No Substance To Weight-loss Products
By Anthony Almada, M.S.

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)—a component of the tamarind (Garcinia cambogia) fruit rind—has been widely marketed as a weight-loss ingredient in products such as Citrin and CitriMax. However, the science tells a different tale.

One of the most widely publicized human studies involved 135 obese men and women who took 500 mg of HCA from a Garcinia extract three times daily before meals while on a 12-week, low-calorie diet. The HCA group did no better than the placebo group in terms of body fat loss or weight reduction.

Another recent study analyzed a group of 89 modestly overweight women who followed a mildly restricted diet for 12 weeks and either took 400 mg of HCA (as Citrin) or placebo three times daily before meals. While their appetites were unaffected, both groups lost weight and reduced their waist sizes, but the HCA group lost more. However, they did not lose more body fat. This suggests the HCA group lost more fat-free weight, including bone, water and/or muscle—not a healthy weight-loss plan.

Exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, M.S. has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies and is founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.