Trigger warning: Diet culture and disordered eating.
As we head into the new year—a year many of us are hoping will be far better than the last, people will be making New Year's resolutions and are likely to be talking about weight loss more so than at any other time of the year. With this, some may be drawn to try Lipozene—a weight loss supplement made up of a type of water-soluble fiber called glucomannan.
On the Lipozene website, the company says the fiber in the product can expand 200 times its size when in water, creating a sensation of fullness that lasts hours, and that the product can help people lose weight while still eating their favorite foods. But does it really work, and is it even safe to try?
Before giving Lipozene (or any other diet trends a try), remember that weight isn’t actually the best indicator of health, and no one should feel pressured to lose weight in order to be healthy, especially when it’s not at the recommendation of your doctor.
We're surrounded by talk of diets and thinness in our culture, but this doesn’t mean everyone needs to go on a diet or lose weight. Often, how we feel is just as important, or even more important, than how we look. If you decide to try a diet, it's crucial to be informed of what's involved, and what dietitians and nutritionists have to say about it.
On that note, here’s what you should know about Lipozene, with input from registered dietitians.
What Is Lipozene?
Lipozene is a weight loss supplement available in pill form that contains a water-soluble fiber called glucomannan. Side note: water-soluble means it dissolves in water—and the fiber ultimately turns into gel-like substance. Originating from the roots of the konjac, or elephant yam plant, glucomannan is Lipozene’s only active ingredient.
In other uses, glucomannan is sometimes used to relieve constipation, to control blood sugar among people with diabetes, and to reduce cholesterol.
“Lipozene aids in weight loss by keeping the consumer full for longer by absorbing water, which leads to the stomach expanding,” says Trista Best, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. “By activating the stretch receptors in the stomach, the individual feels full and satiated, making them less likely to overeat on dietary calories.”
Is Lipozene Bad for You?
Shannon Henry, a registered dietitian at EZCare Medical Clinic, says Lipozene is generally safe and effective. But some people still experience nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea, and other side effects when taking it.
Like other supplements, another potential drawback of Lipozene is that it can interact with some medications. “If you're taking any medicines, especially diabetes medication, for example, sulfonylureas, you must consult your doctor before taking Lipozene,” Best says. This is because Lipozene can block the absorption of sulfonylureas, leaving the medication ineffective.
And as with other types of fiber supplements, Lipozene can cause discomfort within your digestive system if you start taking it at the maximum dose, Best says.
What are Some of the Benefits of Lipozene?
One of the major benefits of Lipozene is that soluble fiber is associated with increased satiety (which is essentially the feeling of fullness), blood sugar stabilization, and improved gut health. Registered dietitian Erin Wagner lets us know why that’s important:
- Promoting satiety can help you manage portion control and reduce your overall food intake (if your doctor has recommended that you do so).
- Stabilizing your blood sugar leaves you with more energy and reduces your risk for diabetes.
- A healthy gut allows you to efficiently absorb vitamins and minerals.
Wagner also points out that glucomannan contains prebiotic fiber, which breaks down into something called short-chain fatty acids (SFCA). “These SCFA are used as fuel for the colon and have anti-inflammatory properties,” Wagner says. “The presence of SCFA in the colon has an inverse correlation with conditions such as colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.”
Glucomannan can also soften bowel movements, making them easier to pass, says Sheri Vettel, a registered dietitian with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Sure, these benefits may sound appealing, but there’s an important factor to be aware of here before you make any decisions to start taking Lipozene: “These benefits are not from Lipozene specifically, but can be attained through consumption of soluble fiber, such as the type in glucomannan, in any form,” Vettel says. “You can also get glucomannan in your diet by eating shirataki noodles, which can be used in a variety of dishes.”
Are There Any Risks or Drawbacks to Taking Lipozene?
While Lipozene does contain natural fiber, it’s still marketed as a diet or weight loss supplement, Vettel points out, and this feeds into the mentality of diet culture and the societal ideals that thinner bodies are healthier or more attractive than larger bodies. “This is harmful because it can lead to disordered eating patterns and cycles of chronic dieting while eroding trust with the needs of one’s own body,” Vettel says. “While it’s marketed as a way to lose weight “without a strict diet,” I would argue that taking a pill specifically marketed for weight loss is still a form of dieting.”
Additionally, Lipozene can sometimes cause gastrointestinal trouble for people with irritable bowel syndrome, more commonly known as IBS, particularly as they increase their glucomannan intake.
“This may include diarrhea, flatulence, and general discomfort,” Vettel says. “There have also been cases of esophageal obstruction due to the swelling action of this type of fiber, which is especially a concern with limited fluid intake.”
The cost of Lipozene can also be prohibitive for some people. In this case, glucomannan supplements and shirataki noodles could be an alternative.
The Final Takeaway
The soluble fiber in Lipozene promotes fullness, which may help you maintain a healthy weight. It can also potentially help soften bowel movements and stabilize blood sugar. At the same time, you don’t necessarily need to take Lipozene for these results—other forms of soluble fiber like oats, barley, and apples can also increase satiety, stabilize blood sugar and soften bowel movements.
Another thing to keep in mind as you consider any nutrition advice or diet, is that we’re all different. So, while Lipozene or any other supplement or way of eating may “work” for one person, a different person may not see the same benefits. “Some individuals may tolerate Lipozene well, while others may experience unwelcome digestive changes when increasing their fiber intake,” Vettel says.
Importantly, if you’re thinking of taking Lipozene, you should definitely talk to your doctor or another healthcare provider first to make sure it’s a good choice for you.
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