If you've tried to lose weight before and failed, you're definitely not alone.
This is actually what happens most of the time.
Sometimes people manage to lose quite a bit, but they usually end up gaining it all back.
The truth is... losing weight is hard and the success rate is terrible.
For this reason, many people have become pretty desperate to find a solution to their weight problem.
This has created a booming industry for weight loss supplements... pills, tablets and shakes that are supposed to make things easier.
The latest one to hit the spotlight is a natural supplement called Meratrim, a combination of two herbs that are supposed to help block fat from being stored.
It was recently featured on the The Dr. Oz Show. He called it a "groundbreaking weight loss supplement." You can watch the show for free on Dr. Oz's site.
Dr. Oz even conducted his own informal "study" and had 30 women in his audience take Meratrim, along with a 2000-calorie diet and daily walking, for two weeks.
On average, the women lost 3 pounds of weight and 3 inches off of their waistlines. Impressive results, but this is not a real study and doesn't prove anything.
Fortunately, we don't need to rely on TV personalities because we have an actual human study where the supplement is given to real people.
But before we get into that, some background information on Meratrim...
The story behind Meratrim is this... a group of researchers wanted to invent a new, effective weight loss supplement.
They took a whole bunch of medicinal herbs and tested their ability to change the metabolism of fat cells.
The researchers had a bunch of fat cells growing in test tubes and tried adding these different herbs to the cells to see what happened.
Eventually, they picked two herbs that they found to be effective and combined them into a blend... giving birth to what they now call Meratrim.
These two herbs are called Sphaeranthus indicus (a flower) and Garcinia mangostana (a fruit). In Meratrim, extracts from these two natural herbs are combined in a 3:1 ratio.
I am not going to get into the complex biochemistry, but the researchers claim that Meratrim can (3):
- Make it harder for fat cells to multiply
- Decrease the amount of fat that fat cells pick up from the bloodstream
- Help fat cells burn stored fat
Keep in mind that this is what they claim happened in a test tube, so take all of this with a big grain of salt.
What happens in a living, breathing human body is often radically different from what happens in isolated cells.
Bottom Line: Meratrim is a blend of two herbs, Sphaeranthus Indicus and Garcinia mangostana. The researchers claim that these herbs have various positive effects on the metabolism of fat cells.
We have an excellent study on Meratrim that looked at a total of 100 participants and lasted for 8 weeks:
Stern JS, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of an herbal formulation for weight management. Journal of medicinal food, 2013.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, which is the gold standard of scientific experiments in humans.
In the study, 100 obese people (23 men and 77 women) were split into two groups:
- Meratrim group: The people in this group took 400mg of Meratrim, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner (a total of 800mg).
- Placebo group: The placebo group took 400mg of placebo (a dummy pill) instead, at the same times.
All participants were placed on a strict 2000 calorie diet and were instructed to walk 30 minutes per day.
These are the results: After 8 weeks, the Meratrim group (light grey bars) had lost much more weight than the placebo group (dark grey bars):
They lost a total of 11 pounds (5.2 kg), while the placebo group lost only 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg).
The Meratrim group also lost 4.7 inches (11.9 cm) off of their waistlines, compared to only 2.4 inches (6 cm) in the placebo group.
This is important, because abdominal fat is the unhealthiest fat in the body and strongly linked to many diseases.
Things happened pretty quickly too... the people taking Meratrim had lost 4 pounds and 2 inches after only 2 weeks.
The Meratrim group also had much greater improvements in BMI and hip circumference.
Although losing weight is often seen as mostly good for physical health, some of the most rewarding benefits are related to quality of life, which the researchers also measured:
As you can see from the graph, Meratrim had a much stronger effect on both physical function and self esteem.
There were also some improvements in other health markers:
- Total cholesterol: Went down by 28.3 mg/dL in the Meratrim group, compared to 11.5 mg/dL in the placebo group.
- Triglycerides: Decreased by 68.1 mg/dL in the Meratrim group, compared to 40.8 mg/dL in the placebo group.
- Fasting glucose: Went down by 13.4 mg/dL in the Meratrim group, but only 7mg/dL in the placebo group.
This should lead to a much lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious diseases in the long run.
So... in summary, the Meratrim group lost 3.5 times as much weight and lost 2 times as much from their waists, compared to the dummy pill. They also had improvements in several important risk factors for disease.
These are impressive results, but there is one important thing that is worth bringing to your attention. The study was sponsored by InterHealth, the company that produces and sells Meratrim.
Although this doesn't automatically mean that the study is flawed, it is definitely something to keep in mind, because it is known that the funding source of a study can often have an effect on the outcome (4, 5).
Bottom Line: One study shows that Meratrim can cause significant weight loss and improve many health markers. However, the study was paid for by the company that produces and sells the supplement.
There were no side effects or adverse reactions noted in the study. Meratrim appears to be safe and well tolerated.
The study used 400 mg of Meratrim, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner. This is a total of 800 mg per day.
It is possible that taking even more than that would increase the risk of side effects, so don't go over 800 mg.
If you're going to try this out, then make sure to choose 100% pure Meratrim and read the label carefully to make sure the spelling is correct.
It is possible that some dishonest people will start to produce cheaper replicates of the product and calling it something similar to deceive people.
Most people who need to lose weight have already tried a few "diets." Some of them may have worked for a short while, others not at all.
But one thing is certain... short-term solutions never work in the long-term. Although the results of that study look promising, keep in mind that the study only went on for 8 weeks.
8 weeks is not very long... all sorts of things can cause short-term weight loss, but it's keeping it off in the long run that really counts.
If the study had lasted longer (6 months to a year), it is highly possible that the women would have started gaining the weight back.
Unless followed by a lasting change in lifestyle and diet habits, taking Meratrim probably won't lead to long-term results.
That being said, if Meratrim really works as well as it does in that one study, then it may be a useful tool to accelerate short-term weight loss, for example if you need to lose weight quickly for some sort of event.
But I am convinced that no one is going to find a long-term solution to their weight problem just by taking a supplement or a pill.