Do Dietary Supplements Help with Weight Loss?


Dietary supplements are all the rage these days. For those who are serious about reaching a healthy weight, it can be extremely tempting to take the advice of various celebrity “experts” and try to look for an easy solution. Don’t be fooled, though. If you’re about to take some advice from Dr. Oz, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

That’s because, try as they might, scientists and researchers have been unable to find a magical drug or supplement that suddenly makes losing weight easy and fun. Sure, someone might try and sell you on the joys of weight loss supplements, but by and large, the only thing you’ll lose with supplements like Garcinia Cambogia, green coffee bean extract and raspberry keytones is wallet weight.

Garcinia Cambogia

First up, Garcinia Cambogia. Overall, this is a supplement you’ll want to steer clear of. A look at more than a dozen clinical trials using Garcinia Cambogia revealed that, unsurprisingly, most were faulty. In other words, the researchers involved in the study neglected to follow some piece of basic protocol. In fact, of all the studies that were examined (over 20), only a handful were actually completed in something approaching a professional manner, and of those that met basic requirements for scientific reliability, none found a significant link between Garcinia Cambogia or Garcinia extract and weight loss. A conclusive link, however, was found between Garcinia extract and, “headache, skin rash, common cold, and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms.”

Green coffee bean extract

Just like with Garcinia extract, actual, scientific studies that attempt to prove how useful green coffee bean extract is in losing weight all cite pre-existing studies’ “poor methodological quality” as an impediment to getting conclusive answers. In the case of Green Coffee Bean Extract, the particular hurdle was sample size. See, when scientists and researchers are doing a study on any topic, the most believable and reliable studies include extremely large sample sizes. That allows for those conducting the studies to get as much information as possible and incorporate as much data as possible into their conclusions. When you find a study with a small sample size, the odds are good that their results won’t be as reliable. So, how does this relate to the topic at hand?

Easy: According to one study, “All the RCTs involving the use of [green coffee bean extract] which have been conducted so far have very small sample sizes, with the largest number of participants being 62 in one trial.” In other words, pretty much any data these studies proclaim to have discovered is pretty unreliable. Fortunately, though, if you’re still dead set on trying green coffee bean extract, you can rest comfortably knowing that there don’t appear to be any negative side effects (unless you count its inability to help with major weight loss to be a negative side effect …).

Raspberry ketones

Of all three options, research suggests that supplements with raspberry ketones may be the most helpful. One study conducted over the course of three weeks even stated that participants, “showed a significant decrease in body fat percentage of high treatment individuals upon completion of a three-week raspberry ketone supplementation regiment.”

While that may sound promising, the study follows up that bit of good news with a very long list of reasons not to attribute weight loss miracles to raspberry ketones. Those reasons include a small sample size, the lack of human research done surrounding raspberry ketones, potential sampling bias, and even the fact that “raspberry ketone supplementation cannot be isolated as the sole determinant of the results of the study, nor can a causal relationship be determined.”

So, there you have it. As depressing as it may be to read, your best bet for losing weight in a healthy and effective manner is to eat right and exercise and not rely on the help of a bunch of hardly proven gimmicks.