Do You Really Need Weight Loss Supplements?

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I know. It can be frustrating to lose weight for many people, and out of that frustration and increasingly urgent feeling to lose the weight, people then seek something “easy”, something quick to finally take off the weight. America is overweight, and is getting fatter all of the time. We’ve covered obesity statistics a lot in this blog, and current rates suggest all states have an obesity prevalence of greater than 30 percent. But this urgency to lose weight is true even for those that are not obese, but are looking to lose in the 10-20 pound range. Losing that last weight which is keeping you from looking how you really want to look can be equally challenging.

So…enter the booming weight loss industry.

A 2007 study printed in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association assessed how many Americans took a non-prescription weight loss supplement as part of their overall plan for weight loss. Researchers found that more than 15 percent of all adults (around 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men) had used weight loss supplements, and that most didn’t discuss this use with their healthcare providers. According to the FTC, the American weight loss industry rakes in more than $30 billion per year.


Many of the programs and products available make questionable promises, but because people are looking for a quick and easy fix, they pin their hopes on the latest claims that they can lose quickly and easily without making many changes. Some of the weight loss claims include:

  • Eliminate one entire food group (carbs, fat, etc.), and you’ll lose weight.
  • Lose weight without diet or exercise.
  • Eat all you want and lose weight.
  • Never diet again (except for that diet).
  • Eat these “delicious” microwave/processed meals and feel so “satisfied” while losing all the weight!
  • Try our miracle patch/cream/pill and lose weight with no effort.

If It Sounds too Good To Be True…

There’s an old adage that says, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Yet, the weight loss industry makes claims all of the time that are clearly too good to be true. I understand the hope that comes along with promises of easy to lose weight without changing your habits. But you have to change your lifestyle if you want to lose weight for the long-term, at least in a healthy way. You may huff and puff and sigh and wrinkle your nose as you read this and want to truly believe there is a way around it. But there really isn’t. It doesn’t have to be torturous, and you don’t have to starve yourself or feel hungry, so long as you have a good strategy and fill up on the right foods. But yes, you have to make some effort and better and different choices.

I recently discussed it in my recent blog about the definitely too good to be true promises made about the latest weight loss craze, raspberry ketones. One of the types of questions I get from people most frequently is about whatever happens to be the latest miracle supplement. I thought I’d answer as many of those questions as I can here!

Green Coffee Bean Extract

The claims:

  • Contains chlorogenic acid, which inhibits the release of glucose, increasing metabolism.
  • Has much less caffeine than coffee, so it won’t leave you jittery.
  • Roasting the beans to make the coffee removes the chlorogenic acid.
  • The extract also has antioxidants and may be good for diabetics because of its blood stabilizing effects.

What science says:

The bottom line:  Very limited human evidence

  • No human studies currently link GCBE to weight loss.
  • GCBE may help people who are mildly hypertensive lower their blood pressure. You would get much better results with improving your blood pressure by changing your diet (less animal fat/cholesterol, etc.) and not relying on supplements to do so.
  • No specific human studies have been performed on GCBE and diabetes.


The claims: Hoodia makes you eat less by tricking you into believing your full.

What Science Says:

While there was some initial success in rodent studies examining the appetite suppressant benefits of hoodia, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed no significant affect on appetites of human beings. The non-placebo group of human subjects in the study also showed that side effect such as nausea, headaches, and dizziness were fairly common.

The bottom line: There’s no solid proof Hoodia works with humans to really create and maintain weight loss. But it can sure cause unpleasant side effects.


The claims: This high soluble fiber supplement fills you up and makes it so you aren’t hungry, leading you to eat less.

What science says:

  • A randomized double-blind study showed glucomannan improved blood lipid profiles and glucose levels in diabetic subjects.
  • A 2008 study showed that subjects who didn’t make lifestyle changes noticed increased satiety with glucomannan but there was no statistically significant weight loss.
  • A 1984 study showed that obese patients taking glucomannan lost an average of 2.5 kg over an 8-week period with no adverse effects.
  • Health Canada advises that glucomannan taken with inadequate fluid can cause choking.

The bottom line: While glucomannan may, indeed, cause some reduced appetite, you still have to change the amount of food you eat and what you eat in order to lose weight. It’s no miracle, but in some cases it may help with satiation and blood lipid profiles, but you need to take it with lots of water.

This is really just a fiber pill. Why don’t you just drink the Glowing Green Smoothie instead, which as over 13 grams of fiber for 16 ounces? If you drink 32 ounces+ each day (like me) that’s 26 grams of fiber just from the GGS, but in a whole food form with tons of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and other phytonutrients. Chia seeds are another great source of fiber, and when hydrated in liquid they swell 10-15 time their size. No fiber pills needed!

African Mango

The claims: Reduces body fat, weight, and cholesterol.

What Science Says:

  • Claims are based on studies on an extract from the African mango seed called IGOB131. One study on the extract showed statistically significant weight loss in people taking the extract for four weeks, although body fat didn’t change – just weight.
  • According to, this study was funded by a manufacturer of African mango seed supplements.

