12 popular weight loss pills and supplements reviewed



There are many different weight loss solutions out there.


This includes all kinds of pills, medications and natural supplements.


It is claimed that these help you lose weight, or at least make it easier to lose weight in combination with other methods.


They tend to work through one or more of these mechanisms:




  1. Reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for you eat Fewer calories


  2. Reduce absorption of nutrients like fat, making you drink Fewer calories


  3. Increase fat burningmaking you burn more calories


Here are the 12 most popular pills and supplements for weight loss, reviewed by science.


1. Garcinia Cambogia Extract


Review of pills and supplements to lose weight


Garcinia cambogia became popular around the world after appearing on the Dr. Oz program in 2012.


It is a small, green, pumpkin-shaped fruit.


The skin of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This is the active ingredient of garcinia cambogia extract, which is marketed as a diet pill.


How does it work: Studies in animals show that it can inhibit an enzyme that produces fat in the body and increase serotonin levels, which could help reduce cravings (1, 2).


Effectiveness: One study with 130 people compared garcinia with a fictitious pill. There was no difference in weight or percentage of body fat between the groups (3).


A 2011 review that examined 12 studies on garcinia cambogia found that, on average, it caused a weight loss of approximately 2 pounds (0.88 kg) for several weeks (4).


Side effects: There are no reports of serious side effects, but some reports of mild digestive problems.


Bottom line: Although garcinia cambogia can cause moderate weight loss, the effects are so small that they probably will not even be noticed.


2. Hydroxycut


Hydroxycut has been around for more than a decade, and is currently one of the most popular weight loss supplements in the world.


There are several different types, but the most common is simply called "Hydroxycut".


How does it work: It contains several ingredients that are claimed to help with weight loss, including caffeine and some plant extracts.


Effectiveness: One study showed that he caused 21 pounds (9.5 kg) of weight loss over a period of 3 months (5).


Side effects: If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may experience anxiety, tremors, tremors, nausea, diarrhea, and irritability.


Bottom line: Unfortunately, there is only one study on this supplement and there is no data on long-term effectiveness. More research is needed.


3. Caffeine


Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive substance in the world (6).


It is found naturally in coffee, green tea and dark chocolate, and is added to many processed foods and beverages.


Caffeine is a well-known metabolic stimulant, and is often added to commercial supplements to lose weight.


How does it work: Short-term studies have shown that caffeine can increase metabolism by 3-11% and increase fat burning by up to 29% (7, 8, 9, 10).


Effectiveness: There are also some studies that show that caffeine can cause modest weight loss in humans (11, 12).


Side effects: In some people, high amounts of caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, tremors, irritability, nausea, diarrhea and other symptoms. Caffeine is also addictive and can reduce the quality of your sleep.


There really is no need to take a supplement or a caffeinated pill. The best sources are quality coffee and green tea, which also have antioxidants and other health benefits.


Bottom line: Caffeine can increase metabolism and increase fat burning in the short term. However, a tolerance to the effects can develop quickly.


4. Orlistat (Alli)


Orlistat is a pharmaceutical drug, sold without a prescription under the name of Alli, and under prescription as Xenical.


How does it work: This weight loss pill works by inhibiting the breakdown of fat in the intestine, which causes you to eat fewer calories from fat.


Effectiveness: According to a major review of 11 studies, orlistat can increase weight loss by 6 pounds (2.7 kg) compared to a sham pill (13).


Other benefits: Orlistat has been shown to slightly reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 37% in one study (14, 15).


Side effects: This medication has many digestive side effects, such as soft and oily stools, flatulence, frequent bowel movements that are difficult to control and others. It can also contribute to the deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K.


It is generally recommended to follow a low-fat diet while taking orlistat, to minimize side effects.


Interestingly, a low-carbohydrate diet (without medications) has been shown to be as effective as the combination of orlistat and a low-fat diet (16).


Bottom line: Orlistat, also known as Alli or Xenical, can reduce the amount of fat you absorb from your diet and help you lose weight. It has many side effects, some of which are very unpleasant.


5. Raspberry Ketones


The Raspberry Ketone is a substance found in raspberries, which is responsible for its distinctive smell.


A synthetic version of raspberry ketones is sold as a supplement to lose weight.


How does it work: In fat cells isolated from rats, raspberry ketones increase the breakdown of fat and increase the levels of a hormone called adiponectin, which is thought to be related to weight loss (17).


Effectiveness: There is not a single study about raspberry ketones in humans, but a study in rats with massive doses showed that they reduced weight gain (18).


Side effects: They can make your belches smell like raspberries.


Bottom line: There is no evidence that raspberry ketones cause weight loss in humans, and studies of rats that show that it works use massive doses.


6. Green coffee bean extract


Green coffee beans are simply ordinary coffee beans that have not been toasted.


They contain two substances that are believed to help with weight loss, caffeine and chlorogenic acid.


How does it work: Caffeine can increase fat burning and chlorogenic acid can slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the intestine.


Effectiveness: Several studies in humans have shown that green coffee extract can help people lose weight (19, 20).


A review of 3 studies found that the supplement caused people to lose 5.4 pounds more (2.5 kg) than the placebo, a false pill (21).


Other benefits: Green coffee extract can help reduce blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure. It is also high in antioxidants (22, 23, 24, 25).


Side effects: It can cause the same side effects as caffeine. Chlorogenic acid in it can also cause diarrhea, and some people may be allergic to green coffee beans (26).


Bottom line: Green coffee extract can cause moderate weight loss, but keep in mind that many of the studies were sponsored by the industry.


7. Glucomannan


Glucomannan is a type of fiber found in the roots of the elephant yam, also called konjac.


