Your New Year's weight-loss resolution in a PILL? What you need to know about ... trends now

Your New Year's weight-loss resolution in a PILL? What you need to know about ... trends now
Your New Year's weight-loss resolution in a PILL? What you need to know about ... trends now

Your New Year's weight-loss resolution in a PILL? What you need to know about ... trends now

It's that time of year again when millions of Americans promise themselves they will lose weight as a New Year's Resolution — though most never see it through.

But scientists in New Zealand claim they have created a pill that can shed up to a quarter of a person's body weight and costs just 66c a pop. 

DailyMail.com has spoken to two patients who used the drug — known as CaloCurb — and lost up to 100lbs, with one going on to become a triathlon competitor. 

It contains just one active ingredient: amarasate — a bitter plant extract that tells the stomach and brain to stop eating, causing people to consume fewer calories.

The New Zealand government has backed the drug, and scientists from tax-payer-funded health agencies are singing its praises as a critical weight loss tool.

Heino Jansen, 40, a finance worker from New Plymouth, New Zealand, was pre-diabetic and weighed 376 pounds.

He said that he couldn't stop eating, and doctors warned him he would develop life-threatening health conditions if he did not change his behavior. 

Mr Jansen told DailyMail.com he lost 93 pounds over the three years he has used the supplement. He now even competes in triathlons and long-distance bike races.

Heino Jansen, 40, weighed 357 pounds when he started using CaloCurb three years ago

The man has dropped 93 pounds using the supplement, and now competes in long distance bike races and triathlons

Heino Jansen, 40, weighed 357 pounds when he started using CaloCurb three years ago. The man has dropped 93 pounds using the supplement, and now competes in long distance bike races and triathlons

Liz Wotherspoon, 61, a New Jersey native living in Auckland, New Zealand, said she picked up CaloCurb two years ago after hearing about it from a friend.

She has also seen significant weight loss, dropping from 187 pounds to 134 while using the pill. Ms Wotherspoon said she has finally reached her target weight goal.

Fat-melting drugs Wegovy and Ozempic have become popular among celebs and regular people alike, but popularity has led to nationwide shortages.

They also come with side-effects like nausea, diarrhea and headaches - turning some off from the drugs only a few weeks in.

Then developers of CaloCurb say their pill works in a similar way — and they claim it doesn't have the same similar side effects. 

It is available at online retailers Amazon, priced at $60 for 90 125mg pills. 

A standard dose is two tablets per day and a bottle should last around a month-and-a-half. 

It claims to be an all-natural supplement that has appetite suppressing properties which can lead to long-term weight loss.

But not all doctors are convinced. 

Weight-loss experts that spoke to DailyMail.com said the initial trial for the supplement was small and did not gauge long-term weight loss.

Because the drug is a supplement, it also did not go through the rigorous regulatory approval process that competitors like Wegovy and Ozempic go through.

A 60-pill bottle of CaloCurb costs $60. It is recommended for a person to use two supplements each day, but some choose to use more (file photo)

A 60-pill bottle of CaloCurb costs $60. It is recommended for a person to use two supplements each day, but some choose to use more (file photo)

Amarasate was discovered by Dr Edward Walker, chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, who used it as the central piece for the supplement. 

Dr Walker told DailyMail.com his team came across the compound when searching for novel weight-loss cures in 2010.

They found in trials of mice that the bitter taste of the extract could signal the brain to stop eating and help suppress appetite.

He explained that the body's evolutionary response to bitter foods helps suppress its appetite. 

'If you have something very bitter, and you put it on your tongue. You want to split that out, right?' he told this website.

'If you get something very bitter, and you put that down past your stomach into your top of your small intestine [you won't want to eat anymore].'

This amarasate extract has been packed into a plain-flavored pill that dissolves as it is ingested in the body.

It is released when it reaches the top of the small intestine. Taste receptors in the gastrointestinal tract release gut hormones that tell the body to stop eating.

This is a natural response built into the body after millennia of evolution to prevent the body from eating harmful bacteria.

Dr Walker said that using bitterness as an appetite suppressant has been used worldwide for centuries. When famine would strike during medieval times, many would consume bitter plants to reduce how much they ate, for example.

Dr Edward Walker (pictured), chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, discovered amarasate while working to find a new effective weight loss supplement

Dr Edward Walker (pictured), chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, discovered amarasate while working to find a new effective weight loss supplement

A Korean study, published in 2014, found that bitter compounds similar to amarasate activated taste receptors that increased GLP-1 secretion - making someone more full. 

An Italian study published in 2015 of 20 participants found that those who consumed a bitter compound before eating needed 514 fewer calories to feel full than those who took a placebo - around the same amount as a McDonald's Big Mac.

A 2019 Australian study of 27 men found that those who consumed bitters before eating a buffet ate less, and displayed higher levels of GLP-1 secretion. 

This effect translates into eating less, according to a Belgian study  published in 2017. 

The researchers found that people who secreted higher levels of these hormones felt fuller after eating a 500-calorie meal, and remained full for longer.

The developers of CaloCurb trialed the supplement on 20 men of healthy weight in 2018, aiming for the same results.

In a blinded trial, which means the researchers did not know which members had received the supplement and which just a placebo. 

Researchers gave men who had fasted all night either an amarasate capsule or a placebo 3.5 hours before a meal.

Liz Wotherspoon, 61, lost 44 pounds using the supplement in recent years

She says CaloCurb had changed her life and boosted her confidence

Liz Wotherspoon, 61, lost 44 pounds using the supplement in recent years. She says CaloCurb had changed her life and boosted her confidence

They found that participants who took the amarasate supplement consumed 18 percent fewer calories than the others.

Combined with a proper exercise plan and a person could see drastic results, Dr Walker hopes. 

Mr Jansen told DailyMail.com that the supplement helped him achieve life-changing results.

He weighed up 375lbs at his peak, and after two years on CaloCurb has gotten his weight

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