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Hype Dashed for 'Breakthrough' Diet Pills

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

With so many people paying close attention to their weight this time of year, it's a good time for the publication of an analysis of two of the hottest diet fads of the past few months.

The drugs, touted by Dr. Julie Chen on the Dr. Oz show, are Garcinia cambogia -- from the rind of a tropical fruit -- and green coffee bean extract. Both were turned into pill form and became bestsellers at supplement shops and online after network news shows hyped them (e.g., Eat This, Never Diet Again.)

Now comes a McGill University publication,, with a point-by-point deconstruction of the studies that had found a weight-loss effect from Garcinia or green coffee. It also details studies of the substances that had more subjects and control groups and which found essentially no weight loss.

It also mentions a rare but serious complication from Garcinia, harm to the kidneys.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.