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Why You Should Be Skeptical About “The Holy Grail of Weight Loss”

Why You Should Be Skeptical About “The Holy Grail of Weight Loss”

The weight loss drug Garcinia Cambogia Extract (HCA) has been making the rounds on American television in recent months and is being touted as “the Holy Grail of weight loss.” Does that sound like some rubbish marketing hype to you? Well, it should, because that’s exactly what it seems to be.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor made famous by Oprah Winfrey, gave HCA that decorative testimonial, going on to tell viewers, “Anytime I see a scientist get this excited about something like Garcinia Cambogia Extract, and when I looked through some of the research and called these scientists myself, I get excited.”

Top that off with a “credible”¯ review from Oprah Winfrey and the fact that Garcinia Cambogia is labelled a mysterious oriental fruit with unknown heritage, and you’ve got yourself the perfectly marketable, profitable product.

HCA: The Potent Fat Burner

“Burns fat”¯ is the one phrase that will never get old in the weight-loss industry. Type in “garcinia cambogia”¯ in Google, and you’ll see hundreds of sites designed solely to capitalize on this new craze.

Some other health claims from websites selling HCA include: “effective appetite suppressant if you’re an emotional eater,” “all-natural,” “increased energy throughout the day” and “prevents fat from being made,” just to name a few.

Then of course there’s the fine print at the bottom of most websites: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual weight loss results will vary.”

Aha! There’s the truth.

Hiccups in Dr. Ozs Excited-ness

Naturally, I wanted to investigate the science of these miraculous claims. In doing so, I discovered a plethora of problems with Dr. Oz’s excited-ness over HCA:

  • The scientific study this miracle was first based upon was just an 8 week study published in 2000 (nearly one and a half decades ago). It has taken 13 years for scientists to get excited, produce and sell it.
  • The “groundbreaking”¯ studies cited by supplement websites such as this one and this one are also extremely short studies in the research world; 12 weeks and 8 weeks, respectively. What happens after 12 weeks?
  • There are numerous papers such as this 10 week study and this 12 week study that conclude HCA has no effect on weight loss. Conveniently you’ll never hear about these studies.
  • Independent, unbiased compendiums of nutrition and supplement reviews, such as Examine, conclude that “Garcinia cambogia usage as a fat burner does not appear to extend to humans.” These researchers investigate and analyze all of the scientific data available on a topic, not just one side of the spectrum. The following conclusions were also made about HCA and fat loss: “Numerous review articles assessing the evidence of Garcinia Cambogia conclude that there is no significant benefit of this compound in humans,” and “The studies that are associated with both weight loss and Garcinia Camboga are confounded with many ingredients, and the observed effects on fat loss cannot be attributed to Garcinia itself.”

Still in Search of the Holy Grail

The dramatic scientific conclusions that have Dr. Oz jumping up and down and shouting Holy Grail don’t seem so exciting after all. Unfortunately, it appears the Garcinia Cambogia miracle drug is yet another brilliant marketing ploy by the weight loss industry.

Thanks for the hot tip, Doc.

Perhaps I’m being overly-skeptical. Maybe scientists truly have discovered a fruity miracle cure to obesity, but we just don’t have the conclusive science to back it up yet. Or perhaps it works because it’s the ultimate placebo.

If you’ve used HCA before, successfully or not, we’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

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10:37AM PDT on Jun 23, 2014

This is not a holy grail, but in my case it really helped me to lose weight quickly without effort. I am astonished by the comments of certain people having tested Garcinia and who didn't manage to lose weight. We are really not made in the same way. Pour en savoir plus vous avez ce genre de site par exemple:

4:52AM PDT on May 26, 2014


11:19AM PDT on May 14, 2014

(CONT) Struggling with weight is not an easy thing and it can be emotional, frustrating, rage inducing among other things. It is a journey, but it can be achieved. But people, they need to find what works from them. They need to look at their lifestyle and habits and see what has lead to their weight gain and then try to find ways to correct those things. Until those things are mended, any attempts are just going to be temporary. If someone landed on this site, they are obviously interested in losing weight. I urge those people to educate themselves on things like calories and calorie burning. Knowing how weight is gained and burned and what is in the foods they like to eat and examining their habits and creating changes in those habits that are realistic will help form a weight-loss regimen that is tailored to them as opposed to some generic miracle cure for the masses.

11:17AM PDT on May 14, 2014

I find it humorous that so many people miss the logic in such drugs. Not everyone's body reacts the same to every substance, that is why there are such laundry lists of side effects on the end of prescription medications. What might work for some people, will never work for every person. Different hormone levels, heredity and such effect how a body receives such substances. This extract might very well be successful for some people. However one also should keep in mind that it was not a miracle that they became obese. Obesity is something that occurs over time and often time comes from an assortment of bad habits that have built up. It does not occur instantly without reason. Substances like this extract are not meant to be successful on their own. They are meant to aid in weight loss with other efforts as well by helping you shift your habits, you still have to put in effort on your own. Perhaps this is partly in fault of how it is advertised. Dr Oz might very well have been right when saying that this extract was exciting and ground breaking because things like emotional eating are very difficult to break. However, not every obese person is an emotional eater and if this substance creates a feeling of fullness, some people... they will still eat past when they are feeling full. All diet supplements, think of them as a crutch, they will help but you still need to do the walking yourself. Struggling with weight is not an easy thing and it can be emotional, frustrating, rage

1:39PM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

have you seen this study that shows sustained weight loss 4 weeks after stopping the treatment? If not, here's the link, let me know what you think about it.

10:39AM PDT on Mar 18, 2014

Why just take Garcinia Cambogia. It is the most well-received nutritional supplements used by the broad public for losing weight. It is made from all natural components.

9:59AM PDT on Mar 18, 2014

I tried it for 2 weeks. I changed nothing in my diet nor lifestyle. Not only did I not lose weight, I gained. Very disconcerting and I am upset thst I spent money on it. Dr. Oz's fantastic remedies and products one day will totally be opposite of what he claims on the next. What happened to his ethics?

1:53AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

I love garcinia, I been taking this product for 2 weeks and lost 9 pounds. If you dont know whats garcinia watch this video

5:36PM PST on Jan 28, 2014

I started taking a week ago and have lost 4 lbs. I no longer have cravings and feel full much faster. Plus the energy I now have is amazing. I am a believer this stuff is awesome.

8:57PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

Thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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