Category: Health Blog

Health articles on diet, supplements, and exercise based on the proven science and research

Use It, Or Loose It

The first thing that pops into your mind when somebody said “elderly”

Bones, just like muscles, became stronger as you train them with combination of adequate rest and nutrition. As you grow past 30, they will plateau and then slowly go on a decline. Finally, for some people, they will experience muscle shrinkage i.e. sarcopenia. Aging and its related loss of strength is natural, hence even world class athletes retire. Common university biology undergraduate textbook will tell you that this gradual loss of strength to be expected.  And some personal trainers would simply advice old people to use barbie weights to avoid injury. But how good is this suggestion?

What the Research Says

Surprise! Multiple research, including at Tuft University have actually proven that elderly musculature responded to strength training just as much as younger people do. In fact researchers at University of Potsdam shows that elderly needs up to at least 85% intensity for the improving the rate of force development. Researchers in Korea have shown that even single joint strength training can improve balance on the elderly.

Some find it sensational, but its proven that old people can beat up young professional fighters, provided that the said old person trains properly

Why Do Most Old People Don’t Train?

Laziness is an easy answer. And its true that many of these elderly don’t even like spending time doing exercise in their youth. However, some of them were physically active in their youth. So what happened?

Very common hamstring stretch that could actually give you low back pain if not done properly

Pain is the answer! Be it low nerve pain caused by lower back disorder or joint pain caused by ligament or cartilage damage. Our spine and our joints are host to different connective tissues such as spine disk, cartilage and ligaments that unlike muscles, don’t have blood capillaries in them. Due to the lack of blood capillaries, these tissues do not recover rapidly. Think of how ankle sprain took longer to heal than a cut in the arms. Years, if not decades of bad movement habits are usually one of the reasons that causes these connective tissues to deteriorate over time. Faulty stretching can also cause ligament pain if it involves ligament instead of muscle stretch. Hence movements that used to be pain free became painful as they age.

What is the Solution?

If the elderly in question prefer a fast, easy solution, then do nothing and slowly use his or her mobility is a solution. If this prospect does not sound enticing to some people, then the only solution is to hit the weight room! After all, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the research is unanimous that elderly should do weight bearing exercise. Of course for some people, a proper movement coach is needed, and some movement coach are more “equal” than others. As mentioned in my previous article, even the simple compound exercise done correctly can have rehabilitative effect while done incorrectly will damage your joints! This is the way our body is designed, especially for muscle strength, either you use it, or you loose it. For upper body exercise, the humble push up is one of the best exercise you can do without any equipment and can be easily adjusted based on strength.

Super Healthy Ingredients That Are Not So Super (4 of 4)

And here we are. Although this is the last installment of the not-so-super ingredients, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other super food, super essential oil and the likes on the market that aren’t what they seem. What you, as the customer should really think when reading fancy marketing claims are:

  • Who makes the claim? Independent study or the manufacturers?
  • How was the claim proven? Double blind study or small, biased study?
  • Has it been proven by unrelated third party? Or this “proof” cannot be replicated elsewhere?

So without further ado, let us discuss the last of our super ingredients:

Red Wine

Alleged benefits: Super Anti-Aging, Anti-Cancer Elixir

The French has always extolled red wine as their secret of longevity known as the French paradox.  Ever since people started isolating resveratrol from the red grape, different research groups have been getting positive results on isolated researches on how it would react to the body.  This includes Italian researchers in 2006 who obtained positive results in fighting colon cancer, German researchers in 2008 on its genetic stability effect, and even University of Hubei in China confirmed in 2018 on its anti-aging impact.  All this research is done in isolation, using isolated resveratrol.  The most recent population study done in Chianti in 2014 on men and women over the age of 65 actually failed to show any direct correlation between red wine consumption and markers for cancer and tumor.  Chianti is a famed red wine producing region in Italy

Conclusion: Drink red wine if you are a wine drinker and savor the flavor, and drink in moderation (1~2 glass per day at most).  As for the longevity effect of red wine, the effect seems minuscule on the actual population compared to a host of other known factors.  Hong Kong and Japan are two places with longest life expectancy and both population do not traditionally consume red wine.

Super Healthy Ingredients That Are Not So Super (1 of 4)

In this age of “Back to Nature”, we love to share the news about how certain essential oils, traditional food of exotic culture or drink will help us become healthier and younger.  But how much of this is actually true and how much are just rumors?  Are superfoods really that super? Let’s have a closer look based on what science actually says.

