The success of nicotine patches to combat the addiction to nicotine and to reduce if not stop smoking has somewhat started the use of patches being used to delivery weight loss ingredients.
There are certainly advantages to using a diet patch over traditional diet pills; they are discreet, easier to take than pills and no need to remember when to take pills.
The promise of easy weight loss is certainly attractive and manufacturers of diet patches are keen to promote when marketing their patches. Since the first weight loss patch appeared there have been a number of bogus claims and misleading advertising made.
So should you ditch the pills and pop on a patch?
What are Diet Patches?
Brief history of Patches
- 1979 – First commercial prescription patch approved for motion sickness
- 2001 – First weight loss diet patches appear on the market
- 2004 – FTC prosecutes some diet patch manufacturers for bogus claims
- 2007 – First Nicotine patch approved for use in Europe
Diet patches are small water proof adhesive patches that are applied to dry skin usually first thing in the morning. They are worn for 24 hours during which time the weight loss ingredients are delivered through the skin directly into the bloodstream for 24 hours. This mechanism of delivering ingredients is called Transdermal.
Since transdermal patches first appeared they have been used for a number of uses ranging from nicotine patches, Estrogen patches, contraceptive patch, Transdermal scopolamine for motion sickness and more recently weight loss patches.
Suggested Benefits of Diet Patches
- Easy to remember, no need to take pills throughout the day
- Easy to apply and can be worn discreetly underneath your clothes
- Ingredients pass directly into blood stream avoiding digestive transit
- Works 24 hours a day as the ingredients released throughout the day and night
- No side effects
What are the Typical Ingredients in Diet Patches?
Diet patch ingredients tend to be the usual suspects found in many over the counter diet pills. It seems that few if any diet patch manufacturers actually reveal the ingredient quantities used in patches! This is concerning as without knowing the amount of ingredients it is impossible to verify whether any weight loss is actually possible.
Here are some the common weight loss patches ingredients:
- Fucus vesculosis (Bladderwrack) – Probably one of the most common ingredients in diet patches and suggested to promote increased metabolism and to appetite suppression. This natural sea plant is a type of seaweed (kelp) that contains Iodine, used in the treatment for underactive thyroid gland. As the thyroid is important in moderating metabolism, increasing Iodine intake is thought to stimulate the metabolism. The problem is that bladderwrack has not been thoroughly tested and we are not aware of any diet patch trials using this ingredient!
- Garcinia cambogia (mangosteen fruit) – Has been suggested to help block the conversion of carbohydrates into fat so you are less likely to store excess carbs into stored fat.
- Guarana – A Brazilian plant that contains twice the amount of caffeine as regular coffee beans. Has been suggested to have fat burning and diuretic properties by way of encouraging a healthy metabolism to help increase calorie burning. May help to increase alertness too.
- Chromium Polynicotinate – Suggested to balance blood sugar levels and so help reduce snacking between meal times. The effects of Chromium on body weight and composition may be called into question though (http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/)
- 5-HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) – An amino acid essential for producing serotonin, an important hormone for regulating your mood. Low serotonin levels have been seen in obese people with higher levels in thinner individuals suggesting 5-HTP could help promote weight loss.
- Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) – From a tree native to South America, Yerba Mate has many claims including weight loss benefits, heart health and even as a pain reliever.
- L-carnitine – Has been clinically proven to increase the metabolism of fats, which may have similar results in Humans meaning you could potentially burn more fat.
Diet Patch Scams and Complaints
Like traditional diet pills, some diet patches are clearly inferior and have used strong marketing to dupe consumers into parting with their money. It does seem that many of the diet patch scams were prevalent 5 or 6 years ago and complaints lately center on non-delivery type issues.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a number of diet patch complaints on their website, mostly related to bogus or unsubstantiated claims. (Search FTC website for details)
Here are some of the diet patch scams and complaints:
Transdermal Products International Marketing Corporation and William H. Newbauer
In August 2007 the FTC banned a weight loss patch manufacturer from selling diet patches and fined them $180,000 for false advertising and unsubstantiated claims.
The patch sold by the company contained Sea Kelp (Fucus vesculosis) as the main ingredient and claimed it had been approved by the FDA for weight loss. The individuals named in the case had misrepresented that the FDA had approved the transdermal product.
FTC charged Phoenix Avatar sending illegal spam to sell bogus diet patches in April 2004.
The FTC alleges that the claims made for these diet patches are false and that the patches, which sell for $59.95, will have no effect at all.
FTC Case Against Phoenix Avatar
The company were reported to be making over $100,000 per month by illegal sending out spam which had links back to the diet patch product site.
The Pink Patch is made in the USA and is very much marketed towards young, teenage girls with strong marketing phrases such as “Cute little dress approved”. The pink branding and sexy images of girls in bikinis and revealing clothes is certainly appealing. There have been a number of complaints to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) for the claims made in adverts that you could “Drop a Stone in 2 Weeks“ that appeared in the UK.
CYC Marketing who sells the Pink Patch in the UK amended their advertising.
Any Side Effects from Using Diet Patches?
If you have sensitive skin then there is the possibility of experiencing mild skin rash or irritation from the adhesive used to attach the patch to your skin. Many manufacturers recommend not using diet patches if you are allergic to latex for this very reason.
Otherwise suffering from side effects will depend on the ingredients used in the patch.
As we constantly highlight in a number of our diet pill reviews, ingredients that are known to have a stimulant effect, such as caffeine, can cause mild jittery side effects in particularly sensitive individuals.
Generally the chances of experiencing side effects whilst using diet patches are low.
So Do Diet Patches Work?
There is a real lack of clinical data to backup claims that diet patches work. Diet patch manufacturers either supply no clinical proof or the better quality patches will backup weight loss claims with clinical data that points to the ingredients used in the patch.
Many of the scientific community regard diet patches to be dubious with some having stronger criticisms.
[diet patch claims] are beyond ridiculous…. The more hyperbolic the claims, the more people can quickly dismiss the product.
Dr. Howard Eisenson, executive director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center
That diet patch ingredients can effectively pass from the patch and be absorbed into the blood stream is not so much the debate. The question is about the quantity and the nature of the ingredients within the patches.
It goes without saying that the effectiveness of any diet patch will depend on the quality and quantity of ingredients used. A problem often faced when evaluating diet patches, similar to the dodgy or poor diet pills, is finding out the amount of ingredients used.
What is seemingly becoming our mantra, never buy or consume a product where there is no indication of what is in it!
Popular Diet Patches Available on the Market
There are an increasing number of patches on the market that claim to be the “best selling diet patch”. In reality, many have jumped on the chance to benefit from consumers looking for easy weight loss.
That said, a few weight loss patches do stand out from the crowd that stand up to our critical watchdog. We take a look at four diet patches that may well offer an effective alternative to diet pills!
Slim Weight Patch Review
Made by Roduve who are based in Amsterdam, the Slim Weight Patch is one of the most popular patches on the market since released in 2009.
Ingredients in Slim Weight Patch: Fucus Vesiculosus, 5-HTP, Guarana, Garcinia cambogia, Zinc Pyruvate, Yerba Mate, Flaxseed Oil, Lecithin, L-Carnitine and Zinc Citrate.
Although originally available directly from the official website, Slim Weight Patch is now only available from authorised stockist, slimming.com.
Unfortunately slimming.com does not offer a money-back guarantee with any products they stock, so unless the product arrives damaged you may not get your money-back. A real shame as Slim Weight Patch is one of the better patches on the market!
Also be aware that there is also only a contact web form on the official website, but if purchased though Slimming.com the companies details who are based in Nottingham, UK are disclosed (company address, contact phone number and email address).
Slim Weight Patch appears to be a legit diet patch and not a scam, only a few unhappy consumers have made negative reports, relating to non-delivery.
Each box contains 30 patches and costs $47 ( £29.95 ).
Find out more: Slim Weight Patch
Acai Patch Review
Acai Patch from Evolution Slimming health store offers a solution to getting pure freeze dried acai berry via a patch. Reasonably priced at $47 (£29.95) for 30 patches and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Ingredients in Acai Patch: Freeze dried Acai Berry, Camellia Sinensis, Garcinia Cambogia, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Chromium Polynicotinate.
We could find no negative feedback online making it very unlikely that Acai Patch is a scam.
Each box contains 30 patches and costs $47 ( £29.95 ).
Find out more: Acai Patch
Owned by HealthRiver, Hoodia Patch uses one of the most effective and recently controversial appetite suppressant ingredients, Hoodia Gordonii. Hoodia Patch is not available in Europe (EU) due to recent Herbal Regulations but is available throughout the rest of the world.
The only active ingredient in Hoodia Patch is Hoodia Gordonii which they claim is genuine and has a certificate of analysis of proof of authenticity.
Hoodia diet pills, such as UniqueHoodia, are a popular choice for those looking to control appetite and reduce food cravings. Hoodia Patch is one of the few diet patches that reveal their ingredient amounts, each patch providence 40mg of Hoodia. We do question if this is actually enough Hoodia to have any appetite suppressant effects though!
Find out more: Hoodia Patch
Verdict: Diet Patches Better than Diet Pills?
The short answer is NO.
With questions surrounding the efficacy of diet patches we would on balance recommend opting for traditional diet pills that have been proven (and of course “approved”) to work.
Even though nicotine patches have been shown to work, there is still a lot of doubt in the medical community about the effectiveness of diet patches. It certainly seems like diet patches are riding on the success on nicotine patches!
Research is needed to confirm the claims made by diet patch manufacturers.
If you do find it difficult swallowing pills or find it frustrating having to take pills throughout the day, then you may wish to try a diet patch. In this case we would suggest going for a patch that contains clinically proven ingredients from a company that offer a money-back guarantee and who supply their contact details.
To sum up are patches a dieters dream? Sadly very unlikely, they may help promote some weight loss but without further evidence we cannot be certain.