Trendy weight-loss supplements just don’t work—try THIS instead


Have you ever turned to an over-hyped weight loss supplement to aid in your efforts to shed a few unwanted pounds? 

If so, you’re not alone: An astounding one-third of people in the U.S. have done the same. 

But according to a major, new analysis published in the journal Obesity, most of the time, these expensive weight loss supplements are too good to be true. And they fail to make a speck of difference.  

Of course, one natural berry extract has become an exception to that general “rule”…and may actually provide the support you’ve been searching for. And I’ll tell you all about it.  

But first, let’s look a little closer at the new analysis that assessed the quality and effectiveness of 14 popular weight loss supplements… 

Little-to-no evidence to support claims 

Researchers looked at 52 controlled clinical trials on 14 different weight loss supplements, including: 

  • caffeine/ephedra 
  • calcium (which you shouldn’t take as a supplement, regardless of this study) 
  • chitosan (a complex sugar from shellfish) 
  • chocolate/cocoa 
  • conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (a natural substance produced in the gut when digesting fats) 
  • Garcinia cambodgia (a tropical fruit extract) 
  • green tea 
  • white kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) 

None of the supplements were found to consistently or significantly help people lose weight. In fact, only 16 of the 52 studies demonstrated ANY differences in weight between those getting the treatments, compared to placebo. And in those 16 studies, the degree of weight loss varied substantially—from as much as 11 pounds to as little as 1 pound.   

Yet these products—with their snazzy marketing and celebrity endorsements—continue to gain followers and bring in dividends for their questionable manufacturers. And according to the study’s co-author, Dr. Srividya Kidambi, “The temptation is great because someone has a megaphone, but you don’t need a celebrity endorsement and/or splashy headlines to tell you how to lose weight. The medical establishment will speak loudly and clearly when there’s something to say.”  

Thankfully, the science on one little-known natural extract and its ability to support your weight-loss journey IS starting to “speak loudly.” It may even be the ONE exception to my weight-loss supplement rule… 

The research on rose hips is beginning to build 

In a recent study, researchers with Lund University in Sweden focused on a natural extract that comes from rose “hips,” which, as you may recall, are the berries that form on rose bushes, just below the petals. As the fruit of the rose plant, they also contain the seeds. 

For centuries, natural healers have used rose hips to help with everything from skin infections and toothaches to kidney problems and diarrhea. 

And now, researchers are analyzing their effect on weight loss. 

In a recent analysis, researchers fed lab mice a high-fat, calorie-dense diet with or without supplemental rose hip powder for three months.  

Despite this high-fat, calorie-dense diet, the group that received rose hips showed no gain in body weight compared to the control group. Plus, the rose hips group had lower blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol levels. They also had a significantly higher metabolic rate.  

The scientists said they believe the rose hips group performed so well because rose hips help prompt energy expenditure, which is a key part in weight loss. 

Granted, translating these dramatic results to humans requires more work.  

But in the meantime, if you’re trying to lose weight…rose hips could be a nice addition to help kick your body into its natural fat-burning mode. The effective dose for humans appears to be 1,000 mg (or one gram) per day. This amount essentially borders on a food quantity. 

Now, before I go, I do have two reminders about the old standbys of diet and exercise…

Diet and exercise DO matter

As always, the No. 1 thing you should do to get your weight under control (and keep it there) is to completely cut out all the ultra-processed foods…and follow a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-type diet, instead.  

This diet is full of fresh, whole foods—including: 

  • Organic, full-fat dairy (including milk, cheeses, yogurts, and butter) 
  • Organic fruits and vegetables (aim for two fruits and three vegetables a day) 
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Free-range, grass-fed and -finished meats 
  • Wild-caught fish and seafood 
  • Olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar 
  • Alcohol, in moderation 

You should also strive to get 140 to 150 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise every week. Preferably outside in Nature, as I report in the current issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Take a hike [in a good way] this fall”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one! 


“No Good Evidence Weight Loss Supplements Work: Study.” Health Day, 6/23/21. ( 

“Rose hip supplementation increases energy expenditure and induces browning of white adipose tissue,” Nutrition & Metabolism 2016; 13:91.