Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Silicon Valley, California
From what I've read, it appears that Chitosan is the 'active' ingredient in this product (and I use the word 'active' VERY loosely).
In a nutshell, it doesn't work. Even if it did 'absorb 100 times its weight in fat and carbs" try weighing one of those capsules sometime. Doesn't weigh much, does it? You might lose a couple of OUNCES from the product...but most of the loss will be in your wallet.
I would strongly suggest returning the product and asking for a refund ASAP...and remember, there is no magic fat loss pill (other than clean eating and intense exercise).
Description Chitosan is a dietary fiber derived from chitin. Chitin is an aminopolysaccharide (combination of sugar and protein) that comes from the shells of shellfish. Chitin used to be nothing more than a waste product of the shellfish industry, but a bit of chemical treatment and – Voila! – a new fiber is born. Chitosan is typically found in dietary supplements for reducing cholesterol levels and promoting weight loss.
Theory Because chitosan is a positively charged compound, it is able to attract and bind to fatty acids (which carry a negative charge). As such, chitosan can absorb up to 4-6 times its weight in fat (including cholesterol) and prevent that fat from being absorbed into the body. This means that for every gram of chitosan that you consume as a supplement, you’ll prevent the absorption of about 4-6 grams of fat (a very rough approximation). If you’re consuming 3-5 grams of chitosan each day, you could be blocking anywhere from 100-300 fat calories from ever being absorbed. The only catch is that the chitosan has to be in your digestive system at the same time as the fat – so typical recommendations are for consumption along with fatty meals (like pizza with extra cheese).
Scientific Support The majority of research on chitosan has been done in animals – where it has been shown to effectively bind to fats in the digestive tract and prevent their absorption. In one study, high doses of chitosan reduced fat absorption by almost half (but these animals were on a very high fat diet and they probably experienced severe diarrhea from all the fat in their stools). The main beneficial effect of chitosan supplements appears to be a mild to moderate reduction in serum levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
When evaluated as a weight loss supplement, however, results for chitosan’s effectiveness have not been consistent. In one Italian study, the combination of chitosan supplements and a 30-day low-calorie diet (1000 calories per day) showed chitosan to be effective in promoting weight loss (16 lbs.) compared to a placebo (7 lbs.) in obese subjects. More recent studies of overweight volunteers, however, gave 1000-2400 mg of chitosan per day over the course of one month but found no significant effect of chitosan in promoting weight loss. In one study, 34 overweight volunteers were assigned to receive either 2 grams of chitosan or placebo for one month (randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind design) while maintaining their normal diet. After 4 weeks of treatment, there were no significant changes in body weight, body mass index, or serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, or nutrients (vitamins A, D, and E and beta-carotene). In the more recent studies, participants were allowed to “eat normally” and were instructed to not change their diets. It may be that chitosan is more effective in promoting weight loss when used in conjunction with a reduced calorie and reduced fat diet – some researchers have suggested that even though chitosan may block fat absorption quite well, people still end up consuming more calories from other sources throughout the day.
Safety Unfortunately, the fact that chitosan prevents fat absorption also means that it can also cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea (due to fermentation of the fat in the large intestine). The possibility also exists for chitosan, at high intakes, to interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and the carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) – in a similar way to how the “fake-fat” Olestra can reduce absorption of these nutrients.
Value As a supplement to promote a mild reduction in fat absorption and serum levels of LDL cholesterol, chitosan appears to be effective. As a weight loss agent, however, chitosan only appears to offer benefits when used in conjunction with a low-fat, reduced calorie diet. As such, chitosan supplements should not be expected to deliver significant weight loss effects unless significant dietary alterations are followed.
And another from www.quackwatch.com:
Be Wary of "Calorie-Blockers"
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Many people wish that a pill or potion could counteract the effect of eating more than one needs to maintain weight. Many thieves cater to this wish by selling "miracle" products claimed to block the absorption of food components.
In the early 1980s, "starch blockers" were claimed to contain an enzyme extracted from beans that could block the digestion of significant amounts of starch. The enzyme works in the test tube, but the human body produces more starch-digesting enzymes than these products could possibly block. In addition, undigested carbohydrates that reach the large intestine can ferment and cause trouble. In 1982, the FDA received more than 100 reports of abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and other adverse reactions among users of "starch-blockers." As the reports poured in, the agency took regulatory action and drove most of these products from the marketplace.
During the early 1990s, Cal-Ban 3000 was said to cause "automatic" weight loss by decreasing appetite and blocking the absorption of fat. Its ingredient was guar gum, a soluble fiber used in small amounts as a thickener in sauces, desserts, syrups, and various other foods. Guar gum has some medically recognized value as a bulk laxative, a cholesterol-lowering agent, and an adjunct to controlling blood sugar levels in certain diabetics. But it has not been proven effective for weight control.
When taken by mouth, guar gum forms a gel within the stomach that may contribute to a feeling of fullness and block absorption of a few nutrients. However, neither of these characteristics is enough to produce weight loss. Many overweight people keep eating even when their stomach signals that it is full. Moreover, if food absorption is decreased, the individual may eat more to compensate.
But Cal-Ban tablets were not merely ineffective. When placed in water, they would swell to 4 or 5 times their original size and assume the consistency of putty. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration collected reports of at least 17 cases of esophageal obstruction among Cal-Ban users. Hospital stays were required by ten of these people, one of whom died. Other reports of harm involved stomach obstruction, upper and lower intestinal obstruction, nausea, and vomiting.
Extracts of Gymnema sylvestre, a plant grown in India, are alleged to cause weight loss by preventing sugar from being absorbed into the body. Chewing the plant's leaves can prevent the taste sensation of sweetness. But there is no reliable evidence that the chemicals they contain can block sugar absorption or produce weight loss.
In recent years, chitosan capsules have been claimed to cause weight loss and lower blood cholesterol by binding fats in the stomach and preventing them from being digested and absorbed. Some sellers refer to chitosan as a "fat magnet." It has even been marketed as a weight-control product for dogs. Chitosan is derived from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the outer skeleton of shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and or crabs. Although chitosan may decrease fat absorption, the amount contained in the capsules is too small to have much of an effect. Scientific studies have found no significant differences in weight or serum cholesterol levels between subjects who took chitosan and those who received a placebo.
Highest weight: 265 pounds, size 24/26 (May 1990)
May 1991: 174 pounds (-91 lbs)
September 1996: 155 pounds (-110 lbs)
*LIVING at: 145-149 pounds, size 4/6 (-116/120 lbs)
*Maintenance = LIVING.
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