The bottom line:  While there may be promise here, further study is definitely needed since the scope and neutrality of the study remain limited. Plus, if you just lose weight but not fat you may just temporarily be losing water weight.

Do You Really Need a Miracle?

These are a few of the many weight loss “miracles” that are touted every year as the latest weight loss miracle. Don’t worry, I’m sure another fill will come along again soon. While there’s typically an excited buzz surrounding them (usually hype generated by product manufacturers), once the science kicks in we typically learn the same thing over and over again:

  • There are no miracles.
  • If you are overweight and eat an unhealthy, processed diet, the best way to lose weight is to limit portion sizes and eat a diet of healthy, unprocessed foods.
  • There is no fast and easy way to lose weight that doesn’t require a change in habits.
  • No pill allows you to eat as much as you want of processed, high-fat, and sugary foods.

The Best (and Cheapest) Way to Lose Weight

Weight loss products and supplements are hitting Americans hard in their wallets. In fact, the least expensive way to lose weight is also the most effective: eat mostly plant-based foods, moderate your portions, and move your body. I go over all of this extensively in how to eat healthy on a budget. It’s a formula that has always worked and will continue to do so. No miracle necessary.




Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Judie

    Good advise, Kimberly,
    I enjoy your web site and your common sense approach to health.

  • barbara

    Thanks for the great article. So true, all what you need to loose that weight is start moving and eat a non processed Diet.

  • Denitsa

    just yesterday one of my co-workers who had a baby about 10 months ago shared with me that she is going to buy weight loss pills because she wants to get rid of her 20lb baby weight I told her that it’s just not necessary and it’s unsafe and all she need to do is eat healthier and she started talking making excuses of how much money it’s going to cost her and how she doesn’t like to eat only fruits and veggies etc…It made me really made that she thought that way so I give her my honest opinion that those weight loss pills will not help her so I shared little ways she can slowly start to change her diet to a healthier one I hope people open their eyes and really see what they are doing to their bodies It’s not expensive and it’s certainly not hard to eat healthy I am doing it and it’s working for me again thank you Kimberly for all the information it’s great

    • Lauryn Doll


      It’s amazing how many excuses we can come up with when the truth is right there in our face isn’t it?

      Most of us know what to do. We just don’t want to put in the work.

      • Denitsa

        exactly right I guess all I was trying to do is share the idea that weigh loss supplements are bad but everybody is responsible for their own body how they take care of it and what they put in it

  • Laura Hasty

    Do you drink your 32oz of ggs all at once or through out the day?
    Thanks, Laura

  • Victoria

    This is such great information. There really is no magic pill, it makes so much more sense to eat a healthy diet and exercise. I know you are a huge fan of the VitaMix (as am I) and it makes it so easy to get lots of fruits and vegetables into your diet.

  • Perilously Pale

    Thankfully since I can’t swallow pills I have never gotten wrapped up in any supplement hoopla since experience has told me that I may think I’ll open capsules etc. and try to gag it down it never lasts long. A lifestyle change needs to be made for so many more reasons than weight loss alone. I don’t know why it is so hard to stay strong. When I made a huge change in eating habits while breastfeeding my colicky son (gave up dairy, coffee, chocolate, etc) I stayed strong. Trying to do it again just for myself I can’t seem to do it. *sigh*
    Thanks for all the great info you continue to provide through your blog/newsletter!

  • Janette

    Kimberley , Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us. It is so true,helpful and encouraging. I feel a little alone because most people seeking out this information need to loose weight ,I have trouble keeping weight on. I know still the answer is this kind of diet. I guess it is still about balancing. I just keep doing the best I can and I do notice things getting better. Any advice you have would be welcomed. Would you advice be different for athletes or very active people (like as far as adding nuts or seeds to sprouted grain bread in a meal) or would you just eat more of one kind of food in a meal? Maybe even wait 20 minutes after a meal and have a protein bar of dates and nuts? Keep sharing with us I look forward to your next post. Janette

  • Eva Sykes

    Great article.. I want to know what your thoughts are on Dr. Oz’s opinion about raspberry ketones? Plus, I have a friend who is selling ACE (Appetite Control & Energy). Do you know anything about these supplements? She had sent me some samples and there was a label on them that said they contained lead and when she sent me another sample that package didn’t have the label. She swears they are “all natural” but I get this feeling it’s just another gimmick. Yes I did try them and yes they did take away my appetite. However in the past month I have changed my lifestyle of eating. I have stopped drinking cow’s milk and switched to almond milk, I have completely removed diet soda from my life, and I have been buying more fresh, organic foods. I have lost almost 10 pounds in 3 weeks that is without any supplements. Dr. Oz states the raspberry ketones help get rid of the belly fat? Is he right or wrong? Also I would like your opinion on the product ACE please.. Thank you!

  • Julia

    Hi Kimberly!

