Every year, dieters spend a total of $40M for weight loss products and treatments that seem not to work. There’s no wonder why many are so skeptical about all those “miracle solutions” introduced in the market each day.
Hoodia gordonii, a relatively popular diet solution has been around for like 8 years and both sellers and manufacturers are positive that it will continue to hit the shelves for more years to come. This weight loss solution however, has received both recognition and criticism from consumers and the medical community. Let us try to examine whether or not hoodia gordonii is a product that’s worth our time, money, and most of all – our trust.
Producers of hoodia gordonii promise one thing: eat less without feeling hungry, eat less and lose weight. What could be easier?
What manufacturers claim true about hoodia:
- Hoodia gordonii is natural. It actually refers to a plant that grows only in the Kalahari Dessert in Africa. The cactus-like plant is found to contain an active component that is believed to have weight loss effects.
- And because it’s natural, it is safe to use. One of the biggest advantages of using hoodia gordonii, according to manufacturers, is its safety and effectiveness, being a natural weight loss solution. Majority of hoodia products contain pure extract from the said plant, which makes it even more effective.
- History tells it promotes weight loss. In early Africa, the Bushmen from the Kalahari Desserts have fed on hoodia gordonii to survive long and agonizing hunting trips without eating or drinking water. In a documentary entitled 60 Minutes, which was shown in the CBS News in 2004, a group of journalists travelled from the west all the way to Africa to investigate and experience for themselves the so called “amazing effects” of hoodia gordonii. After eating half-a-banana size of the succulent plant, they reported having experienced a great sense of fullness. They didn’t feel hungry during the four-hour drive back to the hotel in Capetown, didn’t eat dinner, and felt less likely to eat breakfast. According to the journalists, headed by CBS News correspondent Tom Mangold, their full appetite went back after 24 hours.
- It isn’t a stimulant, like the controversial Ephedra and Phenfen. These plants were also found to suppress appetite but they were banned in the US and many other countries due to severe side effects. Hoodia, according to reports, works by sending signals to the brain that the stomach is full even if it’s not.
So what’s the catch?
- In a comprehensive report published in the naturalnews.com, a series of research and interviews were presented to investigate the effectiveness and risk of hoodia gordonii as a weight loss solution. According to the report, there is a very limited scientific evidence that hoodia promotes weight loss. As of today, there was only one study held which is very small in size to provide significant results. This doesn’t mean however that hoodia doesn’t work at all. There was just a little research to back it up.
- As to the safety of hoodia consumption, there are no widespread clinical trials that show how safe it is. The African tribesmen apparently ate hoodia with no side effects but it doesn’t mean that the products available in drugstores don’t have associated risks as well. Although there’s no research that tells hoodia is a dangerous weight loss solution, there’s also no research that says it’s 100% safe.
- There’s a high dosage involved to experience appetite suppression. This is most probably due to the fact that hundreds of hoodia gordonii products contain less or no real hoodia gordonii extract at all. There are claims that the active compound in hoodia is only present in the roots and stems of the plant.
- Hoodia gordonii seems to work only in conjunction with controlled carbohydrates, pointed out Mike Adams, Health Ranger Editor of Natural News. He said it does nothing to counteract the effect of blood sugar drop following an intake of refined carbohydrates like cookies, soft drinks, etc. But with controlled carbohydrate diet, he said hoodia works fine.
Based on the facts presented here, it is notable to say that hoodia gordonii is generally safe and in some ways, effective. The dieter however, should first set realistic expectations before adopting the hoodia diet. The responsibility rests on the dieter. Hoodia gordonii is just around to help suppress the craving, but the diet must still be restricted and proper choice of foods (doing away from carbohydrates and eating more fruits and vegetables) is indispensable.
Photo Credit: Leonora Enking (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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