So I am tooling around on Facebook and of course I see some diet ad sponsored by stupid Dr. Oz who I just cannot stand. Why? Why do I hate him so? Because he is an extremist, an alarmist. He’s scares the crap out of my mom on a daily basis with his cancer scares, his fibromyalgia horror stories, his O.C.D./germophobe nightmare pieces; it is simply maddening to watch her watch this schlock. I don’t like anyone who scares my mom. There are so many reasons to hate Dr. Oz. But most of all, I hate him for his diet and weight loss advice. From green coffee pills to his South Beach Diet secrets and now, here’s a new one I have never heard of: Garcinia cambogia. Dr. Oz, who claims not to receive a dime for endorsing these poorly studied products (yeah, right) says this little known supplement is the answer to our fat-busting dreams. But what the heck is Garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is also known as Hyroxycitric acid or HCA and is a compound derived from the fruit of a type of tamarind plant known as the Malabar tamarind and is found in southeast Asia. Now what does Oz and his Dr. Chan suggest that HCA does? This is directly from the website attached to the ad on Facebook: “The first way is it goes in and causes the body to burn glucose, or sugar, and burn fat, mainly in the liver…The second way, the most important way, is it slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. So when you don’t have sugar building up in the blood stream, you don’t have fat building up because sugar turns to fat…When the two are combined together, you get this synergistic effect that basically burns and blocks and stops fat, but it also is natural and safe.”
Whoa! It’s a miracle. So you can eat whatever you want and never exercise and take these pills and never gain weight? O.M.G! Does it sound too good to be true? Guess what? No surprise, it is. I did some poking around in my Health Professional’s Guide to Popular Supplements. Certain scientists purport that HCA is a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme ATP-citrate-lyase, which converts citrate, a by-product of carbohydrate catabolism, into Acetyl-CoA. Huh? What on Earth does that mean? This is fancy science talk basically saying that HCA is a substance that blocks the action of a certain enzyme that causes fat synthesis. But does it?
Here’s the science done to date: There have been only preliminary trials that test the active ingredient HCA and these results have only shown questionable evidence for efficacy in weight control. These studies have shown only limited beneficial effects of the supplement on body composition and there is much criticism of the poor quality of the trial’s designs. In one of these studies, people lost weight whether or not they took HCA. In another, no significant reduction in fat mass occurred in test subjects nor was there any effects on appetite suppression. In yet another there was no difference in weight loss between the control and test subjects and both groups lost weight whether they used the drug or were given the placebo. Another study showed no significant difference in the respiratory quotient and energy expenditure in humans after an overnight fast. Two more studies showed no significance in efficacy of the drug either. Additionally, there also have been no long-term safety studies on HCA in humans. The longest study in humans was a mere 12 weeks.
How does he call himself a doctor? He pumps this crap across the airwaves on a daily basis with very little to back his claims, but because he has Dr. in front of his last name we are supposed to believe him? Even if Garcinia cambogia is the new weight loss drug of the future, it is far too soon to make this claim. So perhaps, “Dr.” Oz should put science ahead of sensationalism? Oh, but that wouldn’t make good TV now would it?
Fragakis, A. S., & Thompson, C. (2007). The health professionals guide to popular dietary supplements. (3rd ed.). United States of America: American Dietetic Association. pp.307-311.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://184.108.40.206/diet/us/garcinia/original/2/?AFFID=1427
- Is Garcinia Cambogia Just Another Bogus Supplement? (loseweighthome.wordpress.com)