Tea Tree Oil

Alleged benefits: super disinfectant, anti-dandruff, anti-acne, anti-virus cure-all

Talk to any essential oil salesman or google search tea tree oil benefit and you will see or hear a stack full of purported benefits from this super ingredient.  What makes it even more interesting is American Cancer Society statement that there has been no statistically significant, double blind study that actually proved any health benefit of this super ingredient.  Research in 2012 actually showed that Tea Tree Oil should not be used on children as it can cause skin iritations and allergic reactions.  Surely this is all a collusion done by the medical-health mega-industry to maintain their market share right?  Except for the far cheaper and more widely available eucalyptus oil has already proven research that shows it’s beneficial.  If this is all medical industry conspiracy, how come the medical industry openly acknowledge the efficiency of eucalyptus oil that is produced and marketed by companies big and small?

Conclusion: If you are looking for natural oil disinfectant, use eucalyptus oil instead of tea tree oil.  They are cheaper, proven effective, and even proven to help repell mosquitoes, perfect for the summer.

Unsaturated Fat is Good, Saturated Fat is Bad?

In high school, we were taught saturated fat is bad, mono-unsaturated fat is better, and polyunsaturated fat is the best for the heart.  Based on my experience when teaching high school biology under the Cambridge curriculum last year, this was still the case.  All the food shown on the featured image is considered unhealthy mainly because of their high saturated fat content.  How true is this?  After all, we were once taught that margarine is healthier than butter, fructose is healthier than sugar, non-dairy creamer is better than milk, and artificial sweeteners are good for you.  All of this was later proven to be false.

Every 100 gr of soybean oil contains 16 gr of saturated fat, 23 gr of mono-unsaturated fat, and 58 gr of polyunsaturated fat. Every 100 gr of coconut oil on the other hand contains a whooping 87 gr of saturated fat, 6 gr of mono-unsaturated fat, and a miniscule 1.8 gr of polyunsaturated fat. Hence if your high school biology text book is correct, then soybean oil is health food and coconut oil is junk food, right?

The Research

Researchers from University of California, Riverside recently conducted an experiment that split mice into four different groups. The first group was fed with only coconut oil (CO), the second group was fed a mix of coconut oil and soybean oil (CO-SO), the third group was fed with fructose and coconut oil (F-CO) and the last group was fed with a mix of fructose, coconut oil and soybean oil (F-CO-SO).  The total diet percentage of soybean oil and fructose was made to mimic the modern American diet.  The purpose of this mix is to investigate the effect of saturated vs unsaturated along with fructose on health.  The total fat consumption is 40% which is is quite large but not unnatural unlike what some researchers in Australia did by forcing rats to consume 80% fat.

The rats are monitored for significant increases in weight gain, adiposity, diabetes, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance among other things to see the effects of different diet mix on health.

The Result

The second group of mice (CO-SO) experienced weight gain, increased fat tissue, diabetes, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance compared to the first group of mice (CO). They also experienced fatty livers with hepatocyte ballooning and very large lipid droplets as well as shorter colonic crypt length.  The third group of mice (F-CO) did not experience as much obesity or diabetes as the second group, but experienced rectal prolapse and very fatty livers. Genetic markers for diabetes, obesity, inflammation and cancer all increased activity on the second group (SO-CO).  The healthiest group is the first (CO) while the worst off is the last group (F-SO-CO).

Conclusion

1. The Cake is a Lie

Basically all those theories taught at school was based on cherry picking data done to support certain industry agenda.  If the data doesn’t suit them, they would simply throw away the “bad” data.  In the past, reproducibility of a published research was simply not important, allowing these bad researchers to thrive.  There’s also the case like the Harvard researchers that was bribed by the sugar industry to promote more carbohydrate consumption.  Just because something is high in saturated fats, it doesn’t mean that it’s not healthy.  I’m talking about traditional foods such as eggs and cheese that has been misaligned for decades over their saturated fat content.  Of course I personally think cakes are still junk food due to their high content of highly refined carbohydrate.

2. This Is Strictly for Soybean and Coconut Oil

The scope of this research compares soybean oil and coconut oil (regular type, not extra organic virgin harvested from the mouth of an active volcano). It does not encourage you to consume 40% of your diet from oil as there is no study comparison on humans (not rats) with differing level of oil consumptions. It also does not say that saturated fat is better than unsaturated fat. 100 gr of olive oil contains 14 gr of saturated fat, 73 gr of monounsaturated fat 11 gr of polyunsaturated fat, and is still considered as health food despite its high smoke point (unsuitable for frying).  Simply said, food cannot be classified as healthy or not due only to their saturated fat content.

