Research

Review shows minimal evidence that dietary supplements lead to weight loss

Researchers completed a comprehensive review of 315 existing clinical trials of weight loss supplements and therapies and found that most of the studies showed the supplements did not produce weight loss among users.

A person standing on a scale
(Adobe stock image)

Although Americans spend billions on them, published research shows a lack of strong evidence that dietary supplements and alternative therapies help adults lose weight, according to a new study published in the flagship journal of The Obesity Society and co-authored by UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Associate Professor John Batsis, M.D.

There are hundreds of weight-loss supplements like green tea extract, chitosan, guar gum and conjugated linoleic acid, and an estimated 34% of Americans who are trying to lose weight have used one.

The paper’s authors explain that patients often struggle to lose or maintain weight, either because of a lack of efficacy of existing Federal Drug Administration approved therapies or a lack of access to health care professionals who provide treatments for obesity.

Read more about the study.