Gummy supplements have been increasingly popular in the last decade, and weight loss gummies are the newest craze. Sweet and chewy, just like that favorite candy, people love to pop them in the hopes they will do what the label claims. But will these gooey candies really help you lose meaningful weight, and should you spend your hard-earned money on them?
Ingredients in Weight Loss Gummies
Any supplement is only as effective as the ingredients it contains. Weight loss gummies may contain any number of active and inactive ingredients, depending on the brand. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top brands on the market.
Hydroxycut Gummies: According to the Hydroxycut website, Hydroxycut gummies are a 2-in-1 solution — weight loss supplement plus multivitamin. They contain:
- 16 different essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, C, D, A and K; B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, B12, biotin, and pantothenic acid; and the essential minerals calcium, iodine, zinc, selenium and sodium. Hydroxycut gummies provide less than 100 percent of the Daily Value of the majority of these nutrients, however, the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, biotin, folate and pantothenic acid are found in larger supply with 125 to 300 percent of the Daily Value.
- C. canephora robusta extract (bean) (robusta coffee), 200 milligrams, standardized for 45 percent cholorgenic acids, and supplying polyphenols and caffeoylquinic acids.
- Inactive ingredients corn syrup, sugar, pectin, citric acid, natural flavors, colors, fractionated coconut oil, Lo Han Guo fruit concentrate and carnuba wax.
Green Coffee Bean Extract for Weight Loss
Hydroxycut claims its gummies are formulated with a key weight loss ingredient — C. canephora extract — that has been scientifically researched to aid weight loss. It points to two studies of C. canephora, or green coffee extract, that showed positive results in inducing weight loss and improving body composition. It’s important to note that these studies were not conducted on Hydroxycut gummies, just the active ingredient, green coffee extract.
In the first study 50 overweight volunteers with a body mass index, or BMI, over 25 received either a capsule containing 200 milligrams of green coffee extract called Svetol or a placebo twice daily for 60 days. Each group also followed a low-calorie diet.
After the treatment period, the group receiving the Stevol supplement lost an average of approximately 5 pounds of weight compared to the control group. Body mass index declined and the ratio of muscle mass to fat mass increased. The researchers concluded that Svetol was able to “exacerbate effect of a bland low caloric diet in volunteers who have overweight.” No information was provided about what the participants ate or whether they exercised.
The second study involved 90 male and female overweight participants divided equally into a treatment group and a control group. The treatment group took a decaffeinated green coffee extract in a 200 milligram dose twice a day for 8 weeks. Both groups were instructed to follow a healthy, calorie-controlled day and exercise moderately each day.
At the end of the study, the treatment group had lost an average of 3.7 pounds, compared to 1.25 pounds for the control group. There was also a statistically significant reduction in BMI and body fat percentage, the study researchers reported.
These results are promising, but small studies like these have a wide margin of error and cannot be considered thorough by any means. Typically, small studies like these that yield positive results should then be tested in much larger populations in order to verify the original findings. So far, these have not. In order to say definitively whether or not the green coffee extract found in Hydroxycut gummies will really help you lose weight, larger studies — and studies specifically involving the Hydroxy cut supplement — should be conducted.
B Vitamins in Hydroxycut Gummies
Hydroxycut claims that the addition of B vitamins helps metabolize macronutrients — fats, proteins and carbs. This is correct. Having adequate amounts of B vitamins is necessary for a healthy metabolism.
However, most people can get all the B vitamins they need from a healthy diet. There is no evidence that getting B vitamins in excess of the recommended amounts promotes weight loss. For example, weight loss clinics often provide B-12 shots claiming that high-dose B-12 can increase metabolism and give you more energy. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, there is no evidence to support this.
Other Ingredients in Hydroxycut Weight Loss Gummies
Read the fine print under the nutrition facts label and you’ll see that Hydroxycut weight loss gummies contain these other ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, pectin, citric acid, natural flavors, fractionated coconut oil, Lo Han Guo fruit concentrate and carnuba wax. Corn syrup and sugar? Doesn’t sound very good for weight loss. In fact, each serving of three gummies contains 5 grams of added sugar. That does not get my seal of approval.
