Weight-loss supplements a waste of money?

A new scientific review of 315 randomized-controlled trials of weight-loss supplements or alternative weight-loss therapies has been released. What did it show?

In my newest book, The Natural Medicines Handbook: The Truth about the Most Effective Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements for Common Conditions, I explain that no weight loss supplements are, in general, considered safe and effective for weight loss.

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Now, according to HealthDay News, a large new study agrees and reveals that there is, indeed, “no good evidence weight loss supplements work.”

The study adds, “Losing weight is hard, but many weight loss supplements promise to make the journey easy. Unfortunately, there’s little high-quality research to back these claims, a new study shows.

And an estimated 34% of Americans who want to lose weight have tried one, according to the researchers. Unfortunately, the only thing losing weight or getting skinny is the wallets or the consumer.

To find out if 14 weight loss supplements and/or alternative therapies like acupuncture do what they claim, researchers identified 315 randomized-controlled trials, which are considered the gold standard in clinical research.

Of these, 52 studies were deemed unlikely to be biased.

Just 16 studies showed differences in weight between participants receiving treatment and those in the placebo arm.

The weight loss in these studies ranged widely, from less than 1 pound to just under 11 pounds.

Weight loss was not seen consistently for any one weight loss treatment, and many had conflicting results, with some studies showing weight loss and others showing no such effect.

“The dietary supplement industry is a Wild West of herbs and over-the-counter pills that have a lot of claims and little to no evidence supporting those claims,” study co-author Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C., told HealthDay News. “We all want a magic pill, but dietary supplements aren’t the magic pills that they are marketed to be.”

The study was reported in the journal Obesity and a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity and published in the International Journal of Obesity that also reported that weight loss supplements were mostly ineffective.

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