Garcinia Cambogia will forever be our least-favorite topic of discussion. This ingredient has received considerable media and marketing hype, despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that it simply doesn’t work.
Forever Garcinia Plus is yet another example of fad dieting products being marketed to unsuspecting customers under the guise of being a miraculous weight loss solution. The marketing of this product relies on the rather science-y sounding explanation of the interaction between Garcinia and the enzymes involved in de novo lipogenesis: the creation of fat from carbohydrates in the bloodstream.
In reality, this description is derived from poor research, or rather research that is not intended to discuss the efficacy of garcinia cambogia in humans. The marketing and sale of this product in such a way are indicative of the unethical, unregulated supplement industry today. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the specific claims of Forever living, the manufacturer behind forever Garcinia plus, and discuss why this is one of the worst supplements that we’ve seen, with some of the most odious misinformation we’ve seen from the industry to-date.
What Does Forever Garcinia Plus Do?
In all seriousness, Garcinia cambogia does have some positive health benefits. They’re very mild, they’re totally unrelated to weight loss, and they don’t come close to justifying the $27 price point – but they exist. Garcinia cambogia is tamarind extract, incorrectly associated with weight loss, that demonstrates some interesting antioxidant properties. Forever living suggests that it can increase weight-loss by combatting the conversion of blood glucose to fat through the inhibition of liver enzymes involved in the creation of body fat.
The first thing to note is that this seems entirely out of touch with a triage approach to fat loss, the science of weight loss, or simply a colossal oversight. Blood glucose is only converted to body fat in the presence of a caloric surplus. Simply put, you’re not going to benefit from Garcinia if you’re not already eating more calories than you’re using, this is to say that it would only be useful if you were currently gaining weight (however, it would still be ineffective in this capacity!).
From the very start, this establishes Garcinia as a band-aid problem, aimed at short-cutting the basic dietary and nutritional processes of calorie balance and weight management. Simply put, you’re only going to lose weight if you’re at a caloric deficit (under normal, healthy circumstances) – Garcinia can’t help you lose weight if you’re eating too much, or eating at maintenance. It seems the only claim that Forever living is seriously pushing is: it can decrease the rate at which you gain body fat, whilst in a caloric surplus. Ignoring, for now, the fact that Garcinia has no evidence to support even this mild claim, the point is that this is not what fat-loss is about, making Forever Garcinia Plus seemingly confused about its purpose.
What’s the hype about?: Why a useless supplement is so popular
The problem with Garcinia is pretty much the same as the problem with raspberry ketones: initial rodent evidence suggested some positive health effects, including weight loss, but the human studies never replicated the same effects. The research performed on rats and mice were indicative of improved weight loss, reduced weight gain, and considerable reductions in oxidative stress – the bodily process that damages cells and contributes to developing cancer.
The problem is that the companies involved in marketing and selling Garcinia are not legally required to inform you that their products don’t actually work. The evidence in humans clearly demonstrates that there is no real effect on body fat, but companies like Forever Living simply state that their statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is obviously the case, as they would be found lacking due to the lack of high-quality scientific evidence associating Garcinia with weight loss.
Chromium: second-time lucky?
The second key ingredient in Forever Garcinia Plus is Chromium picolinate. This mineral is genuinely linked to body fat and can increase the risk of obesity when deficient. Chromium deficiency negatively affects the metabolism, as well as the processes governing the storage and utilization of body fat. The problem here is that chromium is present in good quantities in any healthy, well-balanced diet. Chromium is found in many healthy foods, such as:
- Brown rice
- Various meats
- Cheese and other cultured dairies
- Fish and other seafood
- Fresh vegetables (generally)
- Yeast (and thus beer and bread)
This is a long list of incredibly common foods – for Forever Living to claim that “Chromium is rarely found in today’s diet” is simply false. Broccoli provides a far better source of Chromium than Forever Garcinia does, with improved bioavailability, a complete nutrient matrix, high satiety factor (contributing to actual, diet-based weight-loss), and a variety of micronutrients essential for health. The choice of Forever Garcinia over whole foods can only ever really be the result of ‘taste’ or convenience.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are common saturated fatty acids, found in a variety of foods and cooking oils. These are considered to be beneficial to weight loss, but only when used to replace lower-quality saturated fats.
MCTs have received a lot of positive attention lately (often too positive), due to their role in the health impacts of coconut oil. MCTs are a moderately healthy way of improving your fat intake profile and reduce body fat, though it is important to note that they are still a form of saturated fat and, whilst probably the best kind, they still contribute to the negative coronary health effects associated with consuming too much saturated fat.
Medium chain triglycerides seem to be an unusual choice as an ingredient in this product. As mentioned above, MCTs can have some positive health benefits when used to replace other, less healthy forms of dietary fat (such as swapping butter for coconut oil), but the addition of MCTs to the diet (where there would not otherwise have been any other fats present) doesn’t seem to add much benefit.
Overview: Does Forever Garcinia Plus Work?
We knew from the start that this product wasn’t going to live up to the claims it made, no matter how mundane or understated. The key ingredient, for which this product was named, has no real benefits beyond antioxidant agents comparable to those found in blueberries (and, in some cases, less potent). The other ingredients – chromium picolinate and MCTs – are equally poor choices and don’t seem to have a significant effect on weight loss, especially in the context they’ve been used in this product.
The price point of the product is reflective of the effects that it wishes it had, rather than those it actually possesses and demonstrates. For $27, you’re likely to achieve a grand total of 0lb extra fat loss, unless you’re suffering from diabetes and/or chromium deficiency, at which point the results will still be almost-insignificant. What really concerns us with this product is the choice of terms and statements used to market the product – there is no way that the company has invested time or effort into a critical review of the research, as this demonstrates that there are no statistically-significant improvements in human weight loss attributable to Garcinia Cambogia.
You might be tired of hearing it by now, but Garcinia is a classic rip-off, fad ingredient that has shifted millions of units worldwide. Forever Living’s Garcinia Plus is no different to this, and even its most astronomically-false claims are common for this product. This is a great example of how the hype surrounding a product can dupe unsuspecting customers, and it is important to recognize that there is nothing behind the hype but unsubstantiated claims and half-science. Steer clear!
Emily has spent the last 8 years comparing, reviewing and analyzing ingredients in the supplements industry. She has worked extensively with dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to separate fact from fiction and help people achieve their fitness goals. In her free time she works and enjoys the outdoors with her husband and 2 children.