Placebo, Scams, and the Body
What are diet pills and teas really doing?
Like a lot of people nowadays I spend a lot of time surfing Facebook. I am sharing images of dogs and puppies being cute and kittens being silly with their best friends. However, I have been surfing the web for work out routines that are easy to follow and I can do anywhere. Of course, that affects my Facebook feed. I have been seeing many ads for pills, teas, and coffees that are helping people lose weight, but does it really work? Can a pill slim you down into what you want your body to loo like? The answer is no. No, a pill or a tea cannot slim you down to what you want your body to look like. You might want to know why? well, let me tell you with the research I have conducted with the help of my sister. I first asked her about these products because being a scientist and all she has to know something about these weird products that people are buying. Her response was that if you found a compound in a plant that increased cell metabolism, but that would eventually cause cancer because your metabolism is tightly regulated to prevent the release of reactive oxygen species. So, you would be doing more harm to your body then anything. Most of these ads advertise that they are made from natural ingredients and I think this is where people get caught up in it and start believing it. I, then asked myself "could it be a placebo effect taking part in this?" That's when I received an article called "Expectancy, Self-Efficacy, and Placebo Effect of a Sham Supplement for Weight Loss in Obese Adults" apparently there was a study done to study this phenomenon: All participants were randomized to 1 of 3 conditions:
1) A daily placebo capsule and told that they were taking an active weight loss supplement. So, it was a pill that basically had nothing, but the participants were given the pill to make them believe that it was a weight loss supplement.
2) Daily placebo and told they had a 50% random chance of receiving either the active or placebo. So, participants were not sure what kind of pill they were getting.
3)Lastly, no capsules were given to the last group. As in they continued living their lives normally.
After 12 weeks, weight loss and metabolic outcomes were similar among the 3 groups. That's right! there was barely a difference between taking these weight loss pills and not taking them at all. Participants in the two groups that took capsules showed decreased weight loss and increased expectations of benefit from dietary supplements. Participants not taking capsules showed the opposite, meaning they lost weight. These findings suggest that supplements without weight loss effects may have no effects or effect you to gain weight. There were approximately 114 participants in this study.
Some people believe that since they are taking these pills they do not need to exercise and that is where a lot of people go wrong and end up gaining weight.
Sound familiar? Yep, that is what these companies are doing they are being Cady and you my friend are sadly Regina George buying into this hoax.
This leads me to another study that was done on only 14 adults: the participants in this experiment were split into two groups: isocaloric diet (isocaloric diets are the diets where you rely for energy only on single ingredient.) and the second group being energy-balanced diet (where the calories taken in from the diet are equal to the calories used by the body). The 14 people were engaged in regular exercise three times a week burning about the same amount of energy. The three followed variables were body mass, percentage of fat tissue and BMI and all three of them were pointing towards the isocaloric diet. The placebo effect could explain the changes in the isocaloric group. There were no significant differences in the energy balanced diet group. The scientists of this study claim that the placebo had an affect on the group.
The best way to lose weight is to eat healthy such as following an app such as noom and to exercise regularly. Those are the best proven ways to do dieting correctly. Step away from the pills!