It’s all the rage! Everyone is talking about it! Nicole Kidman and Kate Middleton are among the various celebrities who swear by it. But does it really work??? Will the simple act of taking a pill every morning help you shed those pounds? Let’s find out if it’s really the game changer that everyone is raving on about!
Pictured right is Charlotte Hawkins, a Staff Reporter from NZ Women’s Health Magazine. Charlotte reported to lose 12kg in 4 weeks on the extract.
Garcinia cambogia, also known as Brindall berry, Garcinia gummi-gutta and many other names, is a native fruit to Indonesia. It looks like a small pumpkin and is usually a green-yellow, or purple colour, normally the size of an orange, to a grapefruit. Garcinia cambogia is grown for its fruit and in South India is used in similar ways as the tamarind. The fruit is also used in the preparation of curries, as its sour flavour is believed to help with digestion. Sometimes the fruit is used as a laxative for medical needs and boasts of its anti-oxidant qualities. But that’s not what has got us talking about this potential diamond in the rough. This exotic fruit has earned its well-known name through its claims of weight loss.
Believed outcomes of the extract, combined with healthy eating and exercise are:
- Increased protein synthesis and muscle tone
- Decreased hunger
- Decreased food intake
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?
In 2012 Dr Oz promoted Garcinia Cambogia in one of his television episodes. This started the snowball effect that went global fast. Garcinia Cambogia seemed like the “breakthrough in natural weight-loss” that everyone had been waiting for. But does taking this pill really work?
|This is a before and after shot of Emily White, from Auckland. Emily apparently lost 14 kg in just 5 weeks on the extract. Although I hardly believe that she also gained 4 breast cup sizes in that time as well? Personally, I am not convinced that this is the same person, are you?|
The active ingredient in the fruit is called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The science behind how HCA works is through a cascade of events. HCA suppresses certain secretions from the pancreas and intestines, preventing carbohydrate metabolism. This means that because you are not metabolising sugar and other carbohydrates, you can’t store them as fat. The apparent increase in muscle helps you burn more calories in your day and your body turns to its fat stores to produce this energy. I have to say that preventing metabolic processes that are natural for our bodies worries me, a lot. Despite my worries, my research continues….
The extract can be bought from any local pharmacy and the price usually ranges within $30-40, per 60 capsules. If it really does work, then this is a pretty cost-effective weight-loss programme, that won’t break the bank. The recommended intake to see weight-loss effects is 1200mg of HCA per day. Be aware that some pills provide a true-strength of the extract around 8100mg (60%HCA) and suggest up to 3 capsules per day.
After some research on the magic pill, many clinical trials do not support claims that Garcinia cambogia is an effective weight-loss aid.The claims of the pills are supported by a study that used rats, which were exposed to very toxic doses of the extract. These rats showed suppression of fat accumulation, although this study has been contested by many scientists for its design flaws.
One brand of the pill was removed from the market for causing chemical-driven liver damage. In fact, a study has shown that people are twice as likely to develop gastrointestinal problems from taking the extract than they are in receiving benefits from weight loss. There seems to be insufficient research in this area, especially about the side effects of the extract. I suspect that because of all the current media-hype, further research is most likely under way.
The only way to really know for sure if it works is to try it. So, that’s exactly what I am going to do! Over the next 6 weeks while I’m on holiday from University, I’ll be eating right, gyming it and be the guinea pig for this little experiment. I’ll let you know how much I’m taking, what I’m eating and how much I’m hitting the gym. What you really want to know is how much weight I’ll lose….keep tuned to find out!
- Click here watch the Dr Oz episode on Garcinia cambogia
Further reading if you’re interested: