Watchdog Approved Diet Pills

Ingredient Watch

We separate the fact from fiction when it comes to the weight loss claims made for the latest diet ingredients seen in supplements. We look at the claims made for each ingredient, do they actually work and how safe they really are.

Diet pills magnifying glassApart from looking at diet pills we also take an in-depth look at the ingredients commonly used in diet supplements.

It’s important to remember that over the counter diet pills can only contain ingredients classified as “dietary foods”. Such supplements should not contain any controlled substance that requires a prescription from a license pharmacy outlet.

Let’s take a look at the most commonly used ingredients.

List of Ingredients

Do Adzuki Beans cause Fat Loss

More recently, the search for ‘nutrient-dense’ functional foods that in addition to having health benefits cause fat loss has been on the rise. Adzuki beans belong to this group of foods. Let us have a closer look at these beans and get to know if indeed they reduce body weight. What are Adzuki beans? Adzuki […]

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Do Pomegranate Contents Really Cause Fat loss?

Pomegranate seeds contain punicic acid (PUA) in high concentrations. This acid, along with other present in smaller amounts – jacaric acid (JAA), catalpic acid (CAA) and eleostearic acids (ESA) –exhibit health benefits by stimulating the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) in the human body. Activation of these receptors has been shown to block the development of […]

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Lotus Leaf as a Fat-burner – Does it Live Up to the Promise?

Extract derived from the lotus plant leaf is increasingly being recognised as an effective tool to reduce body fat. The potential benefit of the lotus leaf extract in reducing body-weight has meant that its popularity in fat-loss supplements has skyrocketed. But, is it really effective? And, it is worth spending your hard-earned money on? Let […]

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Does Inulin Really Contribute to Loss of Body-weight?

Fermentable carbohydrates like inulin, guar gum and fructo-oligosaccharides – amongst others – sufficiently alter intestinal microbial flora to significantly retard the development of obesity. Let us have a look at these fermentable carbohydrates; inulin in particular. Altered gut microbial flora is increasingly being suggested as an important contributor to increase in fat mass leading to […]

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Does Panax Ginseng Really Cause Fat-loss?

Most weight-reducing supplements contain ingredient which undermine human health. Panax ginseng is recent addition to weight-reducing agents that – if supplement companies are to be believed – really works! The questions that we need to be asking, however, are: is Panax ginseng really effective? And, is it safe to use? Let us have a look […]

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Does Grapefruit Powder Cause Fat Loss?

Recently, grapefruit and its products – juices, powders or extracts – are being suggested as effective alternative to traditional anti-obesity supplements. Let us investigate if grapefruit and the products derived from it fit the bill! As the obesity epidemic with its grave consequences (diseases and economic burden) continues to spread (Finkelstein et al., 2008), newer […]

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Does Yacon Syrup Live Up to the Hype?

Yacon syrup has gained popularity as “the natural sweetener that boosts weight-loss”. Traditionally, it is also recommended for treating diabetes and digestive diseases. High in fiber content and low in calorific value does make it an ideal food for causing weight loss. However, it needs to be seen if Yacon roots and the syrup derived […]

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Xanthan Gum for Fat Loss?

Xanthan gum is arguably one of the most popular of the food supplements on the market today. Used as an emulsifier and a thickener, Xanthan gum is touted to cause weight loss. Although it has been around since the 1960s, there isn’t really enough evidence to suggest that it indeed helps fat-loss? Let us have […]

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Fat-loss with Beta Alanine – Is it Real?

Beta Alanine, a naturally occurring amino acid, combines with histidine to form carnosine in skeletal muscle (Caruso et al., 2012). A relatively new addition to the “ergogenic” group of supplements (those that improve exercise performance), Beta Alanine – either alone or in combination with carnosine – has been shown perform useful physiological functions within the […]

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Is 5-HTP Effective as a Weight-reducing Supplement?

