Health: Wellness Center
  • Wellness Center
  • Do Weight-Loss Supplements Work?

    Do Weight-Loss Supplements Work? 
: Main Image
  • Do Weight-Loss Supplements Work?

    Do Weight-Loss Supplements Work? 
: Main Image
    What we do know about weight loss: It isn’t going to happen without some work—lasting results rely on meaningful lifestyle changes
    At the recent International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, German researchers reported that nine popular weight-loss supplements were no better than placebo at helping people lose weight. This study raises some questions, such as why they didn’t choose more popular weight-loss supplements with more research behind them, and whether the amounts and duration used were those that previous research suggests might lead to promised results. While interesting, these findings have yet to be reported in a peer-reviewed journal, meaning that outside experts have not analyzed the information for accuracy, so the results should be taken as preliminary and balanced against what is known about weight-loss supplements and expectations from supplement use in general.

    Putting weight-loss supplements through their paces

    In the eight-week trial, 189 overweight and obese people took a placebo or one of nine weight-loss supplements according to the manufacturer’s directions, including L-carnitine, polyglucosamine (chitosan), cabbage powder, guaraná seed powder, bean extract, konjac extract (glucomannan), fiber pills, sodium alginate formulations, or “selected plant extracts.”

    At the end of the study, the people taking weight-loss supplements lost two to four pounds and the people taking placebo lost two to two and half pounds, a difference that wasn’t statistically significant. “We found that not a single product was any more effective than placebo pills in producing weight loss, regardless of how it claims to work,” said lead study author Thomas Ellrott, head of the Institute for Nutrition and Psychology at the University of Göttingen Medical School, Germany, in a news release.

    Looking to future research

    Given the demand for interventions and the vast industry built around weight loss, it is important that researchers continue to explore the effects of such supplements. This study raises many questions that will be interesting to understand if the findings are accepted for publication, including details on what the “selected plant extracts” were, and why cabbage powder (and possibly others, depending on what the “selected plant extracts” are) was included when it doesn’t appear to be marketed specifically for weight loss, at least in the US.

    We know from research on using supplements to manage a wide range of health conditions, intake amounts and use in combination with other supplements and interventions (such as exercise and dietary changes) can have a measurable impact on a supplement’s effects. So it will be interesting to see whether the manufacturer’s recommendations followed in this research represents optimal usage.

    In the US, weight-loss supplements are regulated as food by the Food and Drug Administration, guided by the “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.” DSHEA guidelines restrict manufacturers from making health claims other than approved “structure-function” claims (for example, calcium supports bone health). Because of this regulation, even when research does exist that might be the basis for more effective usage, manufacturers are not allowed to print information on packaging, which means that following “manufacturer’s instructions” in most supplement use is unlikely to be optimal. It is unclear whether Germany has similar packaging guidelines.

    No magic bullet

    It should come as no surprise that the only sure way to lose weight and keep it off is to change the way you eat and to exercise more. Claims that any supplement, medicine, or any other product can help you lose weight without doing these things should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    If diet and exercise alone haven’t helped you lose weight and you’re thinking about taking a supplement, consult an unbiased source before you buy to see what research has said so far and to get realistic expectations of how the mechanisms claimed by manufacturers might support your goals. For example, the Healthnotes® database has gathered this science about some of the products that were reviewed in the study: many have been shown to have conflicting results. Some have shown promise if a specific amount is taken but not with a lesser amount, or if used in conjunction with a diet and exercise program.

    While we wait for more details to emerge from the German study, we can focus on what we do know about weight loss: It isn’t going to happen without some work—lasting results rely on meaningful lifestyle changes. The recipe for weight loss is as easy as (not eating) pie: Eat Less + Exercise More = Weight Loss for Life

    (Proceedings of the International Congress on Obesity 2010)

    Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, and now sees patients in East Greenwich and Wakefield. Inspired by her passion for healthful eating and her own young daughters, Dr. Beauchamp is currently writing a book about optimizing children’s health through better nutrition.

  • Used with permission. ©2014 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. 

     
    Important Walmart Disclaimer: All content provided is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a medical professional. Consult your medical professional for guidance before changing or undertaking any diet, exercise or health program, or before using any prescription or over-the-counter drug. Neither the author nor Walmart.com assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. Walmart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site. If you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, always read the ingredient list carefully for all products prior to consumption. If the ingredient list is not available on the product, check with the product manufacturer, or do not consume the product.

  • You may like...

    • KetoneRX Advanced Weight Loss Formula Dietary Supplement Capsules, 84 count

      $824

    • 30 Day Diet Dietary Supplement Capsules, 60ct

      $1988

    • Relacore Extra Maximum Strength Tablets Dietary Supplement, 72 count

      $2075

    • Green Tea Fat Burner Dietary Supplement , 90ct

      $998

    • Metabolife Extreme Energy Dietary Supplement, 50ct

      $1008

    • JavaSLIM Green Coffee Extract Capsules, 80 count

      $788

    • Creative Bioscience Green Coffee Bean Pure Extract Veggie Capsules, 800mg, 60 count

      $1988

    • Green Tea Hawaii Original Instant Green Tea Dietary Supplement, 0.14 oz, 12 count

      $1167

    • Mommy's Bliss Apple Gripe Water Dietary Supplement, 4 fl oz

      $898

    • eAC 1234 Energy Appetite Control Capsules, 60ct

      $1988

    • Equate Maximum Strength Estroblend Menopause Support Caplets, 28 count

      $1098

    • Pure Health Garcinia Cambogia

      $998

    • Centrum Ultra Women, Multivitamin / Multimineral, 200ct

      $1774

    • Spring Valley Probiotic Multi-Enzyme Digestive Formula Tablets, 200 count

      $698

    • Poise Hourglass Shape Moderate Absorbency Regular Length Bladder Protection Pads, 54ct

      $1184

    • Estroven Plus Mood & Memory Menopause Supplement, 30 ct

      $938

    • Spring Valley Prenatal Multivitamin/Multimineral Dietary Supplement Tablets, 240 count

      $800

    • i-cool+D for Menopause + Bone Building Dietary Supplement Tablets, 45 count

      $2033

    • Spring Valley Cranberry plus Vitamin C Dietary Supplement Softgels, 84mg, 100 pc, 2 ct

      $600

    • One A Day Women's Prenatal with DHA Multivitamin Tablets & Liquid Gels, 60 count

      $1446

    • Natures Way Urinary with Cranberry 450 mg 100 Capsules

      $1943

    • Ryders Eyewear Swamper Photo Black Orange Lens Sunglasses

      $5012

    • Ryders Eyewear Swamper Photo Demi Brown Lens Sunglasses

      $5012

    • Caribbean Sun Saba Polarized Sunglasses

      $7800

      Out of stock online

    • Emjoi Gently Silken Epilator, AP-9PB

      $3496

      Out of stock online

    • TENA Classic Plus Brief, XL, (Pack of 4)

      $4988

    • Degree Clinical Protection Active Clean Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, 1.7 oz, 2 count

      $1397

      Out of stock online

    • Ryders Eyewear Binder Interx White with Blue Frame Sunglasses

      $4405

    • Ryders Eyewear Akira Polar Xtal Black/Brown Lens Sunglasses

      $5012

    • Ryders Eyewear Cadence Polar Metal Grey Lens Sunglasses

      $5012

    • Ryders Eyewear Dune Traction Demi Brown Lens Sunglasses

      $2650

    • Foster Grant Women's Plastic Reading Glasses, Scarlet Brown

      $588

    • Juzo 3922DFIPRI 4 Genu 404 Knee Brace 2 with Bilateral Stays Inverted Horseshoe Pad Right

      $8477

    • Magic Straws 4100-23364 Chocolate Magic Straws - 24 pack

      $2527

    • DDI 11 Energy Shot Citrus Flavor- Case of 12

      $3328

    • Health Care 315384 Child Fruit Apap Tabs- Case of 24

      $4610

    • Stevia Extract Clear Liquid Sweet Leaf 2 oz Liquid

      $1124

    • Aconitum Napellus 6X Boericke & Tafel 100 Tabs

      $461

    • Milk Thistle Seed Gaia Herbs 60 Veg Cap

      $1799

    • Baby Organics Don't Be Rash Diaper Cream Desert Essence 3 oz Cream

      $657

    • Turmeric One Daily Solaray 30 VCaps

      $896

    • Boericke and Tafel Smoke Free Naturally 100 Tablets

      $1964

    • Natures Way Echinacea Goldenseal 100 Capsules

      $2207

    • Christophers Hawthorn Berry Heart Syrup 16 fl oz

      $4476

    • Hylands Carbo Vegetabilis 30x 250 Tablets

      $1965

    • King Bio Homeopathic Headache Relief 2 fl oz

      $2512

    • Kare-N-Herbs Kare-N-Liver 40 Tablets

      $2444

    • Barlean's Organic Oils Olive Leaf Complex Barlean's 90 Softgel

      $2870

    • Nutra Skin & Joint MSM Cream Nutra Research Intl 1 oz Cream

      $796

    • Clif 53073 Clif Strawberry Clif Shot- 24x1. 2 OZ

      $4260

    • Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Watermelon 90 Gummies

      $2304

    • Herb Pharm Eleuthero Liquid Herbal Extract 4 fl oz

      $4448

    • Juzo 2002CGRSB VI 30-40mmHg Soft Sleeve Regular - Silicone Beige

      $5917

    • Futurebiotics 0744730 ThinkFast - 60 Vegetarian Capsules

      $4032

    • Arjuna Heart Ayush Herbs 90 Caps

      $2941

    • Healthy Origins Phase 2 Starch Neutralizer 500 mg 90 Capsules

      $2158

    • Herb Pharm Kava 4 oz

      $4958

    • Dr. Goodpet Homeopathic Medicine Ear Relief 1 fl. oz. with dropper 208158

      $2767

    • Species SPECISOL02. 7CHOCPW Isolyze Isolate 2. 05 lb Chocolate

      $6134

    • Acai Resveratrol Ultimate ORAC Antioxidant Supreme HealthForce Nutritionals 360

      $6745

    • Tung Hai Chlorella 1000mg LifeTime 90 Tabs

      $1222

    • Healthy Soy Protein (Pro-95 & Pro Life Soy Replacement)-Vanilla Bean Nature's Li

      $3941

    • Propolis - Raw, Unprocessed - 70,000 mg Y.S. Organic Bee Farms 2.5 oz Powder

      $1112

    • Juzo 2001MXCGLSB23 VI 20-30mmHg Soft Sleeve Max Long - Silicone Chestnut

      $5837