Weight loss supplements losing credibility?

Weight loss supplements and aids flood drug store shelves promising to help burn fat, increase metabolism, block fat absorption, or suppress your appetite.

These claims are often enticing and, “In 2008 around 34 percent of overweight or obese individuals in the United States reported using a dietary weight-loss supplement,” according to a scholarly review by Melinda Manore from the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

The review also cites that, “In 2010 U.S. consumers spent over $2.4 billion on dietary supplements and meals replacements aimed at weight loss.”

“Dietary weight-loss supplements vary in the evidence supporting their claims. Some products have been extensively tested and show modest effects, but many have had either no or limited RCT trials examine their effectiveness.”

Types of supplements are categorized as absorption blockers (fat and carbohydrate), stimulants, changing body composition (nutrient partitioning) and appetite suppressants.

“A number of supplements such as green tea, fiber, and low-fat dairy products may complement a healthy lifestyle to prevent weight gain over time.”

The modestly effectively results obtained from supplements can usually be found in the ingredients of foods you can buy yourself. Organic low-fat milk, green tea and whole grain fiber all have the properties sought after in supplements, but are naturally occurring.

 “It is the responsibility of the health profession to educate the public on diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes for weight loss or maintenance,” Manore says.


This scholarly review was published in the April 2012 issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism