15 best diet supplements

It seems that everyone is on a diet. People are continually searching for supplements to help them shed a few pounds. The question is, which ones actually work? I've reviewed the scientific literature of many popular diet ingredients and have discovered which products on the market may be the most effective for dieting and weight loss. Armed with this information you can choose the combination of ingredients and supplements to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Supplement Ingredients

Citrus Aurantium (Bitter Orange)

Research shows citrus aurantium can elevate metabolism, suppress appetite and increase lean muscle mass. Citrus aurantium is standardized for synephrine content and contains other adrenergic amines that increase metabolism by stimulating beta-receptors.

Research on weight loss is somewhat limited, but there is data to support the assertion that this ingredient will help improve your fat loss results when combined with exercise.

Recommended Dose: 60-120 mg per day.


Green Tea

Research has shown that green tea contains compounds called catechins that may aid in weight loss. Specifically, a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), when combined with caffeine, was shown to elevate metabolism beyond that of caffeine alone. The results showed a near 4% increase in 24-hour energy expenditure (over 200 calories, excluding exercise) in the green tea group versus those taking caffeine alone. Green tea may also slow carbohydrate absorption and increase fat burning by improving the function of insulin. It works best when combined with exercise as it appears to help maintain the elevation in metabolism caused by the physical activity.

Recommended Dose: 270 mg per day.



Caffeine acts to stimulate metabolism and mobilize body fat for use as energy. Caffeine also has the unique ability to enhance the effects of other fat burning compounds like green tea and citrus aurantium. When combined in a multi-ingredient diet formula, caffeine can play a critical role in improving the effectiveness of a diet and exercise program.

Recommended Dose: 200-600 mg per day.


Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is known as an adaptogenic herb in South America and Europe. It contains polyphenols and catechins, which may increase energy expenditure and aid in the loss of body fat by stimulating the body to use fat for energy. Studies on this ingredient are in progress to further determine its precise effectiveness for use while dieting.

Recommended Dose: 500 mg-1g per day.


Guggulsterones (Commiphora Mukul)

This Ayurvedic herb from India is standardized for E & Z guggulsterones. Studied for its benefits on cholesterol and thyroid function, guggulsterones appear to help maintain normal thyroid hormone production while on a low calorie diet. The scientific literature on weight loss using guggulsterones is limited and studies are ongoing.

Recommended Dose: 50-100 mg per day.


Coleus Forskohlii

This ingredient works to increase cyclic AMP, which helps the body mobilize body fat for use as energy. Patented for promoting lean body mass, the active ingredient is known as forskolin. Clinical studies show this ingredient helps reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Large human studies are still needed, but initial weight loss and safety data have been positive.

Recommended Dose: 25 mg twice per day.


7-Keto DHEA

This ingredient works to increase metabolic rate without the use of stimulants. 7-Keto is produced naturally in the body but declines significantly after age 30. By age 40, it is less than half of what it was at age 20. Two clinical studies support the evidence that it appears to regulate fat burning in your body. No large human studies have been done yet, but it may be a promising complement to your diet program.

Recommended Dose: 200 mg per day.


Garcinia Cambogia

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA), extracted from the garcinia cambogia fruit of South Asia, may temporarily block the conversion of carbohydrate into fat by inhibiting the ATP-citrate lyase enzyme. Deactivating this enzyme may also suppress appetite. Be sure to take the clinical dose. This product is also known by the trade name, CitriMax.

Recommended Dose: 1.5 - 2.5g per day.


Stand Alone Ingredients 

White Kidney Bean 

White kidney bean extract has been shown to inhibit the amylase enzyme, thereby slowing the breakdown of starches and stabilizing blood glucose levels. Multiple studies have shown it effective when taken before or at the same time as a starch-laden (complex carb) meal.

Recommended Dose: 500 mg-1.5g per meal.



Chitosan is an indigestible fiber derived from shellfish. When taken before or during a meal, it forms a gel which binds to dietary fats. This prevents its normal breakdown and emulsification in the intestine, allowing it to pass through the body unabsorbed.

Recommended Dose: 500 mg-1.5g per meal.



CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is an omega-6 fatty acid shown in studies to preserve lean body mass while reducing body fat. It appears that CLA affects two enzymes, one that breaks down fat from the cells and one that breaks down fat in the blood. Studies show a superior loss of body fat and increase in lean muscle mass for those taking 3 to 6 grams of CLA per day compared to placebo. It appears that CLA helps people lose more fat, prevents fat from being stored, and spares muscle, too. When you combine the weight loss benefits and its other health benefits, CLA is a definite winner.

Recommended Dose: 3-5g per day.



Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber from the konjac root. This bulk-forming fiber can help make you feel full when taken prior to a meal. It also promotes a healthy digestive tract by providing food to the good bacteria while also making a larger, bulkier stool that passes through the intestine more easily. Research shows that it helps delay gastric emptying, slows the absorption of dietary carbohydrates to reduce insulin spiking, improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and acts as a prebiotic.

Recommended Dose: 1-4g per day.


Hoodia Gordonii

Used for thousands of years by the San tribe in South Africa, hoodia gordonii leaped from obscurity after a report on ABC's 60 Minutes featured the plant. Drug giant Pfizer was already investigating the plant that is known for suppressing appetite. It works by fooling your hypothalamus into thinking you have eaten by faking a rise in blood glucose, the normal signal that causes you to feel full. The San tribe also says that hoodia makes you feel energetic, stronger and more focused. While research on the plant itself is pending, the anecdotal evidence of 1000 years in South Africa lends itself to serious consideration of this ingredient.

Recommended Dose: 500 mg - 2g per day.


Complementary Ingredients



This trace mineral has been shown to help stabilize and improve glucose tolerance, improve cholesterol profiles and triglyceride levels. Note: Consult with your physician before using if you are a diabetic.

Recommended Dose: 200-400 mcg per day.



L-tyrosine is an amino acid precursor to epinephrine, a natural chemical in the body that allows fat to be mobilized and burned as energy. It's also a precursor to thyroid hormones, which maintain proper metabolic rate. L-tyrosine supports fat loss efforts, especially in combination with citrus aurantium and caffeine.

Recommended Dose: 400 mg-1g per day.


Your Plan of Attack

Many people achieve weight-loss success by slightly reducing calories and using a low carb or low glycemic (low sugar) regimen.

Adding supplements will help you burn fat easier and healthier. Use a protein powder that is low in carbs and fat. This will supply your muscles with high quality amino acids without a lot of added calories. Another important supplement is a low carb meal replacement. They are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and are a handy way to get healthy calories on the run.

Also, take a comprehensive multi-vitamin (minimum 3-per-day) to provide the nutrients necessary for optimizing fat loss.

When it comes to diet pills, it can often be difficult to know which one is right for you. The ingredients discussed in this article will provide a roadmap to picking the diet supplement that fits your needs. If you can't find all the ingredients you want in one formula, consider stand-alone products like a carb and fat blocker (white kidney bean and chitosan) in addition to a multi-ingredient formula.

No matter what your plan, it is important to be consistent with your diet and exercise, as well as your supplementation. Before you know it, you'll be looking better and feeling healthier than ever!

Before starting any diet or exercise program, always consult with your physician. 


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