- Natural weight loss supplements include caffeine, green tea, green coffee bean, and African mango.
- Caffeine-based supplements can trigger fat breakdown and help you burn more calories.
- Green tea contains EGCG, which is an antioxidant found in many weight loss supplements.
To lose weight effectively, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly will be most important. But for some people, natural weight loss supplements may also help on top of your lifestyle changes.
“Natural weight loss supplements can help you lose weight in three ways – increasing the number of calories you burn, reducing your appetite, and reducing your ability to absorb calories from food,” says Dimitar Marinov, MD, PhD, an assistant professor with expertise in nutrition at the Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria.
Here’s how caffeine, green tea, and other popular ingredients found in natural weight loss supplements might help you lose weight and how they work.
A safety note on natural weight loss supplements
In the US, the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements as strictly as other medications. This makes it more likely for unsafe weight loss supplements to enter the market.
You should tell your doctor about any supplements you want to try, so they can help you determine if it’s right for you. In addition, you should consult your doctor to develop a healthy weight loss plan that’s most safe for your individual needs.
Research is still emerging on the effectiveness and safety of these natural weight loss supplements, and there can be side effects, so it’s important to be cautious and seek expert medical advice before using them.
You are likely already familiar with caffeine from your morning cup of coffee. But caffeine can be found in kola nut, tea, and some other herbs. It’s a common ingredient for many weight-loss supplements because it is a stimulant that can trigger fat breakdown and help your burn more calories.
In a 2018 review, researchers found that a doubling in caffeine intake resulted in increased weight loss. In addition, a small 2005 study found a greater reduction in weight, fat mass, and waist size in high caffeine consumers, as compared to the placebo group.
For most adults, 400 to 500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine is typically recommended as a safe amount for daily caffeine consumption, but you do run the risk of having shakiness and jitters. Consuming excess caffeine can cause you to build a tolerance to it, which will reduce its effectiveness. At very high doses caffeine may also cause nausea and vomiting.
2. Green coffee bean
Green coffee bean is used in many dietary supplements because some evidence shows that it may help to decrease fat, and convert blood sugar into energy instead of fat.
In a 2011 review of studies on the effectiveness of green coffee bean extract as a weight-loss supplement, researchers found that green coffee beans may promote weight loss. However, more research is needed to determine its full effects.
The National Institutes of Health states that green coffee bean is safe when you consume nothing more than 200 milligrams (mg) a day for less than 12 weeks. Some people might experience minor side effects like headaches and develop urinary tract infections (UTIs) when using green coffee bean.
3. Green tea
Aside from being a popular beverage across the world, green tea is a common ingredient in many weight loss supplements. Green tea is thought to help you lose weight by increasing the number of calories your body burns and helping to decrease fat absorption and the amount of fat your body makes.
In a small 2008 study on the effectiveness of green tea for weight loss in obese people, researchers split participants into two groups. The first group was given green tea, and the second a placebo over a period of 12 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that there was a 3.3kg difference in weight loss between the participants in the group who drank the tea and the placebo group. They concluded that green tea can help with weight loss.
According to Marinov, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is the main antioxidant in green tea, is a common ingredient in many weight loss solutions. However, evidence of the effectiveness of EGCG on weight loss is inconsistent. Most studies find that EGCG is most effective when taken in combination with caffeine.
If you are going to use green tea as a weight-loss supplement, keep in mind that pills that contain green tea extract may not be safe. Drinking plain green tea is a better alternative.
4. African mango
African mango is thought to help with weight loss by preventing fat tissue from forming. While it is safe to use African mango, some people have reported experiencing minor side effects like flatulence, headaches, and sleeping problems.
Africa mango may also be one of the riskier weight-loss supplements. “There is littl
e published evidence and a lack of dosing guidelines based on scientific studies. There are also very few explanations for its interactions with medication and side effects,” says Jagdish Khubchandan, PhD, a professor in the department of nutrition and health science at New Mexico State University.
However, short-term administration in some experimental studies has shown that African mango could help with weight loss and weight management. In a 2009 study on whether a seed extract from African mango could help with weight loss in people who are overweight, researchers split a group of 102 participants into two. One group was given the seed extract every day for 10 weeks, and the other group given a placebo.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that there was a significant reduction in body weight, fat and the waist circumference in the people who were given the extract, as compared to the placebo group.
Though research has found some promising effects, many of these natural weight loss supplements are yet to be proven and come with a risk for side effects. Plus, they won’t help you lose weight on their own.
“Natural weight loss supplements are effective only when you control your diet and calorie intake. They can make it easier to maintain a caloric deficit, eat less, and lose weight, but the only way to guarantee weight loss success is to track your food intake,” says Marinov.
Overall, it’s important to speak with a doctor or nutritionist about the right health plan for you to lose weight safely and effectively.