Hydroxycut, the most popular weight-loss supplement on the market today, has now fallen victim to FDA regulation changes once again. The brand, which has been around since the early 90s (Supplement Critic, 2010) was once recalled in 2004 because of the ingredient ephedra. Ephedra was a common ingredient in weight loss pills until many cases of strokes and heart attacks were presenting themselves in users (Theissen AP, 2005).
In May 2009, the FDA placed a plea to users to stop use of Hydroxycut completely due to cases of liver damage and liver failure. The company voluntarily recalled every product on sale. No one ingredient was to blame for the liver issues but Hydroxycut reformulated immediately and rereleased the product within a year (CNN, 2009).
Hydroxycut encourages users to eat healthy and exercise in addition to the use of their product. While there may be results that Hydroxycut is effective in weight loss, no one can for sure single out what is causing the weight loss, and if the supplement is even helping at all. Clinical studies need to have patients taking the supplement without exercising and dieting, as well as have a control group that is using exercising and dieting alone to lose weight, to determine whether the supplement is aiding anything.
Advertising allows Hydroxycut to claim that their supplement causes weight loss. While there is a correlation between the supplement and users loss of weight it is possible that their exercise and eating routines are actually causing the weight loss and that the supplement is doing nothing more than wasting their money.
Hydroxycut's findings of weight loss through use of their supplement have been replicated in many studies and have been proven time and time again that in addition to exercise the supplement does work to help users lose weight. Studies done by the University of Copenhagen and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have both yielded positive results (Duncan, 2006). This supplement has had its findings replicated many times, placing more weight on the theory that it works to help weight loss.
I think that the principle most useful in evaluating the weight loss claims of Hydroxycut would be replicability. Because Hydroxycut can and has replicated their findings, as well as independent researchers stating the same results, they can advertise testimonials and still have raw data and findings to support the effectiveness of their claims.
While Hydroxycut has had it's finding replicated time and time again, their studies may not be being conducted in a way that can show causation through correlation. In general, reviewers and researchers believe in the findings released and believe in the ability for Hydroxycut to help with weight loss.
CNN Article May 2009:
Washington Post Article April 2005: Washington Post Article April 2009
Vanderbilt University Hydroxycut Research October 2006: