https://authoritynutrition.com/ – Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit. An extract from the fruit is a popular weight loss supplement. But does it really work?
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Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit also known as Malabar tamarind.
The skin contains a large amount of a Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) which is the biologically active substance thought to be responsible for its effects. The supplement extract is taken from the skin after it has been dehydrated.
Manufacturers primarily claim it helps by blocking the fat-producing enzyme Citrate Lyase. This makes it harder for the body to produce fat. Theoretically, it may also reduce food cravings.
But does it actually work when put to the test?
Fortunately, garcinia cambogia has been tested many times in humans.
The best evidence available is a review of 9 studies that specifically looked at its effects on weight loss.
These were all randomized controlled trials, which compared garcinia cambogia against placebo (dummy pills).
The graph shows the weight loss results from these 9 human studies.
The blue bars represent the garcinia cambogia groups, the orange bars represent the placebo groups.
As you can see, some studies didn’t find any difference, but quite a few studies showed significantly greater weight loss in the garcinia cambogia groups.
The average weight loss caused by garcinia cambogia was about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) greater than placebo.
But many of the studies were small, had a number of design flaws and were short in duration (typically a maximum of 12 weeks).
Interestingly, the single largest study with 135 participants did not find any effect of garcinia cambogia. Both groups lost a similar amount of weight.
So if garcinia cambogia really works for weight loss, then the effect is fairly small and unreliable, and probably only lasts a short time.
On the positive side, a 2012 review of the safety of garcinia cambogia, did not find any serious side effects. However, people who take it are about twice as likely to experience digestive problems.
In any case, you should consult with a doctor before taking it if you have a medical condition or are taking any medication. Also, avoid taking it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The reality is that garcinia cambogia may, at best, help you lose about 2 additional pounds (or just less than 1 kg) over a period of up to 12 weeks. Very underwhelming when you consider how much it will cost you over that time period.
But is it really that surprising? As with most weight loss supplements, it won’t be particularly effective on its own. You still have to consistently eat healthy, exercise and sleep well, for the long-term.
Short-term diets and pills only give you short-term results.
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Study mentioned in video:
Study 1: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21197150