There are a number of diet systems on the market that claim to alter your metabolism. Is there a pill or food additive that can change the way your body digests food? Here we’ll explore what these systems to see what they are and if they actually work.

The Green Tea Diet: Brewed green tea has a number of compounds that are beneficial to health, including many antioxidants. Some manufacturers sell green tea concentrate in pills or liquid form and claim that it can speed up metabolism and promote weight loss. Studies that have examined the effect of tea on metabolism have found that it can increase human resting metabolism slightly, but not enough to result in weight loss. Further studies found that the increase in metabolism was due to the caffeine in tea, not anything in the tea itself. So while having a cup of green tea in the morning may help keep you alert, it’s not going to significantly change your metabolism.

Sensa Weight-Loss System: This product is a powder that is sprinkled over food that claims to make the consumer feel full faster, and therefore lose weight by eating less. It consists of popular flavor and smell enhancers that are found in many processed foods, such as maltodextrin (modified cornstarch). This product doesn’t change your metabolism in any way, it encourages the consumer to eat less by amplifying the taste and smell of what they are eating. Most of us are going to eat the amount of food we want to eat regardless of what it smells like, so the effectiveness of this additive is questionable.

HCG Diet: The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Diet (try saying that three times fast!) is a hormonal supplement that claims to increase weight loss and redistribute fat from the hips and thighs to other areas of the body. Sound too good to be true? The Federal Trade Commission thought so too. That’s why they prosecuted Kevin Trudeau for publishing false health claims in his 2007 HCG diet book The Weight-Loss “Cure” They Don’t Want You To Know About. Claims that this supplement promotes weight loss are based on a single study from the 1950’s that has been debunked through a number of studies performed throughout the last six decades.

Maintaining a healthy metabolism is a little subtler than taking a pill or brewing some tea. Here are some ways to naturally support your metabolism:

• Get enough sleep
• Eat small amounts regularly throughout the day
• Exercise most days of the week
• Minimize emotional stress

You can read more about nurturing metabolism in an old post here.

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