but that doesn’t mean some companies don’t still try to slip it in there from time to time. According to the government, “it can elevate blood pressure and could lead to cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest.”
Ephedra – There are tons of reputable sources listing the dangers of taking ephedra, but it’s the underreported side effects that we feel dieters need to know about. According to a report in the Southern Medical Journal, “the patients presented in this report developed persistent psychosis that required psychopharmaceutical management.” No dieter should take the risk of psychosis to lose weight.
Yohimbe – Typically used as a source of caffeine, yohimbe is one ingredient dieters need to watch out for. WebMD offers this, “Yohimbe, taken by mouth, is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Yohimbe has been linked to reports of severe side effects including irregular or rapid heart beat, kidney failure, seizure, heart attack, and others.”
What to Look for in a Company When Ingredients Look Good
There are some companies out there that offer up safe, effective and clinically proven weight-loss ingredients, but you have to take a close look at the company to see if they’re worth trusting. The best characteristics of a trustworthy company are customer service contact by phone, address of the corporate office, complete list of ingredients and links to studies supporting the ingredients.
What’s The Final Take on Ingredients?
It’s really simple when it comes to ingredients. Find safe, clinically proven ingredients offered up by a company that is trustworthy.