Long marketed as the boost your body needs in its weight loss journey, a huge study has shown there is insufficient evidence that diet supplements actually work.
In the first global analysis of the effectiveness of herbal and dietary weight loss supplements, researchers have found little evidence to support their claims, in an industry that’s valued at $150 billion in 2020.
The study’s lead researcher, Erica Bessell from the University of Sydney, presented the findings to the European Congress on Obesity (ECO), was the first global review in 19 years. It comprised of two literature reviews including 121 randomised trials in more than 10,000 overweight or obese participants.
“Our rigorous assessment of the best available evidence finds that there is insufficient evidence to recommend these supplements for weight loss,” the lead author of the study, Erica Bessell told Medical News Today.
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“Even though most supplements appear safe for short-term consumption, they are not going to provide weight loss that is clinically meaningful.”
The study tested:
•Ephedra, a metabolism stimulant
•White kidney bean
•Yerba maté, the herbal tea derived from the Ilex paraguariensis plant
•East Indian Globe Thistle
“Herbal and dietary supplements might seem like a quick fix solution to weight problems, but people need to be aware of how little we actually know about them,” continued Bessell.
“Very few high-quality studies have been done on some supplements, with little data on long-term effectiveness. What’s more, many trials are small and poorly designed, and some don’t report on the composition of the supplements being investigated.”
Indeed, one article published in The Conversation examined studies of weight loss supplements sold in Australia and found that none of the five were proven to accelerate weight loss.
Sorry pals, looks like it’s good old-fashioned eating right and exercising.