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Hoodia Diet Pills: An Effective Way to Lose Weight?

Whitney | January 21st, 2013

Hoodia diet pills became a huge weight loss trend a few years back, and while they lack solid evidence of their efficacy, their popularity continues today. Hoodia gordonii, the active ingredient in the diet pills, is supposed to suppress appetite so dieters consume fewer calories each day. However, clinical research on hoodia is slim at best, with a handful of studies indicating hoodia might have an effect on appetite, while others show no benefit whatsoever.

What is hoodia gordonii?

Hoodia gordonii is a cactus-like succulent that grows in the Kalahari Desert in the southern region of Africa. The plant received notoriety after it was discovered that tribesmen in the region traditionally ate the stems of the plant on long hunting trips, to ward off hunger pangs and thirst. Now, extracts of the plant are placed in pills, to help dieters curb appetites.

Unfortunately, hoodia weight loss may boast more hype than substance. A few scientists have found that a molecule in hoodia, P57, may indeed suppress feelings of hunger by affecting the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates appetite. An associate professor at Brown University in Rhode Island, David MacLean, did a study on animals that showed the molecule does effectively suppress appetite. Initial studies on humans show a similar result.

Research sparse, authentic product rare

However, the positive results on hoodia diet pills have been too few and far between to convince many scientists to tout the medication as an effective weight loss tool. An online report by the Mayo Clinic stated the clinic’s position on the diet pill as “no conclusive evidence to support the claim” that hoodia helps dieters lose weight. Many health experts such as the physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, remain skeptical of the effectiveness of hoodia as well.

Even if hoodia does play a role in appetite suppression, another problem exists with the hoodia diet pills on the market today. Many of them contain little – if any – authentic hoodia at all. For buyers interested in the diet product, it can be difficult to know which products offer the real McCoy, short of sending the supplement to an independent lab for testing. Shoppers can also ask companies for a copy of the product’s certification. Since hoodia gordonii is considered a protected plant in Africa, companies exporting the substance must have certification from the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

How to lose weight safely, without diet pills

Despite the enticing claims made by manufacturers of hoodia diet pills, there are safer, better ways to lose weight today. A physician-guided weight loss program, customized to the patient’s specific medical needs and metabolic rate, provides consistent, positive results for most dieters. The Center for Medical Weight Loss offers just such a program, combining a low-calorie diet, physical activity and personal counseling to help dieters reach their weight loss goals. Check out some of their testimonials of successful weight loss right now!

According to research results published in noted medical journals, patients on the Center’s program lost an average of 11.1 percent of their total body weight in just 12 weeks. The majority of patients kept the weight off for one year or longer, according to follow up studies. There are currently 450 centers nationwide to help patients achieve a leaner, healthier physique. Enter your information in the boxes to the right to find a center near you. Special introductory offers are available for first-time customers in most locations.

  1. Hoodia: Lots of Hoopla, Little Science. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/hoodia-lots-of-hoopla-little-science

  2. Over-the-counter weight-loss pills: Do they work? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/HQ01160