Purpose: There are many herbal supplements on the market claiming to aid weight loss but few are evidence-based. This study aims to test one such formulation.
Design/methodology/approach: An over-the-counter herbal supplement containing yerba maté, guarana and damiana (YGD) was tested in 73 overweight health professionals for six weeks. Subjects were not asked to make any lifestyle changes.
Findings: Self-reported weight, waist circumference and hip circumference reduced significantly, while 22 per cent of subjects experienced a clinically significant weight loss. The anthropometric changes were in line with other commercial diet and exercise programmes. Reported between-meal hunger, and consumption of snacks reduced across the six weeks. Reported satiety after meals increased and subjects claimed to be more in control of snacking, emotional eating and portion sizes. A follow-up at week ten, when 82 per cent of subjects had stopped taking YGD, revealed no additional reductions in weight or hip circumference. Fullness ratings had stabilised, while hunger ratings had increased. There were no consistent adverse effects that could reasonably be related to YGD.
Research limitations/implications: Taken alongside a 2001 randomised, placebo-controlled trial, this study provides evidence that a YGD supplement can aid weight loss and reduce waist and hip circumference, probably by increasing satiety. Originality/value: The growing market in weight management products brings with it a responsibility for manufacturers to provide evidence that their products work. This paper adds to the evidence base.