Dr Oz Said It, So It Must Be True?

Is Garcinia Cambogia really a miracle weight loss pill?  This supplement has enjoyed huge sales after Dr. Oz introduced it as “The newest, fastest fat buster” on his show.  Does it really work?  Hardly.

Garcinia Cambogia is a small tropical fruit that grows in Indonesia and has long been used in traditional recipes as a curry condiment.  The active ingredient in this fruit extract is called Hydroxycitric Acid, or HCA.  HCA supplements supposedly act as an appetite suppressant and block fat synthesis, which Dr. Oz claimed can “bust your body fat for good”.

In 2011, The Journal of Obesity published a scientific review of the studies on HCA as a weight loss supplement. Many studies had to be excluded because they didn’t meet scientific criteria, but the review was able to pull together the results from 9 randomised clinical trials. The results showed that taking a dose of 1000-2800mg of HCA daily, for about 8 weeks produced an average 2 pound weight loss after 8 weeks.  Ok so it might work a little, but it is hardly a noticeable result.

The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection stated that the scientific community does not support Dr Oz’s miracle weight loss claims at a hearing in 2014.  Dr. Oz admitted that he has to be “passionate” to engage his audience. “When we write a script, we need to generate enthusiasm and engage the viewer” Oz explained.  So if we hear about it on TV, it’s going to be a little more colourful, ok that’s honest. 

Keep in mind that dietary supplements are not regulated like food and medications, which means that no one actually checks that supplements actually contain what they say they contain.  When Consumer Labs checked 13 major brands of Garcinia Cambogia, they found that only half of them actually contained the stated dose on the label.  Buyer beware, what you see is not what you get at health stores and online supplement sites. 

So, even if HCA did work, how do you know that your supplement actually contains any or enough HCA?  How do you even know if your supplement isn’t tainted with another ingredient that could be harmful or even illegal?  Unfortunately, we don’t know.  This is why athletes in particular need to be very cautious about taking any supplements, or run the risk of inadvertently testing positive for doping. 

It should come as no surprise to us, that there is no quick and easy diet pill.  In fact, I would argue that by taking a diet pill we might be inclined to eat more freely because subconsciously we might lean on the diet pill to do all the hard work. 

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