A new examination of hundreds of weight-loss supplements has led to a lean and mean conclusion: There is no magic pill for obesity.
Oregon State University researchers analyzed studies of the effectiveness of supplements that drive the nation’s $2.4 billion weight-loss industry and found that no research to indicate even a single product results in significant weight loss.
In fact, the investigators found: Some products carry significant health risks.
The study, published online in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, noted a few products – such as green tea, fiber supplements and low-fat dairy items – have been shown to produce modest weight loss (typically 3-4 pounds). But they are typically consumed with a low-calorie diet.
The findings suggest the long-standing weight loss advice – eat less, move more – is probably the best way to lose weight.
“For most people, unless you alter your diet and get daily exercise, no supplement is going to have a big impact,” said Melinda Manore, an Ohio State nutrition and exercise specialist and the study’s lead investigator.
Manore examined supplements that claim to act by boosting metabolism, blocking fat or carbohydrate absorption, changing body-fat composition and suppressing appetite. She found many products had never been tested in clinical trials for effectiveness and most produced less than a 2-pound weight loss, compared to placebos.
Manore said studies have consistently shown the key to weight loss is to eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats; limit high-fat foods and exercise regularly.