In 2011, Consumer Reports* learned from the FDA that since 2008, the FDA recalled over 400 spiked products because they were found to be dangerous for human ingestion and consumption. Many of these products were touted for weight loss, sexual enhancement and sports performance. Despite all the concerns with such products, there are a few that have met our tested and true criterion.
The ingredients for many weight loss or metabolic boosting products include green coffee bean extract, bitter orange, calcium, chitosan (from shells of crustaceans), ephedra (an herbal ingredient also known as ma huang and which contains ephedrine and other stimulant alkaloids), green tea, 7-keto DHEA, hydroxycitric acid (HCA) from the fruit Garcinia cambogia, hoodia (from the cactus-like plant Hoodia gordonii), pyruvate and L-carnitine (both of which are found and made in our bodies), the essential mineral chromium naturally found in animals, plants, and soil, and herbal stimulant blends.
Claims and Purported Use
These products are used by many folks to accelerate fat burning and weight loss or control appetite. The amount of evidence supporting the various weight loss ingredients varies. In most cases, the validation for their effects is not very strong and there are safety concerns regarding the use of some of them. At the same time, a few have been relatively effective.
Here’s what the research shows…
In 2012, study was published showing that people consuming 350 mg of green coffee bean extract before meals lost an average of 17.6 pounds while reducing body fat.
Calcium, chitosan, and L-carnitine are generally regarded as safe as is Chromium (Trivalent (III)) when taken at a dose of 200 mcg daily or less.
Green tea is also regarded to be safe, although it does have stimulant side-effects due to caffeine content.
Pyruvate and 1-dihydroxyacetone — DHA shows no serious side effects when taken orally, but large doses (over 5 grams per day) may cause abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may help with slimming by increasing the proportion of lean body mass (muscle) to fat — although it will not cause weight loss.
Bitter orange contains a stimulant, synephrine, which may cause hypertension, increased heart rate and cardiovascular toxicity. It can also cause photosensitivity and can interact with medications.
Caffeine/stimulant herbal blends, if used chronically, especially in large amounts, can produce tolerance, habituation (a decreased response after repeated use), psychological dependence, and other significant adverse effects.
Ephedra may cause high blood pressure, stroke and serious heart problems — particularly if used with caffeine. In 2004, ephedra became illegal to sell as a supplement in the U.S.
Hoodia, also is a red flag as a study with overweight woman showed increased nausea, vomiting and skin sensations, and increases in blood pressure and heart rate.
Stimulant laxatives will cause the loss of water, minerals, and electrolytes. Chronic use of them may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, kidney failure and even death.
Despite all the negative reports from a variety of weight loss accelerators, fat burners, and appetite controllers, a few products have proven themselves to be tested and true.
WEIGHT LOSS ACCELERATORS
Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements
 Vinson JA, Burnham BR, Nagendran MV. Randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:21-7.
 Belury MA, Kempa-Steczko A. Conjugated linoleic acid modulates hepatic lipid composition in mice. Lipids 1997; 32:199-204.
*additional references: Consumer Reports Health
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