The New Miracle Foods
For Your Waistline
Negative calories? That's the boast of one new drink promising enhanced
calorie burning in a tasty beverage. The other magic word on new diet products
is satiety, which means the item will (supposedly) make you feel
satisfied sooner and keep you feeling full longer, so you'll eat less. Calorie
burners and satiety enhancers are so hot, they're two of the top 10 food and
beverage trends for 2007, says marketing research firm Datamonitor.
The Calorie Burners
On the shelves: Enviga (Coca-Cola and Nestlé's new green tea
sparkling beverage), Celsius, Fuze Healthy Infusions Slenderize, Jana Skinny
Water, JavaFit Diet Plus Gourmet Coffee.
Claims: "The great taste of burning calories!" "Lose
weight-gain energy" are a couple of the slogans you'll see in
advertisements or on labels. Some of the products also promise to curb
appetite, boost your metabolism, and burn fat.
Evidence: The key ingredient in many of these beverages is green tea
extract, caffeine, or, often, a combination of the two. Short-term studies have
shown that these ingredients can give your metabolism a small boost (by about
3.5 percent in one study of the combo) and burn an average of 78 calories. But
researchers writing in a 2006 issue of Obesity Reviews say that
additional studies are needed to determine whether the products actually help
you lose over a long period. What's more, metabolism changes in a controlled
experiment don't necessarily translate to weight loss in the real world.
Some products include ingredients that you often find in over-the-counter
weight-loss supplements, including Citrus aurantium, chromium picolinate, or
Garcinia cambogia. Reviewing the value of these ingredients in a recent article
in Obesity Management, George Bray, M.D., of the Pennington Biomedical
Research Center, concluded there was little to no evidence that they make it
easier to drop pounds.
Shopping advice: These products are calorie free (or virtually so).
If you have a sugary-soda habit, switching to any diet drink can help you lose.
Just don't count on the "calorie-burning" additives in these new drinks
to make a huge difference: Even the Coca-Cola Company's own research showed
that drinking three cans of Enviga a day burned, on average, only an extra 60
to 100 calories, which can be wiped out if you swipe just a forkful of your
husband's dessert. (Still, 100 calories a day could add up over time, if you
keep your fork to yourself.)
Watch out for: Citrus aurantium (sometimes listed as bitter
orange or Seville orange) if you have high blood pressure or
other cardiovascular problems. It can raise blood pressure and also interact
with medications used to treat these disorders, say researchers from Georgetown
University Medical Center. Combining Citrus aurantium with caffeine may magnify