    I like to have your chia seed pudding (2 tbs chia) with stevia as an afternoon snack most days, so I’m not tempted to snack on sugary treats! Is this ok to have every day? I have your power protein smoothie with banana, 1-2 days a week depending on my activity level. Is it ok to freeze the protein smoothie? I have loved the BDS and follow it daily – for a year now!! Thank you for all your wonderful help and info! Xxx

  • Atlanta, GA

    I’ve been following your plan for almost 2 years now and I’ve got so much smaller. I’m only 5 ft and weigh 110 lbs, which is a healthy weight for me. After cutting out dairy and processed food, I saw a drastic change in my body. I dont want to get any smaller, I’m actually trying to GAIN WEIGHT!!! Any suggestions??? I eat good fats (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, etc) to increase my calorie intake but I’m still not gaining. Any advice is appreciated!

  • Terese

    Great advice. I can testify to this. Many persons don’t believe that I had a baby last September.

    But I no longer wish to lose weight. In fact, I think ive lost too much unconsciously. I liked having some amount of flesh. How can I gain healthy weight and maintain that desired weight and shaped (’rounded’)?

  • Janette

    Kimberley, That salad picture on this post looks so good. Could we get the recipe? Janette

  • stef

    I have been making the GGS along with doing a detox smoothie every monday for 5 weeks now and its totally shrinking me and my two older girls! I feel great and am not craving the sweets(and I’m 41yrs old, Iove that sugar!). I have lost 14lbs and one of my girls lost 25 the other doesn’t have much to loose,but she lost 7lbs. No crazy exercise or crash dieting. We are just satisfied and not crazy hungry all the time. We do walk and do stretches along with tummy crunches. Its just wonderful. Thanks Kimberly! I love this site :))

    • stef

      Oh, I drink a GGS EVERYDAY and the Detox Smoothie once a week. Sorry about the miscommunication.

  • Coach Sule

    Love the practical and science vs. non-science(non sense) comparison analysis…keep up the good work. I continue to share your posts with those I care about.

  • Jessica pH-dieten

    Such a good post! I have noticed when I start my day with plenty of greens and vitamins I don’t get the cravings for unhealthy food!

  • VJ

    I have been having 1 GGS a day for about 2 months now and feel great. I was wondering if the amount of sugar from the fruit is too much.

  • Cristal Orpilla, RN

    I always drink the GGS, modified each day with different greens and fruits, as well as Chia seed water ( probably about 3 tbsp worth total on an average day). Is there a maximum amount of Chia seeds that can be consumed in one day, or any side effects from taking in too much? Call me a skeptic, but I’ve always believed that too much of any good thing is not always the best.

  • annejohnsons

    I recommend HCG diet drops. I’m trying it now. So far, so good!

  • Desiree

    Kimberly, I love your book and I followed your suggestions for a short while. Then I went back to eating out all the time and eating whatever I wanted. My issue is that most times I have no self-control. Once I start thinking about eating a certain food I can’t stop thinking about it until I eat it. It’s been so difficult lately because I feel like I’m punishing myself with food for being overweight. I’ve been eating out 7-10 times per week and I know that’s why I’m gaining so much weight. I don’t buy “bad food” for my house so the only time I eat poorly is when I go out to eat. By the way, I am vegan. I really admire you and think you might have some advice for me. Do you have any suggestions for me? You can email me if you want. :)

  • Elsa

    I love all your post. Thank you so much for all this information. I drink the GSS and I lost weight. I love your book!! I haven’t got a time to follow all of it but I am eating more green food :) feels great, my hair is growing and I just want to thank you. You worked hard for us!!

  • Yesenia

    Hi, my name is Yesenia, after my second and last baby I’m still have 40 extra pounds on my, i. Yes, i did try I’m always eat healthy, cook healthy special now with kids, but nothing working on my, my daughter is now 2 ys old, and I’m still big. I have like 2 months now with having very healthy meals, drinking tea , green vegetables juices, well just good things, doing exercise not to much like before , because I’m a busy mom. Well, just last week I did check my weight and I didn’t loose any ounce. This make me so mad and frustrated : plz help. Ty.

    • Ningjing

      Food pairing is also very important, you can have more info from Kimberly’s Beauty Detox Solution. I followed that solution and it really worked for me. Simply eating more veggie wouldn’t work. You know there are lots of people out there who are vegetarian but still over weight. This is the best proof that eating veggie is not enough. When to eat, how to eat, and the sequence of eating all counts.

  • Brad Davenport

    There definitely is a place for supplements. If there wasn’t why are they so popular? But none of them produce magic. They can at best be an aid. Have you looked into the benefits of D3? This has a whole host of benefits, one of which is weight loss.

  • Sophia McGraw

    What is the best fat burning supplement I can use to decrease the fat in my blood and on my

  • Robbin Miller

    Thank you for providing such a nice information about the raspberry ketone and this information is really very impressive. Thanks for taking the time to discuss on this topic, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. It will help us to get rid of extra weight and will provide healthy life.

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  • Zeolit-Bionaturaplus.Com.Ro

    What exacly is sauerkraut? I know itis used on Ruebens and other I rish foods, but what do you use it for that youwould keep a lot of it in your fridge? Does it stay good for a long time?