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Quick Fix and Yo-Yo Dieting Mistakes

Quick fix dieting has a powerful influence on consumers as it promises individuals a convenient and relatively easy approach to weight loss without lifestyle changes. With the emergence of a new year, popular trends in weight loss involve African mango, green coffee bean, raspberry ketone extract, and other juice cleanses. These quick fix dietary additions often lack clinical testing for their efficacy and are primarily media driven, enabling distributors to place expensive price tags on these products.

Current research conducted with these quick fix weight loss products is controversial, especially pertaining to African mango and green tea extract. In a human invention study conducted with 120 individuals in 2009, researchers demonstrated that African mango extract administered in 150 mg doses twice daily before meals to overweight and obese volunteers favorably impacted body weight and characteristics of metabolic syndrome (1). However, since this first impactful study, following studies have shown varying results. In fact, in a systemic review conducted in 2013, analyzing all of the recent literature, concluded that all studies, including the aforementioned study from 2009, had flaws in reporting of their methodology and concluded that African mango cannot be recommended as a weight loss aid without further research (2).

Within green coffee extract, chlorogenic acid (GCA) has been identified as the bioactive responsible for the effects on weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Similar to studies conducted using African mango extract, a systematic review assembled in 2010 cautioned consumers of the moderate effects of green coffee and GCA on weight loss (3). This review illustrated that all studies were associated with a high risk of bias and conducted with poor methodological quality and researchers suggested further research before establishing a concrete relationship between green coffee and weight loss (3). More recently in 2012, a randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted using 16 obese subjects supplemented with 350 mg doses of GCA administered either three or two times daily dependent on treatment group (4). In this study, researchers concluded that GCA may be an effective nutraceutical in weight reduction and considered GCA an inexpensive product for prevention of obesity (4). These conclusions must be scrutinized due to the amount of subjects present and the lack of evidence since.

 

Within the quick fix weight loss realm, false reporting and advertising has become a major issue. On January 7th of this year, NBC reported the second largest deceptive advertising settlement in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) history (5). Sensa, a product that promises consumers to lose weight with the addition of a “sprinkle” of their product on foods, have agreed to pay $26.5 million to settle charges of misleading advertisements (5). As a result the FTC is publishing “common sense guidelines” to assist both consumers and the media ad-buyers to identify false claims. Among these false claims is the common “Lose weight without diet or exercise!”, the FTC has commented that “the only thing you’ll lose is money” (5).

Quick fix dieting is an expensive, stressful and complicated form of dieting that fails to acknowledge lifestyle changes. Instead of attempting to discover the newest weight loss trend identified through media sources, consumers should be encouraged to change their lifestyle through diet and exercise, including lifestyle skills such as learning how to cook healthy meals and thoroughly researching the fads and trends they see glamorized in the media for long–term results.

 References:

  1. Oben, J. E., Ngondi, J. L., Momo, C. N., Agbor, G. A., & Sobgui, C. S. (2009). The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Lipids Health Dis, 7, 12.
  2. Onakpoya, I., Davies, L., Posadzki, P., & Ernst, E. (2013). The Efficacy of Irvingia Gabonensis Supplementation in the Management of Overweight and Obesity: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of dietary supplements, 10(1), 29-38.
  1. Gastroenterology research and practice, 2011.
  1. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy, 5, 21.
  1. Fox, Maggie. "Miracle Weight Loss? No Such Thing, Feds Say in $34 Million Suit." NBC News: Health. NBC, 7 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 Jan. 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/health/miracle-weight-loss-no-such-thing-feds-say-34-million-2D11872359>.

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