The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that more than 1.5 billion people across the globe are overweight. Researchers from the Brookings Institution, Washington, estimated the total annual economic costs associated with obesity are more than of US$215 billion (Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2010; 3: 285–295). These numbers are fueling research and development (R&D) in products and solutions that help an individual to lose weight.
Several nature-based, weight-reducing products contain molecules that are said to be effective in bringing about weight loss. Some of the more researched of these catechins (from tea), capsaicin, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), fucoxanthin, soy isoflavone, glabridin (from licorice), astaxanthin and cyanidin 3-glucosides (from berries).
While the potential for natural products in weight management is supported by human and animal studies, further research is needed to investigate the mechanisms of action, long-term safety and side effects.
While the debate on weight management products continues in the scientific community, genomics studies have increasingly established a link between obesity and genes. Perhaps in the coming decades, the debate will move away from trying to find the best weight management product.
Learn more about weight management ingredients and explore the potential new avenues for these ingredients to help consumers in INSIDER’s Weight Management Digital Magazine.
Sudhir Ahluwalia is a business consultant. He has been management consulting head of Tata Consultancy Services, an IT outsourcing company in Asia, business advisor to multiple companies, columnist and author of an upcoming book on herbs, “Holy Herbs." He was also a member of the Indian Forest Service.