Known for its antidepressant actions, the amino acid, 5-HTP (oxitriptan) has recently come into sharp focus because of its appetite-suppressant action. Although touted as a weight-loss supplement, many are sceptical of its weight-reducing abilities. Let us investigate. 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan (also known as oxitriptan) is an amino acid derived from natural sources. It is an […]

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Is Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) Good Enough to Cause Weight-loss?

Present in sea foods and produced naturally in the human brain, dimethylaminoethanol possesses numerous benefits for human health. Owing to its ability to improve energy levels and cause loss of body weight, dimethylaminoethanol-containing supplements have recently gained popularity. However, notwithstanding the popularity, a cause for concern is the serious dearth of scientific literature concerning the […]

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Gamma Hydroxybutyrate – Does it Cause Weight Loss?

Developed (and used initially) for its general anaesthetic abilities, gamma hydroxybutyrate (otherwise known as GHB) finds several other applications as well – mostly as a medicine and an ingredient of food supplements. Although its use as a general anaesthetic was discontinued (owing to side-effects), GHB is still used today in treating conditions like sleep disorders […]

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Will Cissus Quadrangularis Help you Lose Weight?

Cissus quadrangularis is a natural ingredient of some over-the-counter weight-loss supplements. Many believe that Cissus quadrangularis – if you are looking to lose weight – may be just what the doctor ordered! Derived from a natural herb indigenous to parts of West Africa and Southeast Asia, extract of C. quadrangularis, has been extensively studied. It […]

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Fat-loss using Cocoa bean extract – Fact or Fiction?

Cocoa bean extract (of the ‘chocolate fame’) is one such promising agent that can help reduce body weight (and fight metabolic disease). We ask how much of it is myth and how much is the truth. Let us have a closer look at what cocoa bean extract is and how it works its magic. In […]

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Fighting fat with Evodiamine – Will it help?

Evodiamine is a supplement ingredient allegedly causing fat loss in a very novel way. Having anti-obesity actions similar to capsaicin, Evodiamine has the potential to grow really big as far as interventions to tackle human obesity is concerned. However, evidence in favour from clinical trials is lacking. Read on to find out more about this […]

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Does L-Carnitine cause Fat Loss? – Divided opinions!

L-carnitine is one of the most often used ingredients of over-the-counter fat loss formulas. In theory, L-carnitine almost seems like the ideal fat burner (non-stimulant, preferentially burns fat for energy, with minimal adverse effects and useful for its ability to cause recovery from intense exercise sessions). However, the fact remains that L-carnitine doesn’t enjoy much […]

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Dinitrophenol – A Killer Drug, Literally!

The recent death of a 23-year aspiring doctor, Sarah Houston, has put back into sharp focus the dangers of using spurious, unregulated drugs for bodyweight reduction (Rawstorne, 2013). In Sarah’s case, pills containing a yellow, crystalline powder – later identified as dinitrophenol – were blamed for the death. Otherwise known as DNP and sold as […]

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Is The Use of Rimonabant Too Risky?

Over the last few decades, numerous weight-loss drugs have been sanctioned. Orlistat, sibutramine and rimonabant are some examples. None of these, however, have delivered as expected. In this article, we are going to have a look one of these drugs – rimonabant. Notwithstanding the promising modes of action of rimonabant (and other CB1 receptor antagonists […]

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Phenylethylamine: A Monoamine That Promises Much But Doesn’t Deliver!

Phenylethylamine is as known as a ‘love drug’ owing to its presence in chocolates (and red wine) and because it has been shown to increase ‘mounting behaviour’ in animal studies. Used traditionally to treat schizophrenia and affective disorders, phenylethylamine may also possess weight-reducing abilities. Let us have a closer look at how effective it is […]

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L-Tyrosine – A Popular Bodybuilding Supplement, But Does It Work?

L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid derived from meat sources. It acts as a precursor for adrenergic hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine (in addition to dopamine). By stimulating the dopaminergic-adrenergic systems l-tyrosine allegedly causes appetite suppression, increased resting energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Additionally, it has also been shown to increase focus and intensity of training […]

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7 Keto-DHEA – Is it Good Enough for Causing Fat Loss?