3. Natural Foods Are Better

The problem with highly refined foods is that it separates ingredients that are naturally meant to be consumed together. Just like how fruits are healthy but fruit juice are not.  Soybean oil can only be extracted from an industrial chemical process while coconut oil has been traditionally used societies across South and Southeast Asia for generations.  This is why the main ingredients of Magnus Breakfast Mix are whey protein that is a natural by-product of cheese processing and whole grain rolled oats.

Your Knees Hurts and It’s Your Fault!

Lets face it, when our joints are in pain, the normal reaction would be “what can I buy to deal with it?” In this age of modern technological advances, most people want instant solution. The new being infinitely better than the old. Hence if your foot arch, ankle or knees hurt, getting the latest and greatest gait analysis combined with the latest and greatest cushioning technology should be able to take care of it right?

Why It Doesn’t Make Sense

For those that believe in a creator of the universe, its hard to argue that humans are not created for running and walking. And for those that believed in the theory of evolution, then our ancestors have been walking on two legs for over 3 million years. Projectile weapons (spears) started being used by humans approximately 71,000 years ago. That means that over the majority of our existence, we had to hunt our way to our food by running.

Another thing to consider is the fact that cushioned running shoes only existed for less than half a century. That means that people that cannot walk and run efficiently over the past several millennium will simply get erased off the gene pool.

What Is Causing All The Problems

Just like people with low back pain, people with knee and foot arch pain tend to be looking for a magic pill or magic device they can simply buy to solve all their problems. If not, surgery is the way! This sort of thinking pattern is problematic because outside intervention has its own complications.

The fact is, unless a person is having a rare genetic disorder or experienced a traumatic event (major accident), the typical issue you find on the average population is simply due to the way modern society has evolved:

  1. Over the past 2 generations an increasing number of roads are being smoothly paved, which is great for many things but also causes us to loose our proprioceptive sense from our feet, i.e. we don’t need as much feedback from our feet on the road conditions.
  2. More people simply spend most of their lives sitting down.
  3. The proliferation of bodybuilding principle in the medical world where each muscle has its own individual function. The fact is, most common movement pattern requires a variety of muscles to work together in synchronization.

The Solution

The good news is that the answer to the problem is relatively simple. People need to learn how to squat, lunge and walk with proper forms. Proper forms as in knees not bent inwards, no inward ankle pronation, and how to generate power from the hips. Proper training in these lower body movement patterns will translate to joint conserving daily movements.

The bad news is unlike supplements, accessories and surgery, this is not an instant solution. People need to train regularly, with proper trainer, experiencing gradual improvement. This is a different mindset with what modern society is trying to offer but this is the natural, better way.

This is not to say that specialty shoes don’t have their time and place. The writer of this article himself owns different pairs of shoes for Olympic weightlifting, hiking, and running. The point is that training for proper force alignment will give far superior end results than simply having a specialized shoe to correct an injury causing force alignment.

Gluten and Diabetes

One of the latest diet fats that came over the past 5 years is definitely the gluten free diet. Your favorite fitness guru probably extolled how going gluten free helped him to finally get rid of his facial acne (that you don’t remember of).  Your friend probably insisted that she lost her weight (that is quietly creeping back up) because of her gluten free diet. Surely, there’s nothing wrong with going gluten free right?

What is Gluten Anyway?

Gluten is a type of storage protein found in grains (i.e. rye, wheat, barley and oat). It has viscoelastic property that gives bread and pasta its distinctive chewy texture. Many vegetarian foods also use gluten to create meat imitations.

What is Gluten Intolerance

Some people could develop gluten digestion issues at some point in their life, although it most commonly occurs in childhood. For people highly intolerant to gluten, also known as celiac disease it could cause cancer or even death. The global average of people that suffers from celiac disease is somewhere between 1 to 100 and 1 to 170.

Most people that are self diagnosed having issues with gluten are actually gluten sensitive. Different kind of grain and variety have different kind of gluten in it. And depending on the food processing involved, it could also cause different reaction. Wheat is simply the most commonly used cereal in processed food that happens to have high gluten content. For example, I would get slightly bloated after eating pasta, but no problem eating udon and sourdough bread. A truly gluten intolerant person will get hospitalized if he or she consumes my typical gluten consumption.

