Most vitamins and supplements do not help with weight loss
Claim: Certain vitamins or supplements will help with weight loss. Probably not. Although there are thousands of weight loss vitamins and supplements for sale, most don't work. Some can even hurt you. Don’t fall for weight loss “tricks.
Many products claim they “melt fat,” boost metabolism, or help you shed pounds fast. Science does not support these claims. In most cases, there is no proof that the products work at all.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates weight loss drugs but does not review or approve
weight loss products sold as food or supplements. Most doctors do not recommend these products.
What the science says
- Even “natural” ingredients can hurt you.
- Vitamins and supplements can cause side effects or interact with medicines.
- Sellers often make false claims about what’s in the product. Many products don’t actually contain the listed ingredients. Some popular weight loss supplements have been found to contain medicines banned by the FDA.
- Sellers often tout fake tests. For example, their “tests” may use bad study designs or involve people who are paid by the company.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 23,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to side effects from dietary supplements, with weight loss supplements being the most common culprit.
The products below are supported by scientific studies. They may help you lose a little weight, but not much. They only work if used together with other weight loss strategies.
What’s the best way to lose weight?
- Fiber. Fiber helps you feel full, which can make it easier to cut calories. You can get fiber from foods or low-cost fiber supplements. Expensive fiber supplements don’t work any better than basic ones.
- Green tea. Green tea may affect how your body processes fats and burns energy. You can consume it as tea, pills, or extracts. Don’t fall for unrealistic weight loss claims on more expensive products. Watch for side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, and nervousness.
- Caffeine. Caffeine can lower your appetite a bit, but only in people who don’t usually consume it. The effect goes away once your body develops a tolerance. Be careful: too much caffeine can be dangerous. Caffeine is not recommended for children.
The best thing you can do is find a healthy diet and lifestyle
you can stick with. Studies show that your ability to sustain a pattern of healthy eating
over many years is more important than the specific blend of carbohydrates, fat, protein, and other components you eat.
- Your diet should help you balance calories consumed with calories spent.
- Your diet should include healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
- Some dietary patterns (such as the Mediterranean diet, a low-carb diet, or a low-fat diet) have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off. However, none of these dietary plans have been proven to always work better than the others.
Typically, you will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume. Eating well and exercising
can help you strike the right balance.
The longer you stick to your healthy lifestyle behaviors, the better the outcome. But no single factor
causes a person to be fat or thin. Body weight is also influenced by:
You’re not alone.
- Your snacking habits
- Your genes
- Sleep patterns
- Mental health
- How your body responds to foods and hormones
- The culture and environment where you live
If you’re struggling to lose weight, consider seeing your doctor, finding a support group, or joining a weight loss program in your community.
Science shows that structured weight loss programs
, FDA-approved medicines, and surgery can be beneficial for some people. Many health insurance plans cover weight loss treatments.
Your doctor can also help you figure out how much weight you need to lose. Often, a little weight loss goes a long way. Studies show that people who are overweight can significantly improve health markers like blood pressure
after losing just 5% of their body weight. Resources: CDC – Losing weight FDA – Beware of products promising miracle weight loss NIH – Weight management NIH – Healthy weight National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – Food and Nutrition studies National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – Roundtable on Obesity Solutions Health.gov – Physical activity guidelines