Dieter’s Cheating Caps Review: Generic Alli?

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I was amused to see one web site promoting Dieters Cheating Caps as a “generic form of Alli.” Alli is the low dose, over-the-counter version of the prescription weight loss drug Xenical. The definition of “generic” as it pertains to prescription medications is a drug that is distributed without patent protection. Generic drugs are also identical in every way to their brand name counterparts.

Since Dieters Cheating Caps do not contain orlistat (the active ingredient in Alli) this statement is totally and completely false. And the retailer’s claim that “this product literally allows you to cheat and get away with losing weight” has about as much truth to it as your favorite Disney fairy tale.

Dieters Cheating Caps contains three fairly ordinary ingredients…

1. Chitosan: A fiber supplement derived from the shells of crustaceans, advertised as having the ability to bind with fat and remove it from the body. Clinical evidence does not support this claim—in fact, it shows that Chitosan has no positive effects on weight loss (see Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Sep;28(9):1149-56, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jul 20;(3):CD00389, Singapore Med J. 2001 Jan;42(1):6-102, J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Oct;25(5):389-94).

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined several retailers of chitosan-based fat blockers, alleging their claims were “false and unsubstantiated” (see here and here!).

There’s some good news though; there does seem to be some evidence that Chitosan can positively effect cholesterol. In other words, it seems to have a positive effect on raising “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels, while lowering the undesirable LDL levels. Of course, that’s a far cry from letting you “cheat and lose.”

2. Phaseolus vulgaris (white kidnet bean extract): Advertised as a “carb blocker”, a recent UCLA study on the patented Phase 2® version of this ingredient concluded…

“Clinical trends were identified for weight loss, inches lost from the waist, energy, and decrease in triglycerides, although statistical significance was not reached. The reason that significance was not achieved was the small number of subjects who completed the study and the wide variability of the results within each group. Further studies with larger numbers of subjects are necessary in order to definitively demonstrate effectiveness.”

In other words, it’s not anything to write home about.

3. Glucomannan: If there’s one promising ingredient in this formula, its glucomannan, a fiber supplement. As you know, fiber supplements fill you up without adding calories, and help you feel full, longer.

In the correct dosage, glucomannan has been shown to help with loss, as well lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels (see the full review for more information and accompanying clinical references).

Unfortunately, there is nowhere near the appropriate dosage in the Dieters Cheaters Caps. A single, 3-cap serving contains 750 mg of glucomannan.

To get close to the 3 grams daily (3,000 mg—1 gram prior to each meal) that was shown helpful in the clinical study (see Int J Obes. 1984;8(4):289-93) you’d need to take 4 caps, 3 times daily.

12 caps per day would mean a bottle of Dieters Cheaters Caps would last you 7 and a half days. A single bottle retailers for $23.95, meaning you’d need to spend darn close to $100 for a month’s worth of this product.

As an alternative, check out the NOW brand Glucomannan supplement. It’s cheap; a 180-capsule bottle is just under $10 at BodyBuilding.com, our recommended online retailer. One bottle will last you a month—saving you $90!

Take 2 caps prior to each of your three meals and see how it works for you. You may want to break the capsules open and spread over your food (it appears that glucomannan pills can occasionally get stuck in the esophagus and cause a blockage. Although this seems a bit far-fetched, a clinical study (Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2007;45(1):80-2) indicates that glucomannan-based supplements can pose a hazard for individuals with upper gastrointestinal pathology.

Glucomannan is the only ingredient in this formula worth experimenting with, and as you see, you can do so much more cheaply.

I’m sure the retailers of this product would argue that this special “three-ingredient” combination works together synergistically, so that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Problem is, no clinical studies have been performed on the Dieter’s Cheating Caps. Until there have been, this is mere speculation.

Additionally, there is some evidence glucomannan may bind with and hinder the absorption of certain nutrients, so this combination may well be no less effective than taking glucomannan on its own.

Bottom line? Skip the Dieter’s Cheating Caps. Try the NOW brand Glucomannan if you like. And remember…

There is no product—no prescription drug even—that allows you to eat whatever you want and still lose weight.

Summary of Dieters Cheating Caps
 
  •  Contains a useful ingredient (glucomannan)
 
  • Contains Chitosan (useless for weight loss).
  • Glucomannan is underdosed.
  • There are better sources of glucomannan available.
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