Weight loss supplements are extremely popular nowadays – in fact, the supplement industry is booming. The global dietary supplements market was valued at 137 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, and is expected to reach a global market value of 185.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2025.
There’s a reason why weight loss pills are so popular: sometimes, they work.
Do weight loss supplements really work?
Prescription weight loss pills or supplements may help people with obesity shed off 5% to 10% of their body weight.
Although supplements do often contain ingredients considered to be ‘fat burners’, they may not work for everybody in the same way and most probably not alone, but in combination with other lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise, and sleep.
There’s little scientific evidence that looks into the effectiveness of weight-loss supplements and pills. Also, while they may seem like a quick and easy option, they are not always safe remedies.
What the experts are saying
When it comes to weight loss, there’s no magic pill. There is no one-size-fits-all supplement, herb or food that can help manage a global pandemic such as obesity. Weight-loss supplements may be helpful when used in combination with a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet – but they shouldn’t be considered replacements for diet or exercise.
A new study published in the journal Obesity has found that dietary supplements do not result in dramatic weight loss as they claim. Dietary supplements and alternative therapies for weight loss have a limited high-quality evidence base of efficacy.
Sharon Zarabi, RD, program director at Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health in New York City and Westchester, said the study outcome was not surprising “because obesity is a very complex disease and there will never be a magic pill to cure” it.
Australian researchers also conducted a global review of herbs and supplements for weight loss, examining 121 trials that collected data from nearly 10,000 participants. They found that taking these pills did not result in clinically meaningful weight loss – the participants lost in average no more than 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds).
The Australian researchers were also concerned about the safety of some weight loss supplements. Since the supplements industry is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they have little knowledge about its transparency; it can also be difficult to truly test these supplements accurately for effectiveness and safety of the manufacturing procedures (GMP).
Overall, experts agree that none of these products will work miracles without healthy changes to your diet and exercise habits. To lose weight, most people need to cut off calories, exercise more and pay more attention to foods that are high in protein and fiber.
Also, with an ever-increasing variety of weight loss ingredients and products out there, it’s nearly impossible to research them all to evaluate the pros and cons and determine which — if any — might work for you. You will have to try them yourself.
However, if you want something safe and potentially effective, there are a few supplements that may help.
Best weight loss ingredients
Here are some of the best fat burning ingredients available on the market today:
Caffeine – research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that caffeine taken at two hour intervals over a 12 hour period could help speed up metabolism by up to 11% during this period.
Green tea extract is another popular weight loss ingredient. Green tea extract is high in caffeine and Polyphenol Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which combined with caffeine can increase thermogenesis, or burn calories to produce heat.
Soluble fiber – also a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements, helps reduce hunger, increases thermogenesis and the feelings of fullness, and helps to regulate the appetite.
Apple cider vinegar pills could potentially lead to 2 to 4 pounds of weight loss if a supplement is taken before meals to help curb appetite and burn fat.
Protein powders for weight loss are very popular nowadays. Some studies found that consuming a higher than usual amount of protein may help you lower your body fat, keep lean muscle, feel full and lose weight.
Other popular fat burners include garcinia cambogia extract, raspberry ketones, glucomannan, conjugated linoleic acid, guar gum, and chitosan.