7-Keto DHEA is a popular ingredient in fat-reducing and muscle-building supplements. However, despite having a stunning array of physiological roles to play in the human body, there isn’t much evidence to prove conclusively that it causes fat loss. Let us investigate! If you’ve ever heard about dehydroepiandrosterone, chances are, you’ve heard it in relation to […]

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Orlistat – What Is Our Take On It?

Prescription drugs for causing weight loss have been a miserable failure. Orlistat is one drug that is most-often recommended for causing fat loss. Only moderately effective in causing fat loss, use of orlistat is associated with adverse effects – some potentially severe.

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Sibutramine – Mildly Effective But At A Great Risk

Use of serotonergic drugs (drugs that potentiate the actions of serotonin) has emerged as a new and exciting way of causing weight loss. Sibutramine is one such drug. Although used extensively, sibutramine was withdrawn from the market by the FDA because of cardiovascular toxicity. Although, there is no doubt that sibutramine causes a mild degree […]

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Prickly Pear – Will the Mexican Cactus Help You Lose Fat?!

Prickly pear (also known as NeOpuntia) is an ingredient found in many dietary supplements. It apparently causes fat loss due to its ability to slow down the rate of absorption of carbohydrates. Whether it successfully reduces body fat and body weight is for us to find out! Obesity is fast becoming a major health concern […]

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Does White Kidney Bean Extract Cause Weight Loss?

There are number of fat loss supplements available on the market. It is quite difficult to tell, however, which ones work and which don’t. Manufacturers and promoters will always make it sound as if their products work wonders. Sadly, that isn’t the case always. White kidney bean extract is one such ingredient that promoters say […]

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Fucoxanthin – A Marine Carotenoid That Can Cause Weight Loss?

Failure of exercise programs and drugs in treating obesity has prompted an increasing reliance on use of functional foods. Preliminary scientific evidence suggests that an ingredient of such functional foods – fucoxanthin – is very effective in causing weight loss and providing health benefits. Research suggests that it is safe for consumption as well. Read […]

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Is Yohimbe the Wonder Herbal Product? Increased Libido and Fat Loss?!

Most of us have heard about yohimbe. It created quite a buzz a few years ago when it was found to be of value in male impotence. Apparently, yohimbine increases the blood flow to the soft tissue of the penis which then results longer lasting and harder erection. However, that’s not all; yohimbe has also […]

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Will Guar Gum in your Supplement Make you Lose Weight?

Guar gum has always had a reputation as an effective weight-reducing agent. However, researchers tend to think otherwise. Its ability to reduce carbohydrate absorption and increase in post-meal blood sugar levels is suspected to be the mechanism which causes weight loss. Having said so, nobody knows the exact way in which guar gum causes weight-loss […]

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Chitosan – A Success Story or Another Duff Ingredient?

Chitosan is a much sought after ingredient in fat burners. Apparently, chitosan causes weight loss by suppressing the absorption of fats present in diet. Notwithstanding its popularity, the evidence in support of the weight-reducing abilities of chitosan is not too cut and dry. Although initial studies did conclude that chitosan works, the more recent view […]

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Caralluma Fimbriata – The Magical Fat Loss Agent!

Caralluma fimbriata is an exciting anti-obesity agent; almost all researchers who have investigated Caralluma fimbriata have ruled in favour of its efficacy in causing weight loss! Reduction of appetite and suppression of formation of new fat cells are some of the mechanism by which Caralluma fimbriata causes fat loss. What’s more, it affords other health […]

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Does Yerba Mate Work? – Yes It Does!

Yerba mate is commonly consumed as herbal tea in many parts of the world. It is available either as tea bags or as concentrates for use in dietary supplements. In addition to appetite suppression, Yerba mate increases energy expenditure and affects body fat favourably. Furthermore, it has numerous health benefits as well. And, what’s more […]

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Conjugated Linoleic Acid – Does It Cause Fat Loss?

Conjugated linoleic acid, in recent years, has emerged as an exciting anti-obesity agent. Apparently, not only does it cause fat loss but preserves lean mass as well. Increased metabolic rate, increased breakdown of fat, decreased formation of new fat, suppression of differentiation of preadipocytes into mature fat cell and apoptosis of fat cells are the […]

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Resveratrol – Will The ‘Red Wine Wonder’ Help You Lose Weight?

