Garcinia Cambogia in the Media
Garcinia Cambogia was relatively unknown for its alleged ‘revolutionary’ weight loss effects until fairly recently when it seemed to take off in the media. Since then it has appeared in numerous internet articles and has featured on the Dr. Oz show and various American news channels as an ingredient with the ability to help people to lose weight by putting in minimal effort. This has led to a significant amount of hype surrounding the ingredient and it is no surprise that it is now found in a variety of diet pills and supplements. In this article we will focus on two of Garcinia Cambogia’s media appearances and how they have had an effect on the overall opinion of the ingredient as a weight loss agent.
We will start with how it has been introduced by Dr. Oz and then follow up with how Fox News has interpreted this information. These two have been chosen in particular because they seem to be very influential in the diet industry. They also very well known and have played an important role in the rise of Garcinia Cambogia used in diet products as evidenced by references to them on various diet pill sites. It is worth noting that although they have had a global effect, both of these programmes are American and thus Garcinia Cambogia’s reputation has largely come from here.
Dr. Oz starts by emphasising that the ingredient is able to burn fat without any additional input from the user. He says that absolutely no exercise and no change in diet is needed for the Garcinia Cambogia to work. As well as this it is also advertised on his programme as being ‘one of the cheapest’ weight loss supplements although he does not really go into much detail with this. What this does tell us however is that potential consumers should be observant if they decide to purchase the extract because if the ingredient is cheap there is no sense in you paying over the odds for an expensive supplement.
An expert researcher is then featured on the show who makes some very impressive statements as to the extent of clinical studies that have been done with Garcinia Cambogia. She states that the ingredient is proven to increase weight loss in users by ‘2-3 times’ but no reference is given as to where this figure came from.
In terms of safety Dr. Oz refers to the fact that the fruit has been used traditionally in medicines and is often eaten in things like soups and chutneys. This, he says, gives him confidence in the fact that it will be safe for users to take.
Little explanation is given as to how Dr. Oz and his team are alleging that the Garcinia Cambogia actually works. All that is mentioned at the beginning is that its sour flavours are known to help with digestion. This is very vague and does not actually come up in very many articles when our experts actually researched this ingredient.
A very interesting question is then asked by Dr. Oz; ‘how much weight could the average woman expect to lose in around a month?’ The researcher actually gives quite a shocking answer and says (contrary to both her own and D. Oz’s impressive claims) that the average woman can expect to lose just 4lbs in 1 month. Although this is not a bad amount, we would expect much more from the way that the ingredient has been presented so far.
Another contradictory fact follows from this; realising that the audience are obviously not too impressed, the researcher goes on to say that she would recommend that users take a Garcinia Cambogia supplement in combination with diet and exercise and furthermore, this is needed for them to be able to achieve the 2-3 times more weight loss. It now becomes clear that what was meant by that statement was that the ingredient can help users to lose ‘2-3 times more weight loss than diet and exercise alone’ so why is it stressed so much at the beginning that this supplement requires minimal effort? The words ‘no exercise’ are flashed up in red in the background yet this does not appear to be entirely true.
When asked to explain how the Garcinia Cambogia works, a lot of emphasis is put on its mood enhancing properties which is said to come from its ability to increase levels of Serotonin. Whilst this could be beneficial for weight loss it is not a direct effect and the researcher herself emphasises that.
It is explained that not only does the Garcinia Cambogia affect mood but that it also supresses the appetite and stops fat from being produced. It is said that ‘when the body is not making fat, it is burning fat’ and this, we assume, is how the ingredient is supposed to work. More specifically it is said to help manage the stress hormone Cortisol and that due to this many users will see a reduction in specifically ‘belly fat’. Thus we can see where all of the various claims that diet pill manufacturers have made concerning targeting problem areas of weight loss have stemmed from.
Another interesting question asked by Dr. Oz on the show was ‘how is Garcinia Cambogia different from all of the other weight loss products and supplements on the market?’ The answer to this was that this ingredient is a ‘dual action fat buster’. This again coincides with many of the claims on diet pill websites which can mean 1 of 2 things. The first is that many of these manufacturers have researched the product and there is concrete evidence to say that this statement is true, but the second may be that they have actually taken all or the majority of their information from the Dr. Oz show.
The show does however make some attempt at giving a demonstration of how the ingredient works to help users lose weight. During this it is explained that the Garcinia Cambogia blocks the liver from turning carbohydrates into fat by ‘uncorking the pathway for the liver to turn the carbohydrates into energy instead’. It is worth noting that the demonstration is hardly impressive. It involved pouring a liquid into a plastic bowl labelled the liver and down a tube into a balloon labelled fat. It is in no way a scientific replica of the body and does not really prove anything about the ingredient.
What is used to prove that the demonstration is an accurate representation of what Garcinia Cambogia does however is another reference to a clinical study. It is said that this study has been recent and is one in which subjects saw an increase in lean muscle mass and a decrease in fat after taking the ingredient. Again there is little information on where this came from, if it was even a human study etc. and so regrettably we would not advise potential consumers to rely on these passing references too much, This is not to say that they are untrue as they may well be correct but it is easy for someone to get lost in the hype surrounding this particular show without looking critically at what credible information it actually gives.
