Love It, Like It, Hate It: Weight loss supplements

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From infomercials to talk shows to magazine ads, there’s no shortage of supplements that promise effortless weight loss – without cravings, and without overhauling your lifestyle.  Most get more hype than they deserve, and some are downright dangerous.  So if you’re considering a weight loss supplement as part of your New Year’s plan, you’ll want to tune in as Molly gives us the Skinny on the best and worst weight loss supplements!

As always, check with your doctor or pharmacist before beginning any supplement regime, as many can interfere with medications and over-the-counter supplements.



The Science: 700 mg or 1050 mg resulted in average weight loss of 3.3 to 4.4 pounds in six weeks.  Taking 180 to 200 mg daily resulted in average loss of 5.5 pounds more than those who took a placebo.

Side effects/Precautions: Green coffee bean extract appears safe, but keep in mind that green coffee is a source of caffeine, and too much can lead side effects related to caffeine.


Taking 1.8 to 4.5 grams CLA daily has been shown to significantly decrease body fat & may help increase lean mass





The science:  Appears to inhibit enzymes that digest carbs; may decrease carb absorption and result in fewer calories absorbed. 445 mg daily resulted in average loss of 6.6 pounds in 30 days, compared to 0.8 pounds lost by control group.

But another study used a higher dose of white kidney bean extract (1500 mg twice daily) for eight weeks and did not result in significant weight loss.  Six other studies showed no significant difference in weight loss.

Side effects/Precautions:  White kidney bean extract appears to be safe, though it may cause side effects like nausea, flatulence, constipation, and stomach pains.




The science:  To date, all research on raspberry ketone & weight loss has been done on animals – there hasn’t been a single published peer-reviewed study in humans that looked specifically at raspberry ketone and weight loss.

The only study in people used a supplement that contained five other ingredients, including caffeine, capsaicin, and bitter orange, all of which might help with weight loss.  In animal studies, however, taking raspberry ketone has been shown to increase fat metabolism and reduce obesity.

Side effects/Precautions:   While it’s likely safe, no clinical research has evaluated safety or side effects; Raspberry ketone may interfere with medications, including blood thinners like Coumadin.



YOHIMBE.  It has been associated with serious side effects including heart attack, seizure, arrhythmia.  Plus the science just doesn’t support that it’s even effective as a weight loss aid.

HYDROXYCUT HARDCORE ELITE & XENADRINE XT.  Contain 270 mg caffeine per two capsules, plus contain herbs including yohimbe. Directions call for gradual increase to 4 capsules daily.

LIPORUSH.  Contains 275 mg caffeine in a single capsule.  Also contains guggulsterones, which may bind with estrogen and progesterone receptors, sowomen with hormone sensitive conditions (e.g. breast cancer, endometriosis) should avoid guggulsterones. Guggulsterone may also interfere with thyroid medications.


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