How does it work: The glucomannan absorbs water and becomes a gel. It "sits" in your stomach and promotes a feeling of fullness, helping you eat fewer calories (27).


Effectiveness: Three human studies showed that glucomannan, combined with a healthy diet, can help people lose 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.5 kg) in 5 weeks (28).


Other benefits: Glucomannan is a fiber that can nourish friendly bacteria in the intestine. It can also lower blood sugar, blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and is very effective against constipation (29, 30, 31).


Side effects: It can cause swelling, flatulence and loose stools, and may interfere with some oral medications if taken at the same time.


It is important to take glucomannan about half an hour before meals, with a glass of water.


You can find an objective review of glucomannan in this article.


Bottom line: Studies consistently show that glucomannan fiber, when combined with a healthy diet, can help people lose weight. It also leads to improvements in several health markers.


8. meratrim


Meratrim is a newcomer to the diet pills market.


It is a combination of two plant extracts that can change the metabolism of fat cells.


How does it work: It is said that it hinders the multiplication of fat cells, decreases the amount of fat they extract from the bloodstream and helps them burn stored fat.


Effectiveness: So far, only one study has been conducted on Meratrim. A total of 100 obese people underwent a strict 2000-calorie diet, either with Meratrim or a dummy pill (32).


After 8 weeks, the Meratrim group had lost 11 pounds (5.2 kg) of weight and 4.7 inches (11.9 cm) of their waists. They also improved their quality of life and reduced blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.


Side effects: No side effects have been reported.


For a detailed review of Meratrim, read this article.


Bottom line: One study showed that Meratrim caused weight loss and had other health benefits. However, the study was sponsored by the industry and more research is needed.


9. Green tea extract


Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements.


This is because numerous studies have shown that the main antioxidant, EGCG, helps burn fat.


How does it work: It is believed that green tea extract increases the activity of norepinephrine, a hormone that helps burn fat (33).


Effectiveness: Many studies in humans have shown that green tea extract can increase fat burning and cause fat loss, especially in the belly area (34, 35, 36, 37).


Side effects: The green tea extract is generally well tolerated. It contains some caffeine and can cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to caffeine.


In addition, all the health benefits of drinking green tea should also be applied to green tea extract.


Bottom line: Green tea and green tea extract can increase fat burning a bit and help lose abdominal fat.


10. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)


Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, has been a popular supplement for fat loss for years.


It is one of the "healthiest" trans fats, and is found naturally in some fatty foods of animals such as cheese and butter.


How does it work: CLA can reduce appetite, increase metabolism and stimulate the breakdown of body fat (38, 39).


Effectiveness: In a major review of 18 different studies, the CLA caused a weight loss of about 0.2 pounds (0.1 kg) per week, for up to 6 months (40).


According to another 2012 review study, the CLA can cause you to lose about 3 pounds (1.3 kg) of weight, compared to a simulated pill (41).


Side effects: CLA can cause several digestive side effects and can have long-term harmful effects, potentially contributing to fatty liver, insulin resistance and increased inflammation.


Bottom line: CLA is an effective supplement to lose weight, but it can have long-term detrimental effects. The small amount of weight loss is not worth the risk.


11. Forskolin


Forskolin is an extract of a plant in the mint family, which is said to be effective in losing weight.


How does it work: It is thought to elevate the levels of a compound within cells called cAMP, which can stimulate fat burning (42).


Effectiveness: One study in 30 overweight and obese men showed that forskolin reduced body fat and enhanced muscular tissue mass, while having no effect on body weight. Another study in 23 overweight women found no effects (43, 44).


Side effects: There are very limited data on the safety of this supplement or the risk of side effects.


Bottom line: The two small studies on Forskolin have proven contradictory results. It is best to avoid this supplement until more research is done.


12. Bitter Orange / Synephrine


A type of orange called bitter orange contains the compound synephrine.


Synephrine is related to ephedrine, which used to be a popular ingredient in several formulations of weight loss pills.


However, the FDA has banned ephedrine as an ingredient to lose weight due to serious side effects.


How does it work: Synephrine shares similar mechanisms with ephedrine, but is less potent. It can reduce appetite and significantly increase fat burning (45).


Effectiveness: Very few studies have been conducted on synephrine, but it has been shown that ephedrine causes significant short-term weight loss in many studies (46).


Side effects: Like ephedrine, synephrine can have serious side effects related to the heart. It can also be addictive.


Bottom line: Synephrine is a very powerful stimulant and probably effective in losing weight in the short term. However, side effects can be serious, so it should only be used with extreme caution.


Medical prescription


In addition, there are many prescription weight loss pills that have proven to be effective.


The most common are Contrave, Belviq, Phentermine and Qsymia.


According to a recent 2014 review study, even prescription weight loss pills do not work as well as you might expect.


On average, they can help you lose up to 3-9% of body weight compared to a fake pill (47).


Keep in mind that this is only when set With a healthy diet to lose weight. They are ineffective on their own and are hardly a solution for obesity.


Not to mention its many side effects.


Bring the message home


Of the 12, these are the clear winners, with the strongest evidence to back them up:




  • Weightloss: Glucomannan, CLA and Orlistat (Alli)


  • Increase in fat burning: Caffeine and green tea extract.


However, I have to warn against Orlistat due to unpleasant side effects and against CLA due to the harmful effects on metabolic health.


That leaves us with glucomannan, green tea extract and caffeine.


These supplements can be Useful, but the effects are modest at best.


Unfortunately, NO supplement or pill really works so well to lose weight.


They may give a little boost to your metabolism and help you lose a few pounds, but that's where it ends, unfortunately.


Cutting down on carbohydrates and eating more protein are the best ways to lose weight and work better than all diet pills combined.



Reference: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-weight-loss-pills-reviewed






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