It is further explained why it is important that lean muscle is increased; muscle burns a lot more calories per day than fat does and this will be beneficial for weight loss. The researcher does make a point of warning potential users however that this weight loss will not happen straight away because body composition needs to change first. This somewhat contradicts some of the claims that diet pill manufacturers have made surrounding this ingredient and how it can cause ‘rapid weight loss’ as this does not appear to be true. What it does confirm however is that with this ingredient measuring waist size or dress size is probably a more effective way of telling whether it is actually working since your shape will change before your weight. This is also emphasised on many Garcinia Cambogia diet product sites.
A point is then made relating to the fact that the featured researcher actually recommends Garcinia Cambogia to her patients. When she is asked why however, she does not necessarily give the answer that you would expect given how the show has been describing the ingredient as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘the best fat burner’. What she says slightly differs from the question and she begins to talk more about the other health benefits of the ingredient besides weight loss and states that this is why she recommends it. These are said to include improving cholesterol. A study is referenced to again in passing in order to support this claim.
The show makes some attempt to give reviews from one consumer as they tell her story and how she lost weight by using this ingredient. She is said to have lost 10lbs in less than 4 months and actually appears on the show making her story somewhat more credible than if all that was given was a picture as is the case on many of the manufacturers’ websites. This woman tells us about her experience with the ingredient and appears to be fairly genuine. She does make impressive claims such as an ‘instant change in sugar cravings’ although in general her review does not appear to be too biased.
It is said that no negative side effects whatsoever were experienced as a result of taking this ingredient and it was generally agreed on the show that this would stand for all potential users who did not have any underlying medical condition.
What is actually quite helpful about the Dr. Oz programme is that it recommends that for results to actually materialise, potential consumers should only buy Garcinia Cambogia extract that contains 50% HCA (the active acid ingredient found in the extract). The show also tells us something that many manufacturers’ websites do not. It says that this ingredient must be taken on an empty stomach due to the fact that some things found in our food can actually bind with the extract and lower its effectiveness.
In general, the Dr. Oz show, although sometimes exaggerated, is generally informative about how the ingredient works and tends to give quite a fact based and scientific view on why this is so. What would be better however would be if there were some specific reference given for the clinical studies that they refer to so that those watching could check to make sure that they have not been selectively described etc. Whatever is said about the Dr. Oz show it is clear that it provided the foundations for this ingredient to enter into the diet pill industry.
The next major media appearance of Garcinia Cambogia came when it was featured on Fox News. This article actually examined some products containing the ingredient and the headline reads that ‘new important information surfaces’ relating to it.
The first thing to note is that unlike the Dr. Oz show, Fox News actually gives references to all of its information and links to where it can be found.
The article concerns an investigation into said products in order to see how effective they are. This was led by Dr. Kelly Morrow in the form of an investigation. The news article states that the results of this were ‘shocking!’ Before we delve more into the actual results it is worth remembering that like the Dr. Oz show, the news does have an audience that it needs to impress so claims such as these should be looked at quite critically for exaggeration.
It is said that most of the Garcinia Cambogia products that were investigated did not contain the amount of HCA that they were labelled as containing. Those that claimed to contain 60% actually did not and Morrow found that most of the ingredients in these pills were filler and that some of them only actually contained 10% HCA. Whilst this does sound very shocking, it is important to remember that none of this actually stands in contradiction to what has been said on the Dr. Oz show. This part article in fact criticises the makers of certain pills and so this should be borne in mind when reading the information given above.
The article does address how the ingredient works however and actually does tend to agree with the explanations given on the Dr. Oz show but appears to give them in much larger detail. What is worth noting however is that this article identifies 3 ways in which Garcinia Cambogia can work via its HCA content rather than the 2 mentioned in the ‘dual action’ statement on the Dr. Oz show.
The ones listed here include the ability of the HCA to act as a ‘blocking agent of fats’ which coincides with that mentioned on the Dr. Oz show, its ability to decrease the appetite of users (also mentioned on the show), but it also mentions that the HCA can aid in providing more glycogen. On closer inspection it seems that this is actually nothing new; what is explained here was actually demonstrated on the Dr. Oz show in his practical experiment.
So far then, the media attention surrounding Garcinia Cambogia has not been contradictory. In fact it suggests the opposite that the overall opinion (but not necessarily the scientific opinion) of the ingredient has been agreed and this is important to take into account before attempting to purchase the product. Very much of the same advice is given from Fox News as was presented in the Dr. Oz show and until more research is done which proves otherwise, the general explanation as to how the ingredient works seems to be widely accepted.
Of course we must emphasise that it is still in the interests of media such as this to entice people to watch their shows, read their newspapers etc. and so you should always make sure that you do the relevant research before attempting to buy any of these sorts of products. Whilst the media is a good source of primary information, potential users would do well to remember that the most important information relating to diet pills and ingredients is clinical studies. It is not enough to see that a certain newspaper etc. has made reference to one of these as it is general practice that people will only select the information that they want to put in their articles. For this reason, although general media agreement is a good indicator of how the product works, it is not enough to be able to confirm its effectiveness and we would recommend that you always read through the referenced studies yourself in order to get the full set of facts.
Aside from this, it is easy to see why Garcinia Cambogia has suddenly taken off in the diet industry. The claims surrounding it do seem to be impressive and the fact that trials are referenced to is fairly positive if only due to the fact that such tests have actually been done.
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