Green tea, more fibre and low-fat dairy are the best supplements for weight loss, a review of the research concludes.
The flavonoids and caffeine in green tea speed up the metabolism, which allows the body to process fat faster.
Eating soluble fibres — like those in fruits, beans and vegetables — suppresses appetite, reducing belly fat and improving weight loss.
Dairy products often contain both vitamin D and calcium, which have both been linked to weight loss.
The conclusions come from a study that looked at the evidence for hundreds of different weight loss supplements.
The review included stimulants like caffeine, appetite suppressants and more.
The results showed that only green tea, fibre and dairy have evidence to support them.
Exercise, though, is crucial for weight loss, said Professor Melinda Manore, the study’s author:
“For most people, unless you alter your diet and get daily exercise, no supplement is going to have a big impact.
I don’t know how you eliminate exercise from the equation.
The data is very strong that exercise is crucial to not only losing weight and preserving muscle mass, but keeping the weight off.”
Diets should include more fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.
For some people, increasing protein can be beneficial.
Professor Manore said:
“Adding fiber, calcium, protein and drinking green tea can help.
But none of these will have much effect unless you exercise and eat fruits and vegetables.”
Many supplements have little or no evidence to support them and may even be dangerous, said Professor Manore said:
“What people want is to lose weight and maintain or increase lean tissue mass.
There is no evidence that any one supplement does this.
And some have side effects ranging from the unpleasant, such as bloating and gas, to very serious issues such as strokes and heart problems.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (Manore et al., 2012).