5 Popular Weight Loss Pills and Supplements: Do They Work??

Overweight, and the more severe form obesity is a worldwide epidemic as it has become a major health problem.

Persons become overweight if they are consuming more calories (from food) than they are burning.

The body converts the excess calories into fat which is stored as adipose tissue.

Weight Loss Pills and Supplements

The WHO definition:

  • overweight: a BMI greater than or equal to 25
  • obesity: a BMI greater than or equal to 30

BMI is Body mass index commonly used to classify overweight and obesity. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).

The excess of body weight is a risk factor for many chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, cancers and endocrine illnesses.(study)

Premature death and disabilities have been associated with excess body weight.(study)

In addition to the health risk attributed to overweight, many industries (fashion, cosmetic, performing arts and sports) have placed a high emphasis on body image. The industry standard has put a lot of pressure on individuals to be “slim”.

There are various methods to deal with body fat and overweight. The rule of thumb is to burn more calories than you are taking in. The typical diet which restricts calories may yield some level of success with weight loss.

It is not unusual for the dieter to gain the weight back, often ending up with more weight than before. The aim should be to adopt a lifestyle that incorporates a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and a body fat burner.

Fat Burner and Weight Loss

Fat burner promotes weight loss

The addition of the fat burner promotes weight loss and gets rid of the stubborn belly fat. Another very common issue experienced by persons who diet is, after losing some of the excess weight initially, the body resists any additional weight loss even with the best efforts. Incorporating a fat burner gets the fat burning metabolism going again.

Fat burner supplements are mainly nutrients from herbs and foods which when taken along with a balanced diet and engaging in an exercise program, help to accelerate weight loss by increasing the body’s metabolism to burn body fat.

Some fat burner supplements have been banned as the FDA and other such analogous bodies require more research to establish the safety profile and recommended dosage. It is considered unethical to promote benefits of supplement or drugs that cannot be substantiated.

Six (6) Qualities of Safe Effective Fat Burners

1.   Cleansing and detoxification
2.   Increases lipolysis which is the breakdown of fat
3.   Increases thermogenesis which means the fat burning action
4.   Prevents fat absorption by blocking the same
5.   Energy boosting effect
6.   Established safety profile

Here are popular fat burning supplements which have been used for decades in different cultures  and have are being extensively researched:

Garcinia Cambogia Extract

Garcinia Cambogia Extract

the picture is from potentorganics.com

The fruit Garcinia Cambogia is also called Malabar tamarind, has a substance called hydroxycitric acid HCA.

This compound has the property of blocking the enzyme which turns carbohydrates into fat.(study) It may also be an appetite suppressant.

A Systematic Review from 2010. of Randomised Clinical Trials concluded that Garcinia extracts/HCA can cause short-term weight loss.

For best results, it is recommended to take 1.5 g three times a day on an empty stomach 30-60 minutes before meals.

Garcinia cambogia is not a stimulant and so does not interfere with mood and sleep.

The extract is not recommended for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Not enough is known about the effects of long-term use.


Raspberry Ketones

Raspberry Ketones health benefits

the picture is from manganaturals.com

The Raspberry Ketone is a naturally occurring compound (found in raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries) which has antioxidant and weight loss enhancing properties.

It is also blended with other fat burners including green tea, grapefruit extract and apple cider vinegar (Raspberry Ketone Plus).

In this study, the dietary administration of Raspberry Ketone to male mice has been reported to prevent high-fat-diet-induced elevation in body weight and to increase lipolysis in white adipocytes.

A study from 2013, which object was to determine the safety and efficacy of a multi-ingredient supplement containing primarily raspberry ketone, caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger and citrus aurantium, concluded that after eight weeks body weight of the 45 subjects was on average 2% lower, while fat mass was on average down by 7,8% and waist girth on average lower by 2%…

The high-fat burning ingredients account for the efficacy of the product. Raspberry Ketone has two outstanding dual properties; it is an anti-oxidant and gives metabolism a big boost.

There does not appear to be significant side effects from using raspberry ketones but research is needed to scientifically establish this.


Green Tea Extract

Green Tea Extract health benefits

the picture is from www.kenkotea.com.au

Green tea leaves have been used as a regular drink throughout the day to boost energy and burn calories. (study)

It has been a favorite fat loss aid as there is in many Asian countries it is part of the culture to enjoy a cup of green tea and extend hospitality to visitors by offering a strong cup of green tea.

