Question:

Is there a supplement recommended for weight loss?

– Christian H.

Answer:

Speaking only of pills, tablets or individual ingredients (not enhanced protein powders) there are a few items that show promise for weight reduction. Do not take these as my recommendation or endorsement — I am just trying to answer your question. Because there is a lack of strong evidence of efficacy, none can be recommended specifically for weight loss. Most physicians agree that no weight-loss supplements meet criteria for recommended use.

GREATEST research / LARGE number of participants

  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – minimal effect on body weight and body fat
  • Green tea extract (Camellia sinensis) – possible modest effect on body weight
  • White kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) – possible modest effect on body weight and body fat

FEW studies / SMALL sample sizes

  • African mango (Irvingia Gabonesis) – possible modest reduction in body weight and waist circumference
  • Caffeine (as added or from Guarana, Kola nut, Yerba Mate…) – possible modest effect on body weight over time
  • Green coffee bean extract – possible modest effect on body weight over time

References:

  1. “Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss” fact sheet by NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, updated Nov. 1, 2017 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  2. Common Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss. RB Saper, DM Eisenberg and RS Phillips. American Family Physician. 2004 Nov 1: 70(9): 1731-1738

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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