When it comes to losing weight, people will try just about anything: pills, an extreme diet, and even purposely starving themselves — err, we mean intermittent fasting. One strategy that’s been around for centuries is using herbal medicines such as teas, leaves, and powders. These products have been pushed by celebrities and alternative medicine enthusiasts as a way to lose your gut and feel better without taking prescription pills or having to undergo extreme lifestyle changes.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, according to one study, it is.
Researchers at the University of Sydney found that there is insufficient evidence to recommend herbal medicine for weight loss because the number of pounds shed through it only equaled about 5.5 pounds or less.
For the analysis, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, the researchers looked at 54 randomized trials comparing the effects of herbal medicine for weight loss compared to a placebo. The herbal medicines included teas, other liquids, and powders made from green tea leaves, garcinia cambogia, white kidney bean, and African mango, along with hundreds of other plants.
They found that while the herbs did result in more weight loss than placebos, it wasn’t a lot — again, only about 5.5 pounds or less. Yet, one of the studies the researchers looked at found that 16 percent of U.S. adults have used herbal medicines to try to lose weight in the last year.
They also pointed out that, unlike pills, herbal treatments don’t need to be evaluated by federal agencies before they’re made available on supermarket shelves. Additionally, many of the products can be expensive and offer very little return on investment, they said.
If you’re a longtime reader of this site, there’s a good chance you’re not one of those people who turn to tea to shed a few pounds. You also know there’s only one tried-and-true way to lose weight: eat whole foods and consume fewer calories than you burn during a day.