Green tea is a popular anti-oxidant (the main antioxidant is EGCG) which counteracts the damaging free radicals which are responsible for tissue damage and premature aging.(study)

Green tea and green tea extract can cause weight loss: proved by many human studies like (study, study, study).

This extract is now widely available is pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food stores. There does not appear to be restriction and caution on frequency and quantity of its use.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid CLA

Conjugated Linoleic Acid CLA

the picture is from www.naturewise.com

CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid) is a healthy fatty acid found in meat and dairy products.

It has been found to be effective in reducing body fat and maintaining lean muscle mass. It also has anti-oxidant properties.(study)

It has been theorized that a deficiency of CLA in the western diet may be attributing to the overweight and obesity crisis.

It has long since been known that building muscle mass reduces fat deposits and storage.
This supplement is popular among body builders.


Green Coffee Bean Extract

Green Coffee Bean Extract health benefits

the picture is from www.healthplusprime.com

Unroasted coffee beans are high in the chemical chlorogenic acid.

Green coffee beans have been reported to burn fat fast by affecting how the body metabolizes sugar.

A Systematic Review of Randomised Clinical Trials reveals a significant difference in body weight in GCE compared with placebo (mean difference: −5,44 pounds).

The caffeine in green coffee beans can exacerbate medical conditions including irritable bowel syndrome IBS, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, anxiety and glaucoma.

We recommend that the extract is used in moderation to avoid possible side-effects.


Fat Burning Supplements Should be Combined With a Healthy Lifestyle Program

Fat Burning Supplements Should be Combined With a Healthy Lifestyle Program


Fat burning supplement accelerate the fat burning metabolism while at the same time boosting energy and giving you a feeling of well-being.

It has however been shown that fat burning supplements yield sustainable results when combined with a healthy lifestyle program.

Fluctuating weight caused by the rebound effect of chronic dieting can be addressed by committing to a holistic weight management program which should include:

1.    Eating healthy by having well-balanced meals with foods from the major food groups. It is important to consume more fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates should be selected from those with low glycemic index. Salt, sugar, low density lipids (fats) and trans fats must be reduced.

2.    Increased physical activity includes being generally more active and less sedentary. Fat burning exercises include a combination of aerobics and strength building exercises. Swimming, jogging, power walking, dancing are great aerobic exercises.

3.    Support from a therapist to address depression or any addictive habits, self-esteem issues or self-sabotaging behavior. It is not unusual for persons who are overweight or obese to struggle with emotion issues. Food is frequently used to substitute for feelings of inadequacy. Cognitive behavior therapy has been successfully used to normalize the individual’s relationship with food.

4.    Increase daily water intake and sports drinks with low sugar content. It is recommended to consume at least 8 glasses of water daily.

A Word of Caution

Weight Loss Pills and Supplements

You got to be careful about taking any metabolic stimulant for weight loss.

If you are pregnant it is not advisable for you to take any supplement which could result in weight loss. This is unsafe for both the woman and her unborn baby.  Similarly, if you are breastfeeding you should not take any supplement which could pass from you in the breast milk to the baby.

It is to be noted that fat burner supplements not only promotes weight loss but may also have the effect of lowering insulin in the blood and so diabetics should discuss with their healthcare provider whether it is safe to use a fat burning supplement as part of a weight loss program.

You must be very careful about the hype surrounding fat burners as some marketers promote these supplements as the “magic supplement” to melt stubborn belly fat without dieting and exercising.

Healthy eating and increased physical activity must not be trivialized as there are significant health benefits.

In isolated cases have been reported deaths associated with the use of fat burners. Not enough is known about these cases to determine the effect a particular fat burner had on the individual’s demise.

Bear in mind that almost all supplements and pharmaceuticals can potentially cause side effects.

This is difficult to predict due to the fact that a genetics, undiagnosed illnesses, pre-existing diseases and abuse/misuse of the supplement or drug can contribute to a bad or poor outcome.



Research all supplement and drugs before taking them.

Also, seek advice from your doctor or wellness practitioner who will assist you to determine if a fat burner is right for you.

We also recommend that once you have attained your weight loss goal that you reduce and then stop using the fat burner.

The lifestyle program will help you to maintain the healthy weight.


Researches and references