This is the final post to my Think Lifestyle series. Time and time again, especially at the start of a new year, I’m asked for my opinion on the latest diet trend or quick fix. In part two, I referred to the ‘Triple Reality Equation = Food + Fitness + Sleep’ as being your best long-term Lifestyle strategy.  So to wrap the series, let’s debunk some diet quick fixes!

Sensa, a diet quick fix product that consumers “just sprinkle” on their foods with the promise of weight loss, have agreed to pay $26.5 million to settle charges of misleading advertisements. Last week, the media reported this is the second largest deceptive advertising settlement in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) history (1). 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.”

I agree you will lose money, but there is also a chance you can damage your health long-term with some of these quick fix diet products. And I find it disappointing we need common sense guidelines! Often the products hit the shelves with huge media and without substantiated research. Every year, there is a new one – African mango supplements, green coffee bean extract, raspberry ketones and the list goes on! Let’s debunk three…

African Mango Supplements

I first heard about African mango supplements through the online discount program – Groupon. It was shortly after the raspberry ketones craze.  As with the raspberry ketones, the research is not plentiful or convincing. In a systemic review (analyzing all of the recent literature) concluded that all studies, including a study (1) published in 2009 that showed beneficial results, had flaws in reporting of their methodology and concluded that African mango cannot be recommended as a weight loss aid without further research (2).

Green Coffee Bean Extract

Did you know you can drink green coffee bean extract and the fat will literally melt off of you?! Similar to the African mango supplements the research is not plentiful or convincing. Chlorogenic acid (GCA) in green coffee bean extract has been identified as the bioactive component responsible for the weight loss. Comparable to studies using African mango extract, a systematic review in 2010 cautioned consumers of only moderate effects of green coffee and GCA on weight loss (4).  The studies were associated with a high risk of bias and conducted with poor methodological quality. The researchers suggested further research before establishing a concrete relationship between green coffee extract and weight loss.

Since then few studies have been conducted. In 2012, a randomized placebo-controlled trial was published. It had only 16 obese subjects (considered a small sample size) supplemented with 350 mg doses of GCA administered either three or two times daily dependent on treatment group (5). In this study, researchers concluded that GCA may be an effective nutraceutical in weight reduction. However, more robust research is needed with larger sample sizes.

Juice Cleanses

In 2013, juice cleanses were one of the top three diets searched on Google. I ask you, who doesn’t want to detox their body of all toxins? The fact is, a healthy body does an excellent job of this already; our liver, kidneys and intestines filter the unwanted things we ingest and expel them through urine, bowel movements, breath and sweat. Like most diet quick fixes, a juice cleanse is not an effective way to lose weight and keep it off. Will you lose weight? Probably, as you’re cutting out all of the fat and drastically lowering calories from your intake. Is this format dangerous? Yes it could be and if you don’t change your lifestyle, you’ll likely put the weight back on after the cleanse.

Diet Quick Fixes Bottom Line Question

The Dieting Industry has a powerful influence on consumers as it promises individuals a convenient and relatively easy approach to weight loss without lifestyle changes. Does that make ‘Sensa’ to you?

My Tips

Quick fix dieting is an expensive, stressful and complicated form of managing the weight loss journey that fails to acknowledge the importance of lifestyle changes. Instead of attempting to discover the newest diet quick fix trend, I recommend Think Lifestyle and my ‘Triple Reality Equation = Food + Fitness + Sleep’. Plus – learning how to cook healthy meals or living with someone who is a good cook will ensure nutritious foods are on the menu.

It has been a pleasure sharing my Think Lifestyle Series with you.

Let me know what your favourite healthy lifestyle tip is!

References:

  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. www.nbcnews.com/health/miracle-weight-loss-no-such-thing-feds-say-34-million-2D11872359.
  2. Oben JE et al. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Lipids Health Dis. 2009;7:12.
  3. Onakpoya I, Davies L, Posadzki P, Ernst E. The Efficacy of Irvingia Gabonensis Supplementation in the Management of Overweight and Obesity: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of dietary supplements. 2013;10(1):29-38.
  4. Onakpoya I, Terry R, Ernst E. The use of green coffee extract as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Gastroenterology research and practice. 2010;2011.
  5. Vinson  JA, Burnham  BR, Nagendran, MV. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy. 2012;5(21).