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Experts Weigh The Latest Diet Pill Fad -- Garcinia Cambogia

(CBS) – Losing weight can be frustrating. Plenty of people are looking for the magic bullet to help them achieve their goal.

You may have seen the ads on the web lately for what claims to be the newest, fastest fat-burner. But what is it and does it work?

CBS 2's Mary Kay Kleist checks out garcinia cambogia.

TV's "Dr. Oz" talked about it on his show. With research from Georgetown University, people rushed to buy pills that supposedly will help you lose weight without diet or exercise.

"Everybody's looking for the magic pill," says Mike Carlucci, who tried the product.

The pumpkin-shaped fruit that grows in Southeast Asia and India supposedly suppresses appetite and blocks fat from being made in the body. Dr. Harry Preuss from Georgetown University studied the extract and says it has "great metabolic effects" that prevents conversion of carbohydrates into fat.

Dana Vento lost 8 inches off her waistline by taking garcinia and exercising a little more.

"It was very rewarding to see the difference, and I think in moms that's a big deal when you can lose some of that belly fat," she says.

Others had no luck with it.

"As far as I'm concerned, the research isn't very accurate, in my case, because it didn't work at all," Carlucci says.

Melinda Ring, medical director for Northwestern Integrative Medicine, says it may not work for everyone, depending on factors.

"Just because one particular extract of the HCA worked doesn't mean that every other garcinia brand is going to have the same effect," she says.

Because supplements are not all created equal, here's what to look for: the words garcinia cambogia; at least 50 percent HCA (hydroxycitric acid); potassium (for absorption); and zero fillers, binders or artificial ingredients.

Garcinia is definitely not for everyone. People with certain medical conditions should avoid taking it. That includes women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, garcinia is not recommended for people with diabetes, Alzheimer's or those taking statin medication for high cholesterol.

So, could this tiny pill be a miracle weight loss supplement? Maybe.

"I think it can be a beneficial adjunct to a well-rounded approach to weight loss," Ring says.

Patients were only studied for 12 weeks on the supplement; so, until larger, longer studies are conducted, it's recommended to limit use to three months and make sure you eat healthy and exercise daily.

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