Resveratrol, often called the ‘fountain of youth’, has always been thought to posses amazing health benefits including its ability to cause weight loss. Red wine is popular as a source of resveratrol because of its ready availability. Also, resveratrol tablets are now available for regular use. In addition to apparently causing fat loss and preventing […]

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How Effective and Safe are Synephrine Containing Supplements?

Synephrine is the main ingredient of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) extract. Since the banning of alkaloids by the FDA, sympathomimetics with chemical structures and actions similar to ephedrine but with lesser adverse effects have come into prominence as weight reducing alternatives; synephrine is one of them. Synephrine apparently cause weight loss by increasing your metabolism, […]

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Glucomannan for Fat Loss – Is It Any Good?

Glucomannan is a dietary fibre potentially useful as a weight-loss supplement. Although, it affords a number of health benefits, the belief that it causes weight loss may not be entirely true. Allegedly, glucomannan induces weight loss by causes suppressing appetite and reducing absorption of fat from the small intestine. However, as far as weight reducing […]

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Will Capsicum Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

Capsicum has been used in foods since millennia. It contains the active principle capsaicin and other ingredients called capsaicinoids. These, supposedly, cause weight loss by suppressing appetite and causing breakdown of fat. No wonder than that capsicum finds its way into a number of popular fat-loss supplements. Over the years, researchers have proposed impressive theories […]

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Chromium Picolinate – Not a Very Likely Candidate for your Fat Loss Job!

Chromium picolinate is a fat-loss supplement that is quite popular. Apparently it causes fat loss by controlling appetite and regulating carbohydrate metabolism. However, not much evidence is available for its effectiveness. The scientific community is divided over these alleged actions of chromium picolinate. Furthermore, some believe that it may even put you at risk of […]

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Green Coffee Bean Extract – What’s Our Take On it?

Similar to an exercise and diet plan, buying the right fat loss supplement is not easy either. One such fat-burner that’s been making headlines in recent months is green coffee bean extract. But does it really work? Apparently, green coffee bean extract causes fat breakdown. Scientific evidence in support, however, is very flimsy, to say […]

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Irvingia Gabonensis: A Brilliant Fat Burner?

A plethora of fat-loss supplements are sold on the market today. Irvingia gabonensis extract (African Mango Extract) is one such fat-loss agent that’s being doing the rounds in recent years. Initial reports about fat-loss induced by Irvingia gabonensis are promising. Furthermore, it has an impressive health benefits profile as well. Irvingia gabonensis causes fat loss […]

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Raspberry Ketone – The Next Big Thing or a Dud?!

Numerous products have crept up on the market claiming to reduce body fat; only a select few of these have the authentic ability to cause fat loss. A fat burner that’s been recently making waves and warrants a closer look is raspberry ketone. Derived from raspberries, raspberry ketones cause fat loss by increasing levels of […]

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Green Tea – Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Tea is one of the most consumed beverages the world over. Since mediaeval ages, regular consumption of tea has always been associated with health benefits. More recently, however, an unfermented variety of tea – green tea – is being touted as an anti-obesity tool that really works. Flavonols present are mainly responsible for the fat […]

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Garcinia Cambogia Really A Weight Reducing Supplement?

Although vigorously marketed and promoted for its weight reducing and cholesterol lowering abilities, scientific evidence in support of these actions of Garcinia cambogia is lacking. At the very best, we opine that at the present moment, the verdict in support of this Garcinia seems to be inconclusive. In the backdrop of alarming rise in the […]

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Caffeine Helps Burn Fat – Fact or Fiction?

Caffeine does seem to support fat-loss owing to a variety of actions – increased energy production, breakdown of fat and appetite suppression. Additionally, caffeine improves exercise performance, muscle contraction, mental focus, skill levels and therefore, the quality of training. A word of caution though – caffeine seems to work best when combined with an exercise […]

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