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There are umpteen reasons to lose weight and the case is not simply a superficial one. Obesity opens the door to life-threatening health conditions, such as coronary heart disease and some types of cancer. Obesity can also foster psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem.
The argument may be airtight but losing weight can remain a daunting prospect if you are just starting out on your weight loss journey.
Making incremental changes to your lifestyle can help, and, while you should not rely on them solely, dietary supplements can support your overall effort.
Garcinia cambogia supplements are among those that have shown promise.
Garcinia cambogia is a fruit-bearing tree that grows throughout Asia, Africa, and the Polynesian islands.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements – a division within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the pulp and rind of its fruit contain high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
HCA is a compound that has been proposed to suppress food intake, and reduce weight gain.
What does the evidence say?
Animal studies support this hypothesis. Studies in rats have found that Garcinia cambogia suppresses food intake and inhibits weight gain.
Human studies have also suggested Garcinia cambogia can lead to modest reductions in weight, although the mechanisms involved are less clear.
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In one study, 89 mildly overweight women received either 800 milligrams of Garcinia cambogia 30 to 60 minutes before meals or a placebo and followed a 1,200 kcal diet for 12 weeks.
Women receiving Garcinia cambogia lost significantly more weight than those receiving placebo.
However, Garcinia cambogia did not alter appetite, and the study produced no evidence that the supplement affected feelings of satiety.
What’s more, a review and meta-analysis of 12 randomised controlled trials with a total of 706 participants examined the effects of Garcinia cambogia on weight loss.
The findings from nine of the trials indicate that when taken for two to 12 weeks, Garcinia cambogia reduces body weight in the short term compared to placebo.
However, the authors noted that most of the studies had methodological issues so the effect on body weight remained inconclusive.
General dietary tips to aid weight loss
“There’s no single rule that applies to everyone, but to lose weight at a safe and sustainable rate of 0.5 to one kilogram a week, most people are advised to reduce their energy intake by 600 calories a day,” explains the NHS.
For most men, this will mean consuming no more than 1,900 calories a day, and for most women, no more than 1,400 calories a day.
According to the NHS, the best way to achieve this is to swap unhealthy and high-energy food choices – such as fast food, processed food and sugary drinks (including alcohol) – for healthier choices.
A healthy diet should consist of:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Plenty of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods (ideally you should choose wholegrain varieties)
- Some milk and dairy foods
- Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
- Just small amounts of food and drinks that are high in fat and sugar.
“Try to avoid foods containing high levels of salt because they can raise your blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people who are already obese,” warns the NHS.
You should aim to eat less than six grams (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoon, adds the health body.
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