Weight Loss Pills/Supplements – What Works?

Weight Loss Pills/Supplements - What Works

Last week we discussed fad diets, such as the grapefruit diet, the HCG diet, and the raw diet. Fad diets promise more than they deliver – most are ineffective and some are downright dangerous. We’ve also talked about fad weight loss pills and supplements, what they claim and how they follow through on those claims.

This week, to conclude this series on weight loss diets and supplements, we’re discussing some weight loss drugs and supplements (such as extracts and drinks) that are actually considered to deliver on the promises they offer.

The Science Behind Weight Loss Supplements

Studies have shown that the easy part of dieting is initially losing the weight. The hardest part is keeping those pounds off. Why?

1With most fad diets and supplements,  when you lose quickly you’re mainly losing water. This means those lost pounds are going to more than likely find their way home again, right to your hips and belly! So in classifying a weight loss pill as “successful” what’s really being looked at is how much and how easily that lost weight stays lost.

2“All fat is challenging to get off, period,” says Howard J. Eisenson, MD, medical director of Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical Center. But “belly fat is not particularly tenacious fat to get rid of… it actually comes off fairly easily. Frankly, if you reduce calories and exercise more, you will lose weight everywhere — including your abdomen.”

Weight Loss Pills/Supplements – What Works?

These pills and supplements are approved of in most medical fields, and seen as being able to help you keep your lost weight off.

3Meridia. Meridia works by increasing brain chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine so people feel full sooner after they eat.

4Phentermine. It is actually not known how this medication helps people to lose weight. It may work by decreasing your appetite, increasing the amount of energy used by your body, or by affecting certain parts of the brain. This medication is an appetite suppressant and belongs to a class of drugs called sympathomimetic amines.

5Xenical. Xenical binds to fat cells in the gastrointestinal tract to prevent them from being absorbed, so the body eliminates about 30% of fat that is consumed.

6Hydroxycut. Hydroxycut has been around for more than a decade, and is currently one of the most popular weight loss supplements in the world. There are several different types, but the most common one is simply called “Hydroxycut.” Hydroxycut contains several ingredients that are claimed to help with weight loss, including caffeine and a few plant extracts. One study showed that it caused 21 lbs (9.5 kg) of weight loss over a 3 month period.

7Green Coffee Bean Extract. Green coffee bean extract is made of coffee beans that has not been roasted.  They contain two substances believed to help with weight loss, caffeine and chlorogenic acid. This extract works by utilizing caffeine, which can increase fat burning, and chlorogenic acid, which can slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut. Several human studies have shown that green coffee bean extract can help people lose weight.

8Glucomannan. This is a type of fiber found in the roots of the elephant yam, also called konjac. This supplement works by absorbing water, becoming gel-like. It “sits” in your gut and promotes a feeling of fullness, helping you eat fewer calories. 9Three human studies showed that glucomannan, combined with a healthy diet, can help people lose 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.5 kg) of weight in 5 weeks.

10Meratrim. Meratrim is actually a compound consisting of Sphaeranthus indicus and Garcinia mangostana. Researchers claim that Meratrim assists in weight loss maintenance by:

  • Make it harder for fat cells to multiply
  • Decrease the amount of fat that fat cells pick up from the bloodstream
  • Help fat cells burn stored fat

11A recent study found that after 8 weeks participants, who had been placed on a strict 2000 calorie diet, taking Meratrim lost much more weight than the placebo group.

12Green Tea Extract. Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements.This is because numerous studies have shown the main antioxidant in it, EGCG, to aid fat burning. Green tea extract is believed to increase the activity of norepinephrine, a hormone that helps you burn fat. Many human studies have shown that green tea extract can increase fat burning and cause fat loss, especially in the belly area

13Green Tea. Green tea has high amounts of antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. The composition of green tea includes:

  • Polyphenols
  • Catechins
  • EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate)
  • Minerals

These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.

Lose Belly Fat Fast

14The whole problem with fad diets and pills is that they tend promise immediate loss of belly fat, often without exercise, dieting and lifestyle change. So let’s look at a few things you can do when you need a flat stomach STAT.

  • Drink hot water and lemon. This drink will speed up your metabolism and digestive system when drank first thing in the morning. People have also claimed this drink gives them more energy.
  • Going for a day gluten-free or dairy-free.
  • Snack on pineapple. Bromelain, the enzyme in pineapple, is thought to assist in digestion by breaking down proteins in the stomach, according to the American Cancer Society. This helps to banish bloating. (Papaya is another fruit that works in similar ways in your body.)
  • Cut your intake of sodium. Sodium leads to bloating since it urges your body to retain water. Try not eating over 6 grams of salt a day.
  • Eat slowly. Quick intakes of air leads to bloating. Eating slowly reduces this intake.
  • Cut out the gum. Gum acts in the same way – causing your body to swallow more air, resulting in bloating.
  • No carbonation. Again – trapped air leads to bloating. Drink water instead.
  • Increase your fiber. Increasing your intake of fiber could help to banish bloating as fiber reduces inflammation because it helps your digestive system to run smoothly. If your digestive system is functioning to its full potential then you are less likely to experience bloating or constipation.
  • Watch your portions.
  • Cut out alcohol. Most alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and sugar tends to stick around.
  • Drink peppermint tea. This aids digestion by encouraging food to pass through the intestines quickly. Peppermint tea also cuts down on stomach gas.

In Conclusion…

Weight loss isn’t easy and it’s generally not quick. There are a few pills and supplements that have shown in studies that they keep their promises of weight loss that sticks. In conclusion, stay away from fad diets and drugs that promise everything without you having to do much more than ingest them. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, have an effective exercise plan, make the lifestyle changes you need to make, and before starting on ANY type of weight loss pill or supplement consult with your healthcare provider. Be smart, be patient and be fit!



1,2,3,5”The Belly Fat Burner: Reducing Your Waist Circumference,” Jeanie Lerche Davis,  https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/belly-fat-burden-reducing-your-waist-circumference#1

4”Phentermine HCL,” WebMD,  https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-4151/phentermine-oral/details

6,8,11”12 Popular Weight Loss Pills and Supplements Reviewed,” Kris Gunnars, BSC, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-weight-loss-pills-reviewed

7”The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when used long-term in overweight and obese people,” E. Thom,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18035001

8”Experiences with three different fiber supplements in weight reduction,” GS Birketvedt, M Shimshi, T Erling, J Florholmen,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15614200

10”Efficacy and tolerability of a novel herbal formulation for weight management,” JS Stern, J Peerson, AT Mishra, Rao Sadasiva, KP Rajeswari, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23784895

12”Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial,” P Auvichayapat, M Prapochanung, O Tunkamnerdthai, BO Sripanidkulchai, N Auvichayapat, B Thinkhamrop, S Kunhasura, S Wongpratoom, S Sinawat, P Hongprapas,  


13”Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review,”  Sabu M Chacko, Priya T Thambi, Ramadasan Kuttan, Ikuo Nishigaki,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/

14”12 Ways to Your Belly Flatter by the End of the Day,”  Bodyrock, https://www.bodyrock.tv/12-ways-make-belly-flatter-end-day/



Image Credit: system10weightloss.com

Post by Andrea Rogers