What About Other Weight Loss Gummies?
Other brands of weight loss gummies on the market contain different ingredients. SkinnyMint has two types of weight loss gummies it refers to as Power Up Gummies and Hunger Buster gummies.
The ingredients in the Power Up gummies are similar to those in Hydroxycut weight loss gummies: Green Coffee Bean Extract (Coffee robusta L.) (Seed), Maltitol, Isomalt, Water, Citrus Pectin, Citric Acid, Adipic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Mixed Fruit Flavor, FD&C Yellow#5, Blue#1, Titanium Dioxide and Sucrolose.
The ingredients in Hunger Buster include: Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Maltitol, Isomalt, Water, Citrus Pectin, Citric Acid, Adipic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural Strawberry Flavour, FD&C Red#40, Titanium Dioxide and Sucralose.
Garcinia cambogia is a fruit native to India and Southeast Asia, where the pulp and rind have long been used as a condiment and food preservative. In the West, the fruit is touted for its weight loss benefits, but according to the National Institutes of Health, there is little scientific support for this claim. A review of research conducted in 2020 found no significant results in people taking garcinia gambogia products.
More importantly, NIH reports several dozen cases of liver toxicity in people taking supplements containing garcinia gambogia. Other effects that may occur include headache, nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. It is not clear whether garcinia gambogia is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Flat Tummy Co. claims its gummies reduce appetite, support digestion, and improve energy. The main ingredient in Flat Tummy Co. weight loss gummies is nothing more than apple cider vinegar. The supplement also contains some B vitamins in amounts equal to or less than the Daily Value.
Unless you are deficient, B vitamins in supplements will have no effect on weight loss. But what about good old apple cider vinegar, which I personally love to use on salads? Fanatics praise it for a long list of benefits, including weight loss, but is there any truth to it?
Nope. According to Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., there is little scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar has any effect on weight or metabolism. Results from small-scale studies have been inconsistent.
Should You Try Weight Loss Gummies?
My answer is a hard no. I always recommend that my clients stay away from supplements except for a few specific ones as well as any recommended by their doctor. There are several reasons for this:
Supplements are expensive. A one month’s supply of SkinnyMint gummies costs a whopping $40! Since it’s something you’d need to take continuously to see any real effects (if there are any!), you’d be out almost $500 a year on a single supplement that is not scientifically proven to work.
Forty dollars a month is a gym membership in many places, or a ton of fresh fruits and veggies. It’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend on something that will not prove any more effective than regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Supplements aren’t tested. The FDA regulates dietary supplements as a food not a drug. Therefore, it does not test them for safety or effectiveness. Manufacturers can make all sorts of claims about what their products contain and what they do, but none of these are validated.
Unless a supplement says it’s been third-party tested by a reputable company, you cannot possibly know what is actually in the supplement. And unless a high-quality, large-scale study has been conducted involving the specific supplement, you can’t know whether or not it does what it promises to do.
Supplements aren’t a magic bullet. Some of the questions on the Amazon product page for Hydroxycut weight loss gummies show that people are hoping it’s a magic pill. “Do I have to exercise when I’m taking these to see results?” Yes! You cannot rely on a supplement to do the work to lose weight. Losing weight takes commitment, dedication, and persistence, and you won’t find any of those on a shelf in your local supplement store. Please do not believe the hype.
Eat Real Food and Exercise
Want the fat-burning effects of caffeine? Make a cup of coffee before you head to the gym. Want to see if apple cider vinegar works? Pour some on a fresh salad. Think you might need more B vitamins? Eat foods rich in them and check in with your doctor for a blood test.
Save your supplement money for whole, fresh foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and plant-based protein, nuts, seeds and other healthy oils. Buy a gym membership or take up a sport you love. Move your body daily. Drink water, reduce your stress levels, play with your kids and pets, sleep well, smile, love. Don’t hang your hopes on a candy for kids posing as a solution to your problems. Invest in yourself, not a supplement manufacturer.
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