Evidence lacking for “alternative” weight-loss therapies

Posted 07 July 2021

A systematic review of published research evaluating the efficacy of dietary supplements and “alternative therapies” for weight loss among people at least 18 years of age has found that supportive evidence is weak. Many clinical trials were also hampered by a significant risk of bias due to inconsistent testing methods. Problems with studies include small sample sizes, short follow-up periods, and poor study designs.
Reference: Batsis JA. A systematic review of dietary supplements and alternative therapies for weight loss. Obesity, June 23, 2021

Key findings included:

  • Out of 315 randomized controlled trials included in the review, 52 were classified as having a low risk of bias, of which 16 demonstrated significant weight changes for tested therapies compared to placebo.
  • No high-quality evidence supported acupuncture, calcium-vitamin D supplementation, chocolate/cocoa, phenylpropanolamineguar gumPhaseolus vulgarispyruvate, and mind-body interventions as weight-loss
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Many Weight Loss Supplements Still Contain Banned or Discouraged Ingredients

Posted 02 September 2016

New research shows that many weight loss supplements readily available to consumers contain at least one ingredient, such as ephedra or dimethylamylamine (DMAA), that is banned by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or is advised against for use in dietary supplements. Fifty-one products were identified from retail stores with at least one banned or discouraged-use ingredient on the product label. Ingredients were identified as “discouraged-use” based on adverse event reporting on the FDA website. Out of the 51 products, 33% contained at least one ingredient that is banned and 90% contained at least one ingredient that is discouraged. Sports and nutrition retail stores offered the greatest number of products with banned or discouraged-use ingredients.

Source: Integrative Medicine Newsletter

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