PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Garcinia cambogia is being advertised everywhere as the latest and greatest weight-loss miracle pill.
But, is it?
“It’s the most popular weight loss supplement worldwide right now,” nutritionist Laura Slayton said. “The claim is that the active ingredient decreases our appetite and decreases the amount of fat we store.”
The active ingredient is called hydroxycitric acid – also known as HCA.
The one-two punch it supposedly delivers has many people saying they’re effortlessly shedding the pounds. Some say they lost as much as 20 pounds a month.
It is manufactured by a variety of supplement companies and sold just about everywhere in pill form. Garcinia cambogia actually comes from a tropical fruit grown in Southeast Asia.
The directions say for best results, take three pills a day – one before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Before you run out and buy a bottle, Slayton said the research on whether it actually works is mixed.
“There are some studies that show it’s more effective than a placebo,” Slayton said.
But, about half the studies show no results.
“And those are studies using an exact precise amount so it’s not necessarily effective,” Slayton said.
Tod Cooperman’s company, Consumer Lab, tested 13 different garcinia cambogia products.
He said what’s worse is that more than half of the products they tested barely contained any of the actual active ingredient.
“We don’t always know exactly what else is in there, probably just filler,” he said.
Then, there are the reported side effects, including dizziness and nausea.
Slayton said there isn’t a magic pill, but she does have some advice.
“What we suggest is matcha, which is a powder form of green tea,” she said.
Several studies show matcha improves metabolism and decreases fat storage, which is something Slayton said has yet to be proven with garcinia cambogia.