Garcinia cambogia, a citrus fruit from Southeast Asia, has gained attention in recent years for its use in various commercial weight loss products. Specifically, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an extract from the plant’s rind, has been touted for its supposed effects of suppressing appetite, preventing fat storage and decreasing weight gain. But is it really worthy of this reputation? You’re smart to be skeptical, as this certainly isn’t the first time that a new ‘miracle’ product has gained undeserved media attention.
As you might suspect, there is not very rigorous scientific evidence to support these claims. There have been a handful of studies that have investigated the effects of Garcinia cambogia on weight loss, but they were conducted with small numbers of participants, with short durations, and had other weaknesses that limit our ability to draw solid conclusions from the observations. Some results have suggested that the supplement may perhaps contribute to weight loss, but the observed effects were so small that it’s doubtful that this product could be effective as a weight loss aid. The jury is still out regarding safety as well; some trials found that side effects like headaches and stomach distress were more common in people who received the supplement versus a placebo, while others found no difference. In any case, long-term safety in humans has not been directly studied.
At the end of the day, the only thing proven effective for weight loss is healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Our team at Healthy Dining is passionate about this, and we’re constantly publishing more articles about how to make these changes work in your life. Instead of looking for limiting (and often ineffective or even dangerous) weight loss supplements, enjoy dietitian-recommended menu choices when eating out to cut calories, saturated fat and sodium without giving up flavor.