I have been growing portlier over the last few years. I don’t weigh myself, so this happened without my being consciously aware of it, although I did notice twinges in the joints as they protested against having to bear stresses for which they had not been intended.
But it was when I realised that I was having more and more trouble bending down far enough to put my socks on that I decided to do something about it. Coincidentally, I received an email at about the same time extolling a substance called Garcinia cambogia as a ‘miracle’ weight-loss medication. Needless to say, I was quite excited by this potentially easy way to lose weight, but as I read, red flags started popping up.
The first of these was that the stuff had been recommended by Dr Oz. Now, Dr Oz has seemingly impeccable qualifications: graduated from Harvard, then received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Wharton. He is a professor at Columbia University. Yet he has a record of recommending quack remedies on his ridiculous TV show. Do they not teach anything about the scientific method at those prestigious institutions he attended?
Here are some of the more egregious examples of the rubbish he spouts:–
1. Take zinc for weight loss. It makes you less hungry. No, it doesn’t.
2. Take omega-3 supplements for better cardiovascular health. It has been shown not to work.
3. Take a daily multivitamin to improve general health. No, it can be harmful, not beneficial.
It isn’t surprising that Oz is listed on Quackwatch as a ‘Nonrecommended Source of Health Advice.’
So I decided to take a closer look at this G. cambogia muck. Predictably, it turns out that a double-blind, placebo controlled study, published in the Jounal of the American Medical Association shows–surprise, surprise–that it doesn’t work. Here are the results of the study:–
Results.–A total of 135 subjects were randomized to either active hydroxycitric acid (n=66) or placebo (n=69); 42 (64%) in the active hydroxycitric acid group and 42 (61%) in the placebo group completed 12 weeks of treatment (P=.74). Patients in both groups lost a significant amount of weight during the 12-week treatment period (P<.001); however, between-group weight loss differences were not statistically significant (mean [SD], 3.2 [3.3] kg vs 4.1 [3.9] kg; P=.14). There were no significant differences in estimated percentage of body fat mass loss between treatment groups, and the fraction of subject weight loss as fat was not influenced by treatment group.
Conclusions.–Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.
There is no magic pill that will cause you to lose weight. You must either eat less, exercise more, or–preferably–both.
So I embarked on a regime that has worked for me in the past: a low-carbohydrate diet. Eating fewer carbohydrates means reducing the swings in blood-sugar levels which cause hunger, thereby causing you to eat fewer calories and lose weight. I started six weeks ago at 105.5kg, and now weigh 100.4kg. That’s close to a kilogram (~2 pounds) a week.
All without taking any expensive rubbish recommended by a TV crackpot.
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.