Garcinia Cambogia: Safe for Weight Loss?

garcinia-cambogia-2015Pure Garcinia cambogia, a tropical fruit also known as the Malabar tamarind, is a popular weight-loss supplement. People say it blocks your body’s ability to make fat and it puts the brakes on your appetite. It could help keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check, too. You’ll find it in bottles on the shelf at the store as well as mixed with other ingredients in diet products.

Does it live up to its hype? Maybe a little, but it might not be worth it.

How It Works

The active ingredient in the fruit’s rind, hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, has boosted fat-burning and cut back appetite in studies. It appears to block an enzyme called citrate lyase, which your body uses to make fat. It also raises levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which may make you feel less hungry.

But actual weight loss results aren’t impressive. A review published in the Journal of Obesity found that people who took garcinia cambogia in studies lost about 2 pounds more than people who didn’t take it. The reviewers couldn’t say for sure that the weight loss was because of the supplement. It could have been from the lower-calorie diet and exercise programs the people in the studies typically followed. Better studies are needed to find out if HCA really helps people lose a lot of weight and keep it off.
Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Garcinia cambogia may make it easier for your body to use glucose, the sugar your cells need for energy. Mice that got garcinia cambogia in one study had lower insulin levels than mice that didn’t. That’s another reason, besides weight loss, that people with diabetes are interested in it. However, if you’re taking garcinia cambogia along with a medication to control your blood sugar, your glucose could get dangerously low.

Some research has found that garcinia cambogia can also improve cholesterol levels, lowering triglycerides and LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol). But you shouldn’t use it if you’re already on a prescription for your cholesterol.

Possible Side Effects

When you take garcinia cambogia, you might get:

Dizziness
Dry mouth
Headache
Upset stomach or diarrhea

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Garcinia cambogia may interact badly with:

    Asthma and allergy medicines such as Accolate and Singulair
    Diabetes medicines, including pills and insulin
    Iron, for anemia
    Pain medicines
    Prescriptions for psychiatric conditions
    Statins, drugs that lower cholesterol
    Warfarin, a blood thinner

You definitely don’t want to use it when you’re pregnant or nursing, or if you have kidney or liver problems.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Since study results are mixed, you should talk with your doctor to help you decide if taking garcinia cambogia is a good idea. Even if it’s safe, it may not help you lose much weight. It’s probably wiser to spend your money on healthy food or an exercise

More about the ‘Viking Diet’, Should we be on it?

Viking FoodYet another Scandinavian craze is set to be big in 2015. Not content on living Scandi, watching Scandi and dressing Scandi, we’re now set to eat Scandi, too. Multiple research studies have reportedly suggested that the Nordic countries enjoy the healthiest regional diet plan in the world.

Great, so this means we’ll be able to pop to Ikea for a meatballs meal every night, right?

Wrong (sadly).

The new diet (which is, actually, 11 years old,) was created by a collection of Danish chefs and nutritionists, who have concocted a 10-point-plan for eating Nordic.

    More fruit and vegetables every day
    More whole grain
    More food from the seas and lakes
    Higher-quality meat, but less of it
    More food from wild landscapes
    Organic produce whenever possible
    Avoid food additives
    More meals based on seasonal produce
    More home-cooked food
    Less waste

The diet is predominantly plant-based, with fish also making up a vital component, with meat eaten sparingly as long as its free range and organic. Other vital elements are canola oil, whole grains, fish cakes, lingonberries, moss and seaweed. You know, as long as they can be found in a wild landscape near you.

Does the nearest Sainsbury’s Local count as a ‘wild landscape’? We sure hope so…