The Skinny On Lipozene

This Supplement May Be Lying About its Health and Weight Loss Effects

Young woman taking pill with water, close up, looking away
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It is easy to be lured into the ads for weight loss pills, such as Lipozene. You may have seen their ads on TV: "Reduce pounds of body fat and weight without a change in lifestyle." All you have to do is take up to two Lipozene capsules, three times a day before each meal, for a total daily maximum dosage of six capsules. Oh, and there are clinical studies to back up the product!

Sound too good to be true?

Well, it is.

As with most weight loss ads, especially those boasting dramatic before- and after-photos, there is always a back story to those results and those claims. But in the case of Lipozene, this may be especially true. 

Is Lipozene Really Scientifically Proven?

The active ingredient in Lipozene is Konjac Glucomannan, and its link to weight loss isn't strong. There are two small studies, meaning that there were less than 100 people participating, that test this ingredient for weight loss. The first divided 83 obese adults into two groups, placebo and treatment, who took a supplement containing either 3 grams of konjac glucomannan/300 miligrams calcium carbonate or a placebo containing only 300 miligrams of calcium carbonate.

Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) total body scans and a 42-measurement blood test were completed at baseline and 60 days later. An October 2015 report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition states there were no significant differences in body composition and blood work between the two groups.

 

The second study out of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, found that when 30 overweight and obese men, who supplemented with the soluble fiber, 3 grams of Konjac Glucomannan daily, while following a carbohydrate restricted diet for 12 weeks, the glucomaanan didn't really have an effect. In a 2007 issue of Metabolism, the researchers reported that although clearly effective at lowering LDL cholesterol, adding soluble fiber to a carbohydrate restricted diet during active and significant weight loss provided no additional benefits compared to the diet alone.

Both of these studies didn't produce results that would support the claims Lipozene makes, and there is no evidence that the company funded either one of these studies.

Case Action Suit and the FDA

On January 17, 2012, a class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California accusing the maker of Lipozene, Obesity Research Institute LLC, ­for making false and misleading claims about its efficacy.

While that case, plays out in the court system, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), a self-regulatory body of the advertising industry, requested that Obesity Research Institute modify or drop the claim that Lipozene has “no known side effects when taken as directed,” and modify or drop consumer testimonials altogether. The company didn't agree, so the National Advertising Division decided to refer the Lipozene advertising claims to the FTC for further review. 

On March 7, 2014, the FDA sent a letter to the makers of Lipozene stating that it is a drug since it claims to "cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease conditions."

The Takeaway

Lipozene is still available, but it is a good example of how weight loss claims can be too good to be true. Losing weight requires hard work, and even plastic surgery cannot magically take away the pounds. 

Sources

Kaats GR, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. Konjac Glucomannan Dietary Supplementation Causes Significant Fat Loss in Compliant Overweight Adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Oct 22:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Wood RJ, Fernandez ML, Sharman MJ, Silvestre R, Greene CM, Zern TL, Shrestha S, Judelson DA, Gomez AL, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. Effects of a carbohydrate-restricted diet with and without supplemental soluble fiber on plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and other clinical markers of cardiovascular risk. Metabolism. 2007 Jan;56(1):58-67.

Elaine Watson. "Lipozene weight loss class action reignites konjac efficacy debate." 19-Jan-2012. NutraIngredients.com

FDA Warning Letter 14-SJN-WL-02 March 7, 2014.

ASRC Press Releases, NAD Refers Advertising for Obesity Research Council’s ‘Lipozene’ to FTC for Review after Advertiser Declines to Participate in NAD Proceeding, Dec. 23, 2014.

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