Why Many People Initially Loose Weight With This Diet?

Most heavily processed foods use gluten to improve their texture. Many of these foods also contains a high amount of refined carbohydrate (sugar and flour) and hydrogenated vegetable oil (margarine, etc.). None of these are good for your waist line. So when you first go gluten free, they will initially avoid all these vices, think of instant noodles, cakes, cookies, etc. By avoiding these food, you will naturally lose fat.

As gluten free diet becomes mainstream, more heavily processed foods simply became available in a gluten free option.  The longer you stay on a gluten free diet, the more you are aware of these options.  If you are a midnight fridge raider who simply switches to fruits at the beginning of your diet but start switching to gluten free cheese cakes once you are aware of the option, it is a given that the weight you initially lost will simply bounce back gluten free or not.

Gluten Free And Type-2 Diabetes

As mentioned before, gluten is actually a plant protein. And protein is good for a healthy diet. One of the functions of gluten is actually to slow down the absorption of carbohydrate in the digestive tract.

Based on the research by Professor Carol Johnston of Arizona State University, for the general public to maintain their level of processed carbohydrate level using the gluten free variation in the form of bread, biscuits and pasta will actually increase the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. This is due to the fact that without the presence of gluten, the carbohydrate absorption rate will increase. Having a repeated high spike of carbohydrate absorption increases your risk of getting type-2 diabetes. This is the same reason why eating whole fruits is good for your health, but drinking fruit juices are not.

Conclusion

If you are Gluten Intolerant, then yes, you must avoid gluten. Consume healthy natural alternatives instead. Lucky for you, the Paleo movement have created plenty of natural, healthy gluten free alternatives. If you are Gluten Sensitive, simply find what triggers you and then avoid it. Simply consuming any kind of junk food and snacks labeled “gluten free” will actually cause more health damage than simply consuming regular junk food and snack.

Does Whey Protein Cause Heart Attack?

You hear it in the news every other day about another bodybuilder getting a heart attack. And these bodybuilders consume large quantities of whey protein to grow their muscles. So by extension, many people think that taking too much whey protein consumption will increase the risk of getting heart attack.

But how true is that? After all, among the bodybuilding circle, the use of steroid stacking, HGH, DNP, insulin and other chemicals are also common, something that most people are not even familiar with. What happens if there’s a proper research on the effects of whey protein consumption among the general population and see the effect on the main markers of cardio vascular disease?

The Premise

Researchers at University of Reading in UK conducted an experiment in 2016, precisely regarding the effect of whey protein consumption on the general population. Unlike the typical research done by supplement manufacturers, this is a high quality research that was double-blinded, randomized, 3-way-crossover using cassein and placebo in the form of maltodextrin with controlled intervention. The study was done over 8 weeks separated by 4 week washout.

All the test subject would reduce their protein intake from other sources such that the total amount of protein consumed still reflect the average person’s normal protein intake. This is to ensure that any changes observed would be based on the type of protein consumed, not the total amount of protein.

Every test subject will consume 2 scoops of supplement per day. A typical value among bodybuilders but higher than the average population.

The Result

Unhydrolized milk proteins (56 g/d) consumption for 8 wk improved vascular reactivity, including biomarkers of endothelial function, and lipid risk factors. Whey-protein supplementation also lowered 24-h ambulatory SBP and DBP. Although both whey protein and calcium caseinate significantly lowered total cholesterol [−0.26 mmol/L (P = 0.013) and −0.20 mmol/L (P = 0.042), respectively], only whey protein decreased triacylglycerol (−0.23 mmol/L; P = 0.025) compared with the effect of the control.

The Conclusion

The next time your girlfriend / wife / mom complains that you are taking too much whey protein, feel free to show them how this study proves that not only would whey protein not cause heart disease, it will actually lower your risk of getting one. The only caveat is that the total protein consumption on all research subjects remains the same. If you are a potato couch thinking that you can maintain your current diet and lifestyle and simply chug some whey protein to help you lower your cholesterol, you might ended up with a kidney failure instead.

The Soy Debate

Some people became vegan and vegetarian due to religious reason. Some people avoid any milk product due to extreme lactose intolerance. This is all fine. People should be free to make their own choice based on the best option available to them.
Some vegans insisted that everyone should turn vegan, and that being a vegan will lead to optimum health. Fruits and vegetables are indeed necessary part of a healthy diet, but some of these people would go on lengths fudging scientific facts to force you to become a vegan. Fact is that all animal protein contains all 9 essential amino acids our body produces. Many vegans loved to argue that soy also contains all 9 essential amino acids while being healthier than animal protein. So this article would like to dwell deeper into this claim, especially the later part.

Heavy Metals and Protein Drinks

Its been proven statistically that to improve your strength, other than optimal rest and training program, you should also consume more protein than the US recommended daily intake of 0.8 gram of protein / kg body mass. And of course most people want to be stronger.
And its also well known that since the 1980’s where we put heavy metals including lead in everything from kids toys, paint, to fuel additive, heavy metal now exists at varying level in the environment. Hence completely avoiding heavy metal exposure is impossible. What we can do, is try to minimize it to reasonable level to minimize the risk.
Now what is interesting is the most recent study done by Consumer Research that sampled over 150 different brands of protein supplement on the market. The research discovered that brands that has the lowest level of heavy metal content were the whey protein supplement while the ones with the highest level were actually the vegan protein supplements. And having the said supplement labeled as organic or not makes no difference on the heavy metal content.
So there you have it, if you want to be a vegan, that’s fine. If you want to be a vegan and become stronger by consuming vegan protein, you are increasing your risk of getting a load of chronic diseases. What is interesting is that there’s no shortage of vegans bragging about one or two vegan powerlifter or bodybuilder, never mind the fact that as a percentage of population, these vegan athletes make up a minority compared to the omnivore athletes.

Soy Milk Just as Nutritious as Cow Milk

Soybean is cheap, rich in protein, and readily available. Soy also contains complete protein. Something that is rare among vegan protein sources. Hence soy is a very popular protein source among vegans. Yet, soy is also rich in a type of isoflavones that is similar to estrogen on the human body. This compound is commonly referred to as phytoestrogen. And yes, estrogen is the female sexual hormone that is responsible for secondary sexual characteristics in humans.
Some vegans love to argue that these phytoestrogen actually competes with our own naturally produced estrogen and would behave differently once they are bonded with the estrogen receptors, i.e. they would act as estrogen blocker. This is a rather brave hypothesis considering the conflicting research results that are available.
Interestingly, most recent research run by the US National Institute of Health at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia actually showed that babies fed with soy based formula actually showed differences in their reproductive system tissues relative to the babies fed with mother’s milk or cow milk based formula. Of course this study is done on babies, most sensitive to these chemicals.
You can argue that adult humans are less sensitive to phytoestrogens than babies. But if you want to increase your protein intake by increasing your soy consumption, you will also increase your exposure to phytoestrogens. And you can’t argue that this increased exposure has no effect, or just as healthy as cow milk.

Why Most Diet Pills are Either Illegal or Ineffective (3 of 3)

Here we are at the concluding chapter of on diet pills. Does this means that basically there is no hope for weight loss other than exercise and the actual diet itself? Yes, there’s the new “hope” on the media regarding the latest diet pill. But keep in mind that according to the publicized research in cell magazine itself, this compound has only been tested on mice, and proven to increase its endurance. So the way the test was designed, instead of a diet pill, its more of a doping pill for endurance athletes.

This time I would like to discuss the fact that there is actually working diet pill, and they are legal everywhere in the world, and readily available on the cheap. Of course there are some important caveat attached to each of them. Following are the “diet pills” I would recommend.

Diet Pills that are Legal and Effective

Caffeine

Sources: Coffee, Tea and many dietary supplements

Yes, the humble caffeine that has been used for centuries as stimulants actually works. 1980 research had shown that coffee taken after meal will significantly increase your metabolic rate and fat oxidation. The only problem is that as most of you already know, prolonged caffeine consumption leads to tolerance build up, i.e. you need to keep on increasing your dosage to get the same effect. Hence if you are already consuming up to 4 – 5 cups a day, it would be a good idea for you to take an off day or two once in a while to reduce your tolerance. If you don’t, you would need to continually increase your caffeine consumption to get the same effect until you ended up with insomnia. Lack of sleep actually contributes to obesity.

Fiber

Sources: Fruits, Vegetables, and whole grain cereals

Why is it even here? Everyone should know that fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy lifestyle. Not only do they contain high amount of phytochemicals (plant enzymes, vitamins and other micronutrients) and minerals, they also are high in fiber that helps cleans your digestive system and increase your satiety (sense of fullness) from the same amount of calorie. And no, fruit juices doesn’t count because most of the fibers are removed already. Problem is, most of our modern diet are devoid of edible fiber. Most processed food available on the market did not get their “fiber” from what our ancestors would recognize as food, they simply came from additives such as inulin, pectin, polydextrose, methylcellulose, and maltodextrin. These additives can be legally classified as “fiber”, hence allowing “food” manufacturers to claim their frankenfood to be healthy. However, these additives do not produce the same effect in your bowels as fibers that came from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. An exception would be when the fibers are sourced from psyllium husks or grain bran (rice and oat bran). Although I personally think diet alone will not give you six pack abs, this is one diet advice you can use to help you loose weight: Eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains!

Conclusion

The two items above are widely known and comes with their own caveats. For caffeine, your body will build up the caffeine tolerance over time and you will need to “reset” it. For fiber, basically you should eat the naturally sourced ones instead of packed food and supplements that claims they uses “fiber”, eat 5 – 7 servings per day, preferably before having your main meal. Some people might argue that Vitamin B should also be included on the list above, but most updated research on the general population does not show any effect of Vitamin B supplementation on weight loss.   There is currently no commercially viable quick and easy “slim pill” that has no dangerous side effect.

Why Most Diet Pills are Either Illegal or Ineffective (2 of 3)

Continuing from diet pills that are effective but illegal (for a good reason), we are now on the second part in which the diet pills are legal, but are they effective? The multi billion US dollar industry behind it surely are trying to convince you that they are effective.

The Ambiguously Effective Drugs

Beta Alanine

Other Name: 3-aminopropanoic acid, CarnoSyn

Naturally occurring substance. If you look at the science behind it, sounds reasonable, it should work as the manufacturers claimed that it will increase the amount of work the user can do at high intensity. More work done at high intensity = more fat burned during your training session. Bodybuilding.com highly recommend this. So what’s not to like about it?

In 2007, an industry funded study published in Journal of Applied Physiology with 15 male athlete test subject over 4 weeks of supplementation basically failed to show any effect on the athlete’s isometric endurance and actual 400 m race time. Another 2012 meta study done in UK also basically showed that “β-alanine supplementation has no benefit on measures of exercise performance”. Last, in 2014, a US Department of Defense study also failed to show any justification for Beta Alanine consumption.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

This is another naturally occurring chemical that is basically found in abundance on herbivores. Hence if you eat and drink meat and milk from grass fed cows and goats, you should be getting plenty of CLA in your diet. The metabolic pathway that shows CLA consumption can lead to fat loss also seems credible in theory. The nutrition industry continued with saying that the problem is that most of our beef consumption are now from grain fed cows which has far lower CLA, hence we need this supplement to put our body back in Balance. Interesting since from what I know, grain feeding cows are only wide spread in USA. Most of the cows I saw in Ireland and Indonesia are being fed with grass.

A 2007 meta study done by University of Wisconsin over the previous 18 qualified studies simply found that for fat loss purposes, the CLA consumption efficiency is only 0.05 ± 0.05 kg/wk. I.e. your fat loss can be anywhere from 0 to 0.1 kg per week. That’s far lower than what a good diet, rest and exercise can give you. As for other improved athletic performance, colon, lung, prostate and breast cancer prevention, and multiple sclerosis treatment, University of Michigan simply concluded that the evidence is sketchy at best.

Garcinia cambogia

Other name: Hydroxycitric acid (the active ingredient)

Just like the great green coffee extract placebo that has never been clinically proven to be effective, Garcinia cambogia was popularized by the great snake oil salesman Dr. Mehmet Oz. The scientific claim of its effectiveness is from the fact that animal studies show that it can inhibit a fat-producing enzyme in the body and increase levels of serotonin, potentially helping to reduce cravings.

Of course how animals react to certain chemical can be very different with how human body react to it. and in this case, a 1998 study by Columbia University already concluded that this product is no more effective than sugar pills.

Raspbery Ketone

Other name: 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one; RK

It is a major aromatic compound of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus). And despite the promotion you have been hearing at many “health” outlets, there has only been exactly one publicized research by Ehime University in 2005 regarding its effectiveness on rats. So it could be effective or just like Garcinia cambogia, it could only be effective on rats.

Conclusion

Of course there are many other “diet pills” on the market that are priced sky high and claimed to be effective. Listing all of them here will probably bore the readers. I am not claiming that they are all ineffective. I’m just saying that the most popular ones apparently that are proven to be save are not. Are there exceptions, stay tuned for part 3.