Judging by the number of TV ads, infomercials and magazine ads
the weight loss supplement industry has to be a multi-billion dollar industry. Probably a week does not go by that I have a patient ask my opinion about their weight loss supplement. These supplements often have caffeine-containing herbs such as guarana, green tea, Yerba mate, and kola nut.
Consumer Lab, which is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health recently evaluated some of these weight loss products. What they found was pretty astonishing. One product packed a whopping 1,223 mg of caffeine per day – equivalent to the caffeine of 30 cans of cola. Another had 448mg of caffeine per day, equivalent to the caffeine in 12 cans of cola or 5 cups of coffee, despite the label claim that “the recommended dose of this product contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.” Doses larger than 250-300mg per day have been associated with irregular heart rhythm. Anyone with cardiovascular problems or risks should be extremely careful in taking theses kinds of supplements. Excess caffeine can also cause insomnia, nervousness, tremors, gastric irritation, nausea, headache and increased urination.
If I see any of the above listed herbs in the dietary supplement I recommend that it not be used. Changing ones diet and exercise are the only sure bets to permanent weight loss.