Garcinia cambogia is a tropical tree fruit also known as Malabar tamarind. It was discovered in the 1960s that the fruit’s rind contained the active ingredient, hydroxycitric acid or HCA, which has been found to help with fat-burning and weight loss. You may have even heard about this fat-burning supplement back in the 90s when it was quite popular and was promoted as a miracle weight-loss supplement.
Since the 90s, the HCA supplement has been less popular and a debate in the science and nutrition community has erupted over whether it really does help you lose weight. This post will help us understand the debate and learn what HCA is. By the way – HCA and garcinia cambogia is the same thing, but we will refer to HCA throughout this post to keep things simple.
The big question coming from this debate has been, is HCA really a miracle weight-loss supplement? The answer: No, it is not a miracle, but rather it is a tool that can be used along with other weight-loss tools to achieve the success you want.
Back in the 1990s, HCA became quite popular after several studies published in research journals found that the supplement led to weight loss in animals. Studies on human subjects was yet to be determined, but the research for HCA looked promising. It was found that HCA blocks the enzyme citrase lyase. This is an enzyme that turns sugars and starches into fat. It was also found that the brain chemical, serotonin, increased, which makes you feel less hungry, halting your appetite so you don’t eat as much.
In 1998, a new study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), that had some discouraging results. The study concluded that the supplement had “no effect” on human subjects. This led to the steady decline of this supplement. However, subsequent studies have shown very different results and have convinced many in the health community that HCA really does has potential as a weight-loss supplement.
A researcher at Georgetown University, Dr. Preuss, has studied HCA in depth, and he concludes that the key is that “you have to take the right dose of the right product and you have to take it correctly”. He explains that the JAMA study results were not conclusive, and the dose was likely wrong and the ingredients in the supplement not good enough. He states that maximizing bioavailability with HCA is highly integral to its success. Dr. Preuss went on to lead one of the most promising studies on HCA, done with humans, where he found that those who took HCA lost more weight than the placebo group. The HCA group was also found to have almost a double boost in serotonin levels which meant fewer food cravings and an increased sense of calmness. The placebo group experienced no increase in serotonin.
So the verdict is in: taking HCA alongside other weight-loss tools can help you achieve fat-burning success.
Some other fat burning tools?
- Reduce your calorie intake
- Train with weights
- Do high-intensity intervals (HIIT)
- Eat healthy fats (such as fish, nuts, peanut butter, egg yolks, etc.)
- Cut carbs
- Increase protein
- Eat 6 smaller meal per day (instead of the conventional 3 big meals)