Recent episodes of Dr. Oz touted two supplements – Yacon Syrup and Garcinia Cambogia – as potential game changers for natural weight loss in women. While both can act as an appetite suppressant and help to reduce food cravings, they do so in very different ways and have very different side benefits associated with them.
Garcinia Cambogia, a small pumpkin shaped fruit also known as the tamarind, is native to Indonesia. The natural extract from the rind of the fruit, known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA), is claimed by researchers to double or triple one’s weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. This is achieved by blocking fat absorption and suppressing appetite.
Garcinia Cambogia may be especially beneficial for “emotional eaters” as it is shown to increase serotonin levels in test subjects. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter secreted by the body and is associated with feelings of happiness. Serotonin is often the primary target for antidepressants.
Subjects who have poor sleep patterns are often serotonin deficient and report feelings of depression, anxiety, and increased appetite. Increased serotonin levels could benefit an insomnic subject and reduce food cravings.
Yacon Syrup is made from the root of the Fruit of the same name, a plant indigenous to the Andes region of South America. The plant’s active ingredient is fructuooligosaccharides (FOS), a substance which has been shown to aid in blood sugar control. In addition to this, it was shown to reduce levels of the hormone ghrelin, thus inhibiting appetite in test subjects. FOS has also been shown to aid in the treatment of constipation, a common problem for obese test subjects.
In a study published by the National Institutes of Health in 2009 of perimenopausal, obese women, Yacon syrup was shown to produce a significant weight loss in the majority of subjects participating in a 120 day trial. Study participants also saw a marked reduction in LDL cholesterol as a side benefit of the use of this product.
Either of these products, if used as directed, have the potential to aid in weight loss. While that, in and of itself is exciting, the potential side benefits of lower cholesterol, improved blood sugar control, increased serotonin levels, and reduced constipation, could make these products the next weapon in the battle of the bulge.