Popular Over-the-Counter Diet Aids
There are many over-the-counter products for weight loss. Individual products often contain several ingredients. Some contain 20 or more. It’s important to read the label before you buy.
The one thing all these ingredients have in common is that none of them have been proved to be both safe and effective. And taking any diet aid makes it hard for you to listen to your hunger signals so that you can have a normal relationship with food.
Most over-the-counter diet aids don't work. And those that do work come with warnings about their safety. Doctors don't recommend any of them.
What it claims to do
Is there evidence that it works?
Is it safe for most people?
|Alli||Blocks fat from the food you eat||Yes||May cause side effects|
|Bitter orange||Burns calories||No||May cause side effects|
|Chitosan||Blocks fat from the food you eat||No||May cause health problems|
|Chromium||Burns fat||No||May cause side effects|
|Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)||Burns fat, lowers appetite||A little||Mild to moderate side effects|
|Dandelion||Increases amount of urine so you lose water weight||A little||May cause health problems|
|Ephedra||Burns calories||Yes||No; banned in U.S.|
|Fucoxanthin||Burns calories and fat||No||Yes|
|Glucomannan||Acts as a laxative to absorb water, so you feel full sooner||A little||Yes|
|Green tea||Burns fat||A little||Yes|
|Guar gum||Lowers appetite||No||Yes|
|Guggul||Aids weight loss||A little||May cause side effects|
|Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)||Lowers appetite||No||May cause side effects|
|Psyllium||Acts as a laxative to absorb water, so you feel full sooner||No||Yes|
|Pyruvate||Burns calories||A little||May cause side effects|
|Spirulina (blue-green algae)||Lowers appetite||No||May cause side effects|
|Yerba maté||Lowers appetite||No||May cause health problems|
|Yohimbine||Burns calories||No||May cause